Although there are many benefits to running a CRM application within your organization, there are very few that provide measurable return on investment; even those are somewhat difficult to accurately measure. Does tracking a sales person’s type and number of activities provide a measurable ROI? No. But, over time, you should be able to make sound management decisions based on the success of your best sales people to coach to the expected number and type of activities required of your team. Assuming adherence to the plan, this should result in more sales people generating higher revenue numbers, which can be measured as ROI.
Let’s take a look at standardizing on a sales process. Does simply standardizing on a sales process close more deals? Hopefully it will have some impact. However, much of the standardization will be viewed as making a sale more difficult to the sales person if not implemented correctly. There is a fine balance between mandating that every “t” is crossed and “i” is dotted and giving your sales team the flexibility to just “go out and sell”. We still need great sales people – especially in this economy. Just hiring someone and asking them to do the following fourteen steps and watch the money roll in doesn’t work; at least not in any business I’ve been a part of.
So, what’s the missing link? In our professional services engagements we refer to it as “Change Management”. Traditionally change management on a professional services team can be viewed as the best practice of migrating technical changes / customizations from a testing environment to a production environment. This, however, is different. We view change management as the art of inducing change on your users. CRM is a change no matter how we look at it. Whether you are migrating from one CRM system to the next or this is your first attempt at implementing a company wide CRM initiative, your users will experience change. How they react and embrace that change is up to you and your implementation team. Do not overlook the power of the end user. They can make or break a CRM implementation and setting proper expectations and coaching towards those necessary changes is vital for their acceptance. We believe it is also very important to incorporate change management from the very beginning of the project and gain buy-in from executive sponsors to its importance. It can not simply be how we train the end users. It is a cultural shift vital to the success of your implementation and, bottom line, to the ROI of your company.