Giving Up On CRM Adoption?

I read my latest Selling Power newsletter on crm last night.  They mentioned a piece of PR they’d received from the boss of a crm vendor.  It was satisfying that they disagreed with a third of what he set out in order to raise adoption of crm systems.

Back in the cowboy days of the Nineties, my exasperation with reps not using the software I was repping (and passionate about to the point of possibly being in need of medical attention) prompted my then superior (the Founder) to stun me.  Don’t bang your head against a brick wall, he intoned.  They’ve paid for it, we’ve done all we can to help them use it.  So what if the reps spurn it?  Microsoft have made billions shafting their customers so where’s our problem?

Well, thankfully times have changed.  Firms no longer pay huge sums upfront for software. The ability to ‘rent’ databases that require potentially no internal IT resource has meant many companies are trying a new system with every new regime, or even financial year, to pinpoint one that works for them.

Of course, as the industry knows, none of the systems ends up working for them.  Crm adoption is on the floor.  It was heartening to note that Selling Power shared my experience that salesreps cannot be told that they’d only get commission if the crm was filled-in (“Coercion creates resistance”).  They prefer to see extra bonuses for such diligence.

But then, I wondered if anyone had ever mapped crm adoption?  When on-demand pioneer Salesforce announced their ‘adoption dashboard’, they must have realised it would expose them.  I wonder what “safeguards” they built in?

The last person running a salesteam that I spoke to expressed the usual laments about paltry crm usage.  He had 8 reps on the road.  I suggested it wasn’t all doom and gloom.  Of those 8, I suggested 2 would be addictive users.  Another 2 would have never even logged on (although the likelihood bizarrely was that these were 2 of the top reps so maybe there wasn’t a huge problem!) and the other 4 could be nagged, chased and tazered into using it and when they did, at least the bare miniumum would go typed in.  He acknowledged how accurate my numbers were.  I wonder whether these are the same the world over?

This is a chap that switched recently from Salesforce to NetSuite.  So I guess he’s paying around £400 a month.  How does he evaluate if he’s getting value for money?  I bet he doesn’t have to.  Because even in these downturn times such an amount will forever be below the radar, as whenever the bean counters question it, they’ll simply be told they have to have it…

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