CRM Article by Craig Bailey Published in BusinessWeek
Our current newsletter
series on Addressing the Realities of (Sales) CRM Implementations was
recently published in BusinessWeek magazine as an Expert Insights
Special Report entitled
"You've Bet on CRM: Now, Improve Your Odds for Success."
Newsletter devotees should be familiar with most of the information, but
there is still some new content, so check it out!
2 Days of Training?
In our last
newsletter, we continued the series on Addressing the Realities of (Sales)
CRM Implementations. Prior articles covered the following topics:
This article covers the topic of "Proficiency After 2 Days of Training?"
There are several dynamics to consider when defining your Sales CRM
training program, besides the main content. This includes, but is not
necessarily limited to, computer skill set, locale and duration. And,
don't forget about the ongoing training and reinforcement that will need
to be provided post-deployment.
Duration – A key step in defining your CRM training program is
obtaining commitment to take Sales personnel out of the field for the
necessary timeframe. An effective CRM training program requires 2 to 4
days of training. In our experience, 2 days of training provides only a
first pass at the process and system functions that the Sales team needs
to become familiar with, and only a minimal amount of hands-on use with
ready support from the training team. Mark our words, as soon as you
indicate that training needs to be 2 to 4 days long, Sales management will
respond with "you can have 2 days maximum." Then, there will be constant
pressure to reduce the training time from 2 to 1.5 days, to 1 day of
training. Hold your ground! If you don't provide at least 2 days of
training, user adoption will suffer and post-deployment support
requirements will be high.
Computer Skill Set – Participating in the launch of a brand new CRM
system is quite a daunting task for the Sales team. You can deliver the
best possible CRM process and system training, but if members of the team
are computer novices, you have a major user adoption risk factor on your
hands. To mitigate this risk, you can offer a session on computer basics.
This may be provided as an optional class, or if the user population
includes a large number of computer novices, you can make this a required
session for specific individuals.
Locale of training - A couple of key approaches to consider (at the
extreme) include: 1) a city-by-city tour, or 2) going out with a big bang!
Each has benefits and drawbacks to consider.
Option 1) The city-by-city tour is the least risky of all. This involves a
core set of training resources (or teams) traveling to central locations
within the scope of your deployment to deliver the CRM training program.
The main benefit of this approach is that each training session and
location is an isolated group in a controllable environment which
minimizes the risk of any single logistical or system glitch jeopardizing
the entire deployment. Drawbacks include the fact that full deployment may
take several weeks and the training team will be on the road for the
Option 2) Training your entire sales force at a single event (i.e.,
National Sales Meeting) is by far the riskiest approach you can take. The
major risk factor is that you are putting all your eggs in a single basket
and if any single issue (system, network or other technical glitch)
emerges, your entire CRM training program will be disrupted. This is
EXTREMELY PAINFUL! Recovering (on the spot) from such a situation can be
difficult. Worse, if you fail to recover on-the-spot, then it will be very
costly to reschedule. However, if you can pull it off, there are several
advantages including: senior leadership being "on location" to deliver key
messages (i.e., expectations to the sales force), all hands on deck to
focus on the big event and the satisfaction of "getting it done" in one
Follow on training and reinforcement – One of the realities of
Sales CRM deployments is that as soon as the training program completes,
the Sales team is back in front of the customer (where they need to be)
building relationships and moving product. And, it may be several days
before they get into the swing of making the CRM solution a part of their
daily lives. To address this reality, there are a number of follow-on
training and reinforcements that you will want to offer to ensure maximum
adoption of your Sales CRM solution. This includes: sending daily helpful
hint emails addressing common questions or challenges that people have
with using their new tool-set. You can also offer a number of online
webinars each week, providing the option for users to participate in a
mini-training session on specific topics. There may also be a need to have
a training resource do a site visit to meet with a Sales team that may be
struggling with use of the system. Finally, you will want to schedule
"full blown" training programs on an ongoing basis for new hires and offer
this as an option for people who need a complete refresher if they simply
didn't get it the first time around.
Even with a carefully planned 2-day training program and follow-up
training sessions, there will be pains with coming up to speed on the
system. This is where strong management/leadership is required to hold
people accountable to fulfilling their CRM process responsibilities
(including building business plans, developing opportunities and
In summary, to ensure your Sales team gets the most out of CRM training
you will want to carefully plan and execute the training program, then
offer ongoing reinforcement and support. Doing so dramatically improves
the odds for success in achieving the anticipated ROI.
In future editions we will cover the remaining topics of this series
Your Sales CRM is Live: What's Next?
closing, if you are embarking on a CRM initiative, or are in the middle of
a CRM program that doesn't seem to have the traction you'd like to see,
give us a call. We'd be happy to assist you in framing up your initial
project for success as well as provide objective insight on your existing
initiative to ensure that you achieve the anticipated ROI.
Implementations: Avoid Overly Aggressive Timelines
+ Recommended Reading
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For additional considerations for CRM implementation, read NewsFactor's
CRM Daily article
Planning for Growth with Scalable CRM by Elizabeth Millard. Ms.
Millard stresses the need to think ahead and map out growth plans for your
company, from the top down (or bottom up), to be able to implement a
flexible CRM system that can grow with you.
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