Training Sales People To Use A New CRM And Getting Better User Adoption

Posted by: Neil Saviano on October 19, 2014

CRM trainers endure many implementations where poor sales person adoption prevails. The core reason is reluctance to change. Sales people (especially the more experienced) are historically tied to habits and processes that have always worked for them for a long time, and they see no need to change it. The bottom line for them is: if it works why change it? Why go through the effort-what's in it for me? They're making money and they're in their comfort zone! The benefits of new technology alone isn't going to sway them. They must be able to relate the new technology to their current sales process; the one that works for them and in their minds works very well. They must be convinced that through change their processes will better and they'll make more money.

A sales person CRM training program that is not approached from a technology perspective, but from a process perspective, appears to offer the best chance to foster change and ultimately success and user adoption. Assuredly the CRM software must be learned but almost every element of the software taught must relate to how it's going to take a now successful sales process, bring it to an even higher level, and ultimately help the sales person make more money. Why else would a sales person want to change how they're doing things now?

A process-based CRM training program for sales people needs to link every element of the functionality learned to each element of their existing sales process. Then following are elements of a typical sales process and the benefits from adding CRM software:

  • Scheduling customer and lead activities and follow up in the system-preventing time sensitive follow up from falling through the cracks.
  • Classifying leads and following up based on assuring the highest level of lead conversion and new customer acquisition. 
  • Classifying existing customers in In order to set up a schedule of coverage that helps to maximize sales penetration as well as overall retention. 
  • Managing opportunities by system defined stages in order to have the best chance of
    bringing an opportunity to closed-won status at an above average pace for their respective industries.
  • Benefiting from marketing automation that assures both prospects and existing customers are receiving automated email touches and automated activity scheduling-all at the right time.

Sales people not using a CRM system attempt to do the above manually or with spreadsheets. They strive for the optimum results they would gain from CRM software, and they constantly fall short. They fall short without knowing there's a better way than how they've been doing it! What they need to be convinced of is all they'll really be doing with CRM software is automating parts of their current manual or spreadsheet systems. They'll be bringing it to higher levels and gaining unparalleled efficiencies and just make more money!

As a validation of the shortfalls mentioned above that sales people endure, this author has conducted several new CRM implementation training programs with sales people. The sales people are asked at the beginning of the training to each talk about pain points they have in their sales lives. This is tantamount to asking what they would change if they could. Invariably the following is offered in some context:

  • I know I don't manage my time properly.
  • It seems like many times I follow up with a lead when it's too late, and they've gone to a competitor.
  • With leads that become good opportunities I don't feel I'm closing may share.
  • i often find out too late that my current customers are now sharing the business with a competitor.


This is when a CRM trainers should elicit to themselves: "I GOT THEM"!! The trainer should feel I GOT THEM because if all of the elements of the software taught are taught related to the pain points surfaced at the beginning of the class, it's almost a can't miss success! It maximizes user adoption.

The least successful way to ramp up a CRMi implementation with sales people is to throw the software at them and try to convince them that they need to change because this is the high tech way of running their sales process and that they now have to use it.

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