A couple of weeks ago at the CRM Evolution conference and expo in DC, industry experts came together to discuss what’s new in the world of tech and how CRM has developed over the last 20/30 years. A recurring theme throughout the week was to do with AI, of course, everything needs to incorporate some form of artificial intelligence or else you’ll be left behind. However, what was interesting for me was the odd session which focused on people’s perception of CRM – and the challenge we all face of trying to position it as an attractive piece of tech which benefits sales and marketing teams.

Danny Estrada’s session on ‘Building champions for changing your CRM culture’ highlighted that you can’t change the way people behave, but you can change the way they think. It sounds so simple, surely you just need to show a salesperson that using this software will give them the ability to measure success and increase their efficiency? Unfortunately, when surrounded with all the apps we use on a day to day basis, a CRM system isn’t smooth enough to incorporate in to our daily routine. 

So, what next? 

When introducing a new system in to organisation, it’s important that you have a champion on your side, someone who has influence in a group, who will go above and beyond to make sure the team have an open mind when incorporating the system in to their routine. This super user needs to involve, energise and communicate the benefits of the CRM. Some communication methods and idea’s from Jodi Peterson’s session involve; emails, posters, articles, lunch and learns, website, and online discussion boards. Common challenges such as, lack of change management, lack of executive leadership, insufficient data model, no clear strategy… these can all lead to an inadequate user buy-in, resulting in the rejection of your system.

The final keynote at CRM Evolution left people feeling stuck, focusing on how to make CRM more appealing to the younger generation. It was said that the same problems still haven’t been resolved 10 years on… so why don’t we all shift our energy on what we CAN do? The reality is, using a CRM system is never going to be as attractive as using an everyday app such as Twitter or Facebook. That’s not what it was built for, and that’s not what users seek when they use a CRM system. With a mixture of super users championing your product and a system which is fully integrated with any other platform used by a business, the need will be there to manage relationships and measure performance. You just have to change the way your team think when it comes to CRM, this can be achieved through support and measurable goals. Estrada finished his keynote with this line, ‘You can’t change something that you haven’t written down’. Getting people motivated, gets them to act.

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