Magazine article CRM Magazine

The Adoption Rate Challenge: Give Sales Reps the Right Tools to Drive CRM Success

Magazine article CRM Magazine

The Adoption Rate Challenge: Give Sales Reps the Right Tools to Drive CRM Success

Article excerpt

FOR 12 YEARS, as part of CSO Insights' annual Sales Performance Optimization (SPO) study, we have tracked the use of CRM solutions within sales. Each year we have seen the percentage of companies implementing technology to support their sales force increase, as well as the percentage of reps using those systems. Until this year.

In gathering data from more than 1,200 companies worldwide for our 2014 SPO study, we saw the total number of sales organizations leveraging CRM increase to 82.9 percent. This represents a significant increase from the 48.7 percent adoption rate reported a decade ago. But for the first time, we witnessed a drop in the percentage of salespeople who actively use CRM solutions as part of their daily workflow.

The point of paying for and implementing CRM systems is to increase sales' efficiency and effectiveness. If significant numbers of salespeople aren't regularly using these systems, essentially they are a wasted investment. What can firms do to increase adoption? Delving deeper into the more than 120 metrics we collected as part of the study, we found three trends that produced significant increases in the percentage of reps who actively use their CRM systems.


Having tracked the evolution of CRM systems over the years, we've seen significant improvements in user interfaces, screen navigation capabilities, administration functionality, and more. All of this has made the applications easier to use than in the past, but it doesn't mean they are completely intuitive. My business partner, Barry Trailer, often likens CRM to a Ferrari. It is one thing to have a world-class racecar; it is another to know how to drive it. What we are finding in firms with low CRM adoption rates is that they were given the keys to the car, then told to read the owner's manual and to drive the car fast without crashing.

Conversely, firms with high end user adoption rates get high marks for the education they deliver to sales teams on how to get the maximum benefit out of using their CRM application. In fact, of the 8.7 percent of companies that received "exceeds expectations" ratings for the quality and quantity of the CRM application training they deliver, 71. …

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