Part 1: Making CRM Work


Following on from our CRM Pulse Study, we recently conducted a Sales Leaders breakfast in conjunction with CGU. We attracted a great mix of sales leaders across a wide range of B2B industries to discuss how to actually make CRM work.

Five key issues were uncovered that are having a negative impact on the ability for companies to achieve their CRM objectives:

  1. Lack of consistency and quality of input

  2. Competency and willingness of middle management

  3. Sales person perception and buy-in (WIIFM?)

  4. Ways of working (is data input an admin task or a part of effective sales planning?)

  5. Internal communication and reporting

The table groups developed some practical ideas and concepts that you may find useful if you are looking to improve how your business uses CRM.

Here are the ideas for the first two issues:

1. Lack of consistency and quality of input

  • Improve capability through regular training and quality induction and on boarding

  • Ensure all people understand the goal and the 'why' of using the CRM

  • Set clear expectations and standards, then hold people to account in the way they are using the CRM (across the business including senior managers)

  • Take a continuous improvement approach, raise the level of capability and then move to the next level

  • User engagement relies on the data that gets produced, managers should continue to reinforce the importance of data by displaying real time data for the sales people

  • Configure the fields to be relevant, use click based selections where possible

  • Investigate the best methods of input and share across the teams (e.g. voice input, mobile access, etc)

2. Competency and willingness of middle management

  • Take a phased approach to implementing functionality and engage the mamagers to lead the implementation

  • Connect the CRM to the ways of working to demonstrate efficiencies

  • Ensure there are clear goals and expectations set and hold the managers to account

  • Bring in the executive sponsor to demonstrate the positives of a disciplined approach to using the CRM

  • Promote wins and connect them to the CRM functionality and ways of working

  • Provide regular, relevant training to the managers

  • Ensure there is senior management support; think about how the CEO could have a positive impact on the sales teams use of the CRM:
    o Congratulate individuals on wins
    o Ask if they can help with insight (based on their senior level contacts)

Please look out for part 2 of How to Make CRM work later this month.

If you would like to have a chat about your CRM or you're planning to implement one soon, drop me a line at

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