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  • Nikolaus Bremerich


Hardly any other IT introduction fails as often as that of CRM systems. Time and again we experience the introduction of (new) CRM systems in sales during consulting projects for our clients. In many cases, however, the success in terms of sales efficiency or sales performance does not materialise or not to the expected extent.

Too much focus on technology and too little on users in sales

In CRM projects, the lion's share of investment and management attention goes into selecting and implementing the right technological solution. However, companies very often forget that implementation has more than just a technical dimension. A challenge that is at least as big is the necessary change in the sales culture - and this starts in the head of every single employee in sales.

The introduction of a CRM solution leads to a change in processes and structures. This has a direct influence on the way employees work, which has to be changed, especially in the case of new implementations. In addition, one must first learn how to operate a new system. In addition, CRM systems create transparency about customers and one's own sales work, which many perceive as negative. This creates resistance on the part of the employees, caused by fear, which in turn results from insecurity.

In this phase, the following statements are often made by sales staff:

- Shouldn't I spend my effective time selling instead of maintaining data?

- These are MY customers. Why should I enter all this know-how into a system?

- The CRM system is too complicated, no one can operate it.

The basic prerequisite for a successful CRM introduction is therefore acceptance by the sales department. Therefore, the successful anchoring of a CRM solution in sales requires targeted change management.

Do not see CRM implementation in sales as just an IT project

A CRM introduction should be embedded in a comprehensive sales optimisation project that puts sales working methods to the test and improves them. Such a project has various dimensions and can include the formulation of strategic sales goals, the development and implementation of effective sales reporting and the development of a uniform way of selling.

A CRM solution has an important role to play here. It can serve as an instrument of sales optimisation and support it. In the case of sales reporting, for example, a CRM solution supports the generation and collection of data as well as the concentrated presentation.

With regard to the CRM system itself, it is important to create acceptance during the introduction phase by communicating the advantages at an early stage. Sales management is crucial here. It must sell the CRM solution within the company, set an example and consistently demand its use. This is the only way to break down resistance. There must also be uniform and obligatory training for all sales staff, which, in addition to the general functionality, emphasises the advantages for the daily work in sales.

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