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Sales Managers are asking for any ideas AFDR might have to improve the low rates of DSR compliance/User Adoption with their companies’ CRM (Customer Relationship Management/Sales Funnel) system, so we did what we always do…ask DSRs.
DSR compliance is not a new issue in the 36 years I’ve been in the foodservice distribution business, management has always wanted DSRs to fill out reports that show who, when, why and what they’re working on each day… for all the business reasons.
More of an issue might be that the new technology is not working much better than the old “by hand” systems, and management wants to know why since they’re paying so much money for it. “DSRs must comply because it’s costing us an arm and a leg,” one DSM told us.
The Challenge: Time and Data
CRM systems are extremely user-centric and driven solely by the DSRs who use them. That said, these systems are effective only if used…properly. Manually entering data into a CRM is time consuming, and DSRs would rather spend time selling or on strategy instead of data entry. Of course they feel that way! They’re in sales and want to make money, and that’s what you’re paying them to do.
But there’s a greater impact to low utilization of CRM than the unproductive time it takes to update records. What about the data itself? A CRM system is useless without the data inside it, or if that data is not reliable, comprehensive or accurate. In foodservice distribution sales, things are constantly moving, and as mentioned, entering sales activity into a CRM isn’t usually the first thing on a DSR’s mind after managing outs, prices that were wrong on an invoice, or running late because a meeting with a prospect or customer ran long.
Because of this, it’s a huge understatement to say that DSRs don’t always input their activity — i.e. calls made, appointments set, notes from calls, etc. — in a timely manner. When they do input their activity, their comments are often very general and optimistic (i.e. “Great call with Jim, follow-up next week”). So, the data that does make its way into a CRM by DSRs is almost always speculative and outdated. The result is an inaccurate pipeline that fails to represent reality.
This opens a can of worms of challenges for DSMs, managers, and reps. To start with, inaccurate or incomplete data reduces sales managers’ ability to manage team performance because they don’t know which activities resulted in desired outcomes, or which deals are going to close, as opposed to which still require more days or weeks of sales work.
Lack of reliable CRM data also creates a significant gap between what DSRs are doing and what DSMs are seeing. Garbage data in, garbage results out!
Here are a few tips for better DSR adoption of the system:
- Simplicity and automation: Make data-capture effortless and usability a key part of sales training.
- DSR buy-in: Emphasized how and why using the CRM helps DSRs sell more easily and effectively, which in turn, leads to more money in their pockets.
- Focus on behaviors of top performers: Continue to obtain feedback from them on what’s working/not working because valuable data is out there, and it can be captured automatically for reps, eliminating their need to manually enter activity into a CRM.
- Hire ISRs (inside sales reps) to help DSRs enter activity for GREAT data.
- Build/purchase a CRM tool that has a Siri (iPhone) or Cortana (Microsoft) etc. system that’s like a Virtual Personal ISR so that DSRs can do what they naturally do…be impulsive, disorganized, hyper and distracted while finding the next account to build a relationship with.
In the end, the name of the game is keeping the lines of communication open between DSMs and DSRs. Any evaluation of a CRM system must include a way of capturing this information reliably and accurately, with minimal rep work. Otherwise, that evaluation defeats the purpose of what the CRM was intended to provide the rep in the first place — enhanced productivity — and to provide the DSM — accurate, reliable forecasting and resource planning.
As most of you know, quite a few DSRs have 1 of the 7 types of ADD/ADHD classifications where hyperactivity, disorganization, distractibility and impulsivity are a big part of who they are and how they’re set up. This being the daily norm might make sense why some of the best DSRs are the least compliant at filling out these sales funnel systems.
DSRs, Be a Resource…and Sell Something!