A guest post from Lisa Dunn, writer for TechnologyAdvice.

CRM technology contains data that is priceless to today’s companies. It can hold vital details about your current clients and prospects, from sales data and buying patterns to financial information and corporate intelligence. This data isn’t just helpful for day to day operations, but it can also provide valuable business insight.

“But, what’s in it for me?”

Unfortunately, your sales team can often be the most significant source of resistance when it comes to embracing new CRM technology. The less data entry they are required to do, the better.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that some companies continue to find it difficult to get their sales employees fully onboard with regards to practicing healthy CRM habits.

As you may already know, when appropriately utilized, CRM tools can help your salespeople realize streamlined, transparent habits that lead to real revenue growth. In addition, your company can reap amazing benefits and profits.

Problem 1: Sales Team Resistance to Data Entry

Despite the technology’s potential to make sales teams successful, there may be some reasons your sales team continues to fight CRM adoption.

One recent report stated that the greatest barrier to CRM adoption is how time-consuming it can be to enter the data. According to PaceProductivity, salespeople say they spend nearly one-quarter of their time completing admin tasks, including data entry, while spending less time on selling.  

Perhaps some employees believe that increasing visibility around their contacts and conversations is too invasive. Or, others may be set in their ways, and prefer to track client and prospect details on spreadsheets or various sticky notes.  

Solution 1: Take a Top-Down Approach to Data Consistency

To encourage your sales team to switch gears and fully embrace CRM, you must take a top-down approach. Think about it: employees will not be as motivated to update their client communications strategy if they sense that management is not taking the same approach.

Also, structure your CRM so that everyone involved can see what he or she needs to see. Give all pertinent stakeholders the ability to share information across teams so that they can more easily identify cross-sell and upsell opportunities.

And don’t forget automation. It’s more than just a buzzword these days, so make sure the CRM solution you choose has built-in data recognition and enough integrations to pull data directly from your email and social interactions. This will keep employees from duplicating work just to keep the CRM up to date.

Problem 2: CRM Is Just a Thorn In My Side

Whether you are a three-person SMB or have 75 employees, CRM technology is a tool available to provide support for your organization’s bigger picture. But sometimes those initial onboarding and training days and weeks can make full adoption feel impossible. The key to succeeding with CRM is to convey to those utilizing it that they must change old habits, and support and commit to learning how to best use the technology.  

Solution 2: Take Time for Proper Training

With patience and due diligence, you can achieve increased CRM adoption within your company. Provide your sales team with clear evidence that a CRM can deliver true value for everyone involved, and provide step by step training to employees to make sure everyone knows how to use the tools. This step may involve scheduling live demos and feedback discussions, or dedicated training modules in the company learning management system (LMS).

Use compelling visual tools, such as a pipeline, to demonstrate CRM effectiveness versus lackluster, uninspiring spreadsheets. Showing your sales reps that by having the ability to open up a CRM and immediately see what stage each of their deals are in – in real-time – can be a powerful incentive.  

Provide training during work hours or asynchronously whenever the sales rep can access it from their home computer or mobile device. By making training both mandatory and flexible, teams can increase their CRM adoption and reduce the data leaking from their CRM tool.

Some Best Practices

Your organization’s management must be willing to implement and enforce best practices for tracking opportunities with a CRM to get the most out of this innovative technology.

  • Allow for easy access. Anytime, anywhere access to your CRM is critical. Mobile, online, offline, the easier it is to log in, update a lead, or add meeting notes, the more likely your sales team will utilize the technology.
  • Show them the money. Make it easy for your team to benefit from the data they enter. For example, make it simple for every sales rep to filter a list of all companies in a specific geographic area to help them easily craft a visit list for their next trip. As quickly as you can, tie the increased visibility to revenue growth, and share these data points with the whole team.
  • Focus on the big picture. Enabling your CRM users to keep an eye on the prize regarding how deals are accumulating can be a major strategic motivator. Devise creative ways to illustrate your organization’s big-picture outlook through dashboard tools, company-wide announcements, and goal celebrations.

As with many things, stakeholder buy-in is key. If your sales reps are struggling to accept change, it is important to address the situation before any additional changes. Remember: ensuring that everyone is on board can safeguard success.

Make sure each salesperson, including new hires, learns all relevant CRM processes correctly. By providing ample time for learning and entering data, you can boost your overall clean and correct data, minimizing duplicates and long-dead data. Ultimately, only the newest best CRM practices will remain, and older unhealthy sales habits will fade away.

Lisa C. Dunn is a writer for TechnologyAdvice and a freelance writer, copywriter and ghostwriter who develops high-quality content for businesses and non-profit organizations. For over 20 years, she has worked with numerous PR and digital marketing agencies, and her work has been featured in well-known publications including Forbes, VentureBeat, Mashable, Huffington Post, Wired, B2C, USA Today, among others.