A client asks, "Every member of my sales staff is using our new Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) except one. I have made it clear that keeping account and prospect information in the CRM system is an important job responsibility. This person is an otherwise strong performer. What can I do about this situation?"
This is a frequent occurrence in sales organizations and you are right not to ignore the problem. But it's a tricky dilemma to solve because this person is doing the majority of their job well. The key to success in this case is creating a plan and following it through.
Discuss the Situation
Set up a one-on-one meeting with the salesperson to talk about their non-compliance with your policy. Let them know, in advance, what the meeting will be about and don't discuss other issues. Ask a lot of questions. Why aren't they using the CRM system? Why do they feel that way? Are they comfortable using the system? Which screens are the most difficult for them? Which do they find useful?
If they acknowledge needing additional training, offer to provide it, but avoid repeating the previous training. Select an instruction method that matches their learning style, such as some one-on-one tutoring. Regardless of which training method you choose, put a plan in place to track their progress.
Sell the System
Explain your side of the issue at this meeting as well. Tell them why you invested in a CRM system to begin with, and reiterate why you chose this particular one. Show them some of the reports you are now able to run and share some of the insights they have provided about the business. Talk about successes the other sales representatives have realized by using the system and relate the stories to increases in income and/or account size. There may be a computer whiz on your sales staff they may feel they have to compete with, so stick to selling-related benefits.
During your talk, schedule a follow-up meeting for a week later and then keep a close watch on their use of the system. It may be that they just needed to know how serious you were about their using the CRM system and will start using it from this point forward. If this is the case, be sure and tell them how pleased you are with their progress during the follow-up meeting.
If they continue to avoid using the CRM system during that week, let them know how disappointed and confused you are by this. Then log on to the system and ask them to demonstrate their knowledge of it to you. Ask them to enter a new account or set a call- back date. If they are able to perform these tasks then you know they are simply refusing to use the CRM system. If they cannot, then you know for certain that you are dealing with a training issue and can plan accordingly.
Let the sales representative who is refusing to use the system know that using it is a job requirement for everyone on the sales staff and all future hires. Remind them that their actions will exclude them from being considered for any promotions or greater responsibilities within the company. Ask them, should they ever decide to accept a position elsewhere, how many really good sales jobs would be available for someone unwilling to utilize this new technology. Give them a time frame in which to learn the system, meet with them periodically to monitor their progress, and tell them that failure to use the system will result in potential penalties.
Look at the Real Costs
If they are still not using the CRM system after a reasonable period of time, you need to hit them in the wallet and reduce payable commissions. Keep the following in mind: the other sales representatives are aware that you are not holding everyone accountable to the same standards and they will resent it. This will result in underperformance and unnecessary resignations. The sales representative who is not using the CRM system is not maximizing their sales territory and your competition probably is. These factors alone will reduce your profitability. If their refusal to use the CRM system is costing you money, it should cost the salesperson financially as well.