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Getting sales reps to break routine and try something new – even if the “new” has been proven to pay great dividends – is no easy feat. Sales reps are habit-driven, for both good and bad. When implementing a new sales process or introducing new tools, you can rest assured that they will push back.

Which is why it is so critical that you, the Sales VP or sales manager, leads by example when it comes to implementing and adopting Salesforce.com.

What does this mean? It means setting the right expectations, implementing the right processes, training and overseeing adoption and, most important of all, getting buy-in.

Here are some tips on how sales management executives can lead by example when it comes to Salesforce.com.

Salesforce.com is your new information hub

All your data and information will now be housed within your Salesforce.com instance. This should be the be-all end-all of where you turn to when looking for data and the subsequent analysis (unless you use a third-party reporting and analytics product to enhance Salesforce.com’s features, such as InsightSquared). Reps who previously recorded prospect information in their own spreadsheets, notebooks or some other system will have to adapt. So will you.

Show how easy it is to find information in Salesforce.com. All the informational engines you use to drive your sales train forward – from pipeline information to rep activity levels – will be drawn from Salesforce. If you’re using it so heavily, your reps should be too.

Sales and marketing will be much more aligned

While sales and marketing have traditionally had a tenuous relationship, both sides are dependent on each other – marketing to generate leads, sales to act on those leads and provide feedback on improvements. With Salesforce.com, your sales and marketing teams will be much more aligned. Marketing can easily hand-off leads to sales, which can in turn follow-up quickly. With a more streamlined process, your reps will enjoy much better alignment with their marketing counterparts.

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Your sales reps will work more efficiently and manage their time better

Your reps will have much more ownership of their own Salesforce.com process. They will act like mini-CEOs, able to analyze their own data and figure out what works well and what doesn’t. With all that up-to-date and real-time information at their fingertips, they will be able to better prioritize which opportunities to work on, which leads are in most urgent need of follow-up, and which ones are likely to turn out to be duds. A tool that can help your reps work more efficiently? Sign them up!

You are not micromanaging or spying on your reps

When forced to enter so much data – data they might not have had to reveal previously – your reps might feel that you’ve become Big Brother, spying on their work processes and overseeing them even more. Quell those fears immediately. Salesforce.com is not meant to spy on your reps – yes, you will have more visibility into what your reps are doing, but that should promote accountability. If your reps take this in a defensive manner, that might be a sign that they’re not the right reps for you. Other reps will see this as a chance to step their games up and to show you, with data-backed information, that they are indeed a strong performer.

Salesforce.com should not be an administrative burden

Other reps might feel like this will add hours of work to their day, in the form of data entry. And yes, initially there might be a lot of information to enter and process. However, once you have your Salesforce.com instance up and running, through automation and a better-synched process, your reps will actually have much less work to do. Data will not need to be re-entered multiple times. Tasks will be more easily recorded. The information gathering process will be much more streamlined.

You’re open to helping your reps get the most out of it

Salesforce.com is, by no means, perfect. There are several limitations to having your sales process so connected to the system. Communicate to your reps that you are more than happy to help them iterate the process and figure out what will best serve their needs.

Don’t be afraid to provide your reps with the sales enablement tools they need too. The Salesforce Appexchange is chock-full of great add-on’s to help solve for some of Salesforce’s limitations or to provide enhancements in other areas. If your reps can make a strong argument for why they need a few of these apps, you should not hesitate to purchase them.

Set the expectation that everyone – CEO down – will be using Salesforce.com

Finally, you just have to set the expectation that everyone involved with the sales process at your company – from the CEO and the CFO on down – will be living in Salesforce.com on a daily basis. They will get all the information on prospects and customers from within the system, while being diligent about entering their own data when necessary. If you lead by example to show how many benefits you are deriving from using it, your reps can’t help but fall in line.

 
Getting buy-in from your sales reps is absolutely crucial, if you really want to get the most out of Salesforce.com. Lead by example to convince your reps just how helpful and necessary this system will be, and collectively you will all see your sales process and results improve dramatically.
 

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