Selling CRM to Your Sales Force

By Marshall Lager

They’re set in their ways, stubbornly independent, and resistant to change. But your staff doesn’t have to be your toughest sale.

Salespeople as a breed are resistant to change, especially when the change affects how they do their jobs. They don’t get very far in their field without knowing how to work a prospect, stay in touch until closing the sale (or getting a definite “no”), and track their numbers against projections. Over time, they develop their own ways of doing things that fit best with their individual personalities and goals. Whatever else it may be, it’s effective — if it weren’t, the salesperson would wash out.

CRM and other integrated business tools often represent a new way of selling, and therein lies the problem. Salespeople — especially commissioned ones — feed themselves on their ability to translate their way of doing things into revenue for their employers and themselves. How do you ask people to change something so central not just to their livelihoods, but to their lives?