CRM Can Ramp Up Sales, and Adoption is Easier Than You Think

During a recent webcast, MDM CEO Tom Gale and White Cup VP of Business Development Brian Friedel discuss how finding the right CRM can help companies create a revenue-driving machine.
DEK: During a recent webcast, MDM CEO Tom Gale and White Cup VP of Business Development Brian Friedel discuss how finding the right CRM can help companies create a revenue-driving machine.

Despite being potentially vital to a business’ success, a CRM can be very difficult to adopt for some companies. That’s according to Brian Friedel, White Cup’s vice president of business development, who recently chatted with MDM CEO Tom Gale during a webcast.

“It’s something we’ve all dealt with, at one point or another, or at least considered,” says Friedel. “You’ve heard stories. These kinds of statistics are very believable in, you know, the conversations that I’ve had — that you’ve probably experienced out there in distribution. Adoption rates above 90% are very difficult to achieve. Half of projects typically fail trying to get these things off the ground, and the biggest challenge is getting the staff to use the software. So, if it’s that difficult, why bother? Right?”

There are a few reasons to bother, he says. CRM (customer relationship management) has been shown to increase sales by up to 29%, improve productivity and improve customer retention, says Friedel. When adding up all those efforts and outcomes, the average return on investment for CRM is about 9 to 1, he says.

“Hello. I mean, you can’t ignore that, right? That’s the ‘why,’” says Friedel.

CRM solutions typically help companies track down new customers, grow shares of their respective markets and improve relationships with existing customers as sales growth accelerates. White Cup has been selling and promoting CRM for roughly 20 years, says Friedel. He says he’s used to hearing a lot of the same concerns.

“We’ve had a lot of these conversations over the decades,” says Friedel. “So, this is some of what we hear on a pretty consistent basis: ‘Hey, I’ve been burned by this before,’ you know? ‘Distribution being typically a low-margin business, low-net-margin business’ — that’s painful, right? You can’t afford to give up that money that you may have spent on a software program that doesn’t get you the value.”

Friedel has heard some companies say their sales teams are too “old fashioned,” with a resistance to adopting new solutions being a roadblock to implementation. Studies have shown, however, that staff members across sectors are capable of adopting new solutions like CRM in relatively short amounts of time, he says.

“It turns out, there is a really wide range of human responses. But the average length of time that it takes people to get used to doing a behavior automatically is about 66 days, so over two months,” says Friedel. “And, interestingly, it didn’t change, depending on whether there were mistakes made along the way. So, it’s okay to have little setbacks; it doesn’t change the overall length of time that it takes, so you can relax about that a little bit. The key is to just keep working the system. And let’s have some realistic expectations, right? Everybody’s going to get frustrated if our expectation is they’re going to adopt it in two weeks. And it doesn’t take two weeks, it takes two months. Now, if we understand that up front, we can support that a lot easier.”

To watch the webcast in its entirety on-demand, click here.

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