Effective Implementation of a Customer Relationship Management System

Success of a $20 million investment in a new CRM software depended on changing the behavior of notoriously independently minded sales reps to achieve promised productivity gains. The European President of a global Medical Device company was skeptical about the potential pay-off since the change in behavior was massive: 1,500 sales reps across 18 countries using the new CRM in their day-to-day work.

What was the challenge?

Each of 18 countries in the EMEA region of this company believed that “our country is unique and  special”. For the software to work, processes and data elements had to be common across all countries. As salespeople resist administrative work, especially if they don’t see the benefit,  the challenge was to design and implement a system that had the full support of key opinion leaders.

What we did

The end-to-end sales process, from identifying opportunities to winning and maximizing the value of new contracts, was broken down into logical sub-processes. Senior sales leaders were enrolled to co-discover and co-design process and data elements to maximize the value of each process keeping in mind the overall integrated process. They discovered more commonalities than differences! They agreed on a common process that not only solved their local challenge e.g., tendering, but developed blueprints that each country used with minimal adaptation.

What was the outcome?

Even before enabling the process, a 10% increase in sales productivity was achieved by engaging key opinion leaders in analyzing and improving their sales activities. A European network was created that openly shared proven practices. A $50 million benefit was realized through execution of successful behavior changes so the new system was successfully implemented across the region. One seasoned sales rep said after the project was completed, “Through this work, I now really understand what effective selling is all about!”

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