Account-Based Selling

Boosting CRM Adoption for Manufacturing Sales Teams

Posted On
March 30, 2022
Resource Type
Account-Based Selling
CRM Adoption for Manufacturing Sales

Manufacturing sales reps and sales leaders build their business and pipeline through relationships, historically. Documenting the critical information of who you engage with typically lives in business cards, spreadsheets, sticky notes, or whiteboards. But what about your CRM? Humans are adverse to change, and driving CRM Adoption for Manufacturing Sales Teams is no different. However, we’ll explain how you can do just that.  

Sellers Are Typically Slow at CRM Adoption. Why?

Here’s the deal:

CRM’s have evolved dramatically over the years, from a system used to store customer cases or complaints, or sales quotes, to an ecosystem that brings marketing, sales, operations and customer service into one system to help the company drive growth. For example, there is a significant opportunity to better leverage this system in a few ways and gain knowledge into:

  • What types of people are typically involved in a sales cycle
  • How long is a sales cycle – which helps you forecast
  • Are there companies that are typically a better fit to sell into (company size, geography, industry)
  • Which accounts have potential to buy more from your business

But this information is often-times missed out on due to poor implementation of the CRM. Why does this happen? Think about your CRM roll-out if you have one. Did IT roll it out? Did marketing or sales take the lead? Chances are that nobody fully owns this implementation, from thinking through the layout and fields that need to be on different objects, to training the team on how to leverage the tool.

Identify who will oversee your CRM

Ownership by committee is usually a challenging way to get a manufacturing team up and running, and I suggest someone fully own this process from start to finish. This could be a CRM admin and a project manager. Why is that important, you ask? 

This system will be the center of truth for driving your strategy and selling motion. Does your team understand why an account grows or declines year over year? Selling the vision, and ultimately the benefit that the individuals will get from this change in behavior is a critical component of driving the desired outcome. This is an all-hands on deck effort to get the most out of this investment, regardless of the maturity of your company. Which ties in nicely, what can you do to drive this behavior quickly?

How to Improve CRM Adoption in Your Sales Team

It starts with the right incentives and buy-in from leadership

One incentive I have seen work well is tying compensation to deals and account plans that are in your CRM. Want to drive expansion within a current customer? Your team needs to be documenting it with information that helps the team moving forward. How about a new customer? Yep, they should be logging that in the system as well, and when you’re tying commission and quota to pipeline inside of Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics, it’s driving your reps, begrudgingly at times, to log the most important information into their opportunities, accounts and contacts associated. 

This is important for a multitude of reasons, but as David Sheer, former President of The Steel Supply Company, said “sales people, account managers, customer service reps will eventually move on. Having proper documentation of your experiences within that account and the key contacts within that account make the transition a lot easier. That departing knowledge cripples a lot of businesses and teams, and it doesn’t need to be that way”.

What happens if a Senior Buyer at an account leaves? This is when a lack of documentation prohibits the growth and expansion in key accounts because a Purchasing Manager or a Sourcing Manager isn’t known, and relationships haven’t been developed. “This tool would have been good for manufacturing forecasting, driving processes, and helping expose account knowledge to all relevant teams in a more effective way”. Think through certain KPIs that you can measure on and share with leadership, such as:

  • Sales win rates – does your team win more with good process & documentation?
  • Sales cycles – how long is it taking to win new business?
  • Campaign attribution – what is driving pipeline and revenue
  • Revenue growth! This is the big one, is it helping your team win more business?



5 Ways You Can Incentivize Your Sales Team to Start Using Your CRM Today

In conclusion, here are a few tips on getting this process started, or driving some momentum with your current CRM investment. 

  1. Start small – get one team or business unit up and running. Set attainable goals and milestones so that the team feels the progress
  2. Have consistent feedback on where the team is finding value, and where it’s painful. A champion rep, and a CRM admin or owner of the implementation are good examples
  3. Someone needs to own this project and help the initial group ramp up to speed
  4. Document what worked and what didn’t!
  5. Stay consistent – Have regular team sync ups on how they’re finding success with the tool, and other reps will follow those good behaviors



This will make the daunting task of CRM adoption for manufacturing sales teams just a little bit easier. Relationship Mapping can be the key to driving your marketing and sales GTM Strategy. 

Prolifiq’s very own Andy Keehn and Ron Pretzie joined G76 on The Manufacturing Executive Podcast to discuss why Manufacturing companies struggle so much with maximizing their CRM investment, and how to fix those issues. Take a listen here. 

Posted On
March 30, 2022
Resource Type
Account-Based Selling