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  • Writer's pictureKarsten Schmidt

How to radically increase the adoption of the new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system

Updated: Jun 5, 2020

Life Sciences companies invest heavily to introduce innovative CRM systems which enable multi-channel engagements with customers but yet the adoption by some sales representatives is very low. This is happening despite the fact that the new systems are more user-friendly and more manageable even for less tech-savvy representatives. What are the reasons for that?

Often Life Sciences companies find it challenging to ensure appropriate adoption for all sales representatives of the newly introducing CRM despite all the initial training efforts. Some sales reps are resistant towards using the new system because they think that their time is best spent delivering good customer engagements with the targeted Health Care Professionals (HCPs) in their territories and they don´t want to be "wasting" time by profiling customers or entering call details. Also there can be the erroneous perception by some members of the sales force that the main objective of the CRM system is give full control and insights to First Line Sales Managers and Headquarter staff on all of their activities. This clearly indicated that there is still a gap of understanding with regard to the strategic value of the CRM system.

It is important for all sales representatives to realize that all segmentation & targeting efforts ultimately have the purpose to increase their effectiveness in the field. The exercise of profiling customers aims at using field intelligence to identify and focus promotional efforts on high-potential customers. When this field intelligence is combined with advanced analytics using e.g. brick level sales or other available data sources it can significantly increase the accuracy of potential estimates for individual customers.

Sales representatives should also have an understanding about the shape of the productive frequency curve which can be estimated through statistical analyses. It must be very clear that engaging with customers not often enough through face-to-face and other multi-channel interactions in a given time frame is a waste of company resources as it will not drive an increase in adoption of the promoted product. This means that due to the insufficient number of interactions the behaviour of the HCPs will not change and they will continue to treat their patients with other products that they are more familiar with. And if they have started to prescribe the promoted brand their adoption might drop again as the promoted product is not yet anchored in their top-of-mind. In other words less patients will be able to benefit from the product that the sales rep is promoting. On the other extreme of the curve there is the interaction saturation where any additional interactions will not drive further treatment adoption of the promoted brands. Also this case represents a waste of company resources which should rather be reallocated to customer with insufficient interaction frequencies in order to achieve a higher impact in terms of patients treated.

Illustration of a frequency response curve

In this context it can eventually also be valuable to increase the sales reps' awareness of how much each face-to-face customer interaction actually costs. This only requires to divide the fully loaded rep costs per year by the capacity of face-to-face interactions for the same period. It is known that depending on the country one face-to-face interaction in the majority of European markets can cost anywhere between 50 and 250 Euros. Creating that type of transparency and awareness should motivate the sales representatives to aim at delivering the right frequency to their targeted HCPs. And this is where the CRM system plays a pivotal role as it allows the sales representatives to monitor very closely the number of planned interactions versus the ones that have been delivered year-to-date. And for those customers that still have a high delta of planned versus actual interactions they can take corrective actions by planning a higher number of interactions in the upcoming promotional cycle. Consequently it is important not only to teach the sales reps about all the new technical features of the new CRM system but also to put enough emphasis in explaining the strategic value that the system brings when used properly in terms of improving the segmentation and targeting accuracy as well as monitoring the executional quality of the established interaction plans. As the full adoption of the CRM system will ultimately translate into increased sales force productivity and effectiveness in the individual territories everyone in the sales force should realize that making best use of the system will be in their own best interest. So how good is the user adoption of the CRM system in your market? Have you faced similar challenges in terms of sales force buy-in to properly use the CRM system as described above and what measures have you taken to drive user adoption?

Despite heavy investments in more user-friendly #CRMsystems many Life Sciences companies still struggle with full #CRMadoption for all members of the sales force. Some ideas are discussed to overcome resistance to full CRMadoption. #CRMS #SFE


Xeleratio Consulting Ltd.

We help Life Sciences executives improve sales performance with innovative best-in-class Business Excellence tools and methodologies . Expertise in Business Excellence has been gained with over 12 years of working in different global and regional roles in the Life Sciences industry.


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