You Build It and They Come Doesn't Work with CRM Adoption - Ad Victoriam Salesforce Simplified Podcast

You Build It and They Come Doesn’t Work with CRM Adoption

Episode Notes and Resources:

In this episode of Salesforce Simplified, we’re talking with Michael Hudlow, a leader in business transformation and corporate innovation – and an expert on the topic of CRMs – about common, but not always obvious, reasons people don’t use and adopt CRMs, including Salesforce CRM. Michael is also the author of the books, “How Not To F*ck Up A CRM System: Learning From Others Mistakes” and “How Not To F*ck Up Artificial Intelligence & CRM Systems: Maximizing ROI With AI.”


Michael Hudlow on LinkedIn

Michael Hudlow’s Website

Michael M. Hudlow’s Books:

How Not To F*ck Up A CRM System: Learning From Others Mistake

How Not To F*ck Up Artificial Intelligence & CRM Systems: Maximizing ROI With AI


Mike Boyle: Hi, everyone… Today’s topic on the Ad Victoriam “Salesforce Simplified” podcast is CRM Adoption… I’m Mike Boyle from Ad Victoriam Solutions. And our guest today is Michael Hudlow. Michael is a leader in business transformation and corporate innovation and he’s an expert who knows about the common but not always the obvious reasons people don’t use and adopt CRMs, including Salesforce CRM. Michael is also the author of the book, “How Not To F**k Up a CRM System – Learning From Others Mistakes.”

Hi, welcome to the “Salesforce Simplified” podcast. Great to have you with us… Now, do I understand that in addition, Michael, to “How Not To F**k Up a CRM System – Learning From Others Mistakes” there happens to be another book in the works from you?

Michael Hudlow: Yeah. So, the second book is really not a follow-up but along the same lines as the first book and it actually is becoming, making it into a series very similar to I guess what you’d say is the, you know, the dummy series from years ago. But this one is more focused on how not to mess up AI going into CRM. Because it’s just, you know, it’s, it’s the buzzword that everyone is sick of hearing about but it’s there, you know. Yeah. And, so I had to address the fact of where the AI world is going with regards to CRM.

Mike Boyle: And, just so everyone knows, obviously, in the show’s episode notes, I will put links to those, to the books and other things related to Michael.

Michael, tell me a little bit more about your background. What makes you the CRM expert that you are?

Michael Hudlow: I think it really comes down to experiencing and, and having all of the experiences in life in the professional world of dealing with CRM since 2008, 2009. And then before that, I’m really the product of being, I guess you’d say a senior manager, a global leader with a couple of the big four firms before that doing it, systems work both internally and externally the operationally and, and consulting. But since 2008, I have really been focused on CRMs and, you know, they’re linked to knowledge management and data management with a consulting firm and with some consultative work as well in that realm and then deploying those things globally.

So, yeah, I have to say, I kind of quote Jimi Hendrix with the song “Crosstown Traffic” and, I would say I have, you know, cars on my back or, you know, the tire tracks on my back to, to, kind of go through the whole how to learn from others mistakes. You know I’m, I’m a participant but I’m also, you know, a person who has experienced most of these things or talk to people that have done, you know, had issues.

Mike Boyle: Well, we’re gonna focus specifically, Michael, on CRM adoption… So beyond the usual complaints about complexity and cost, what are some less obvious reasons that people resist using or adopting a CRM system like Salesforce? 

Michael Hudlow: In no particular order, I would say there is a huge level of paranoia by users. So, you know, regardless of the firm or the company that you’re working for, puts it in or not, there are lots of people say, wow with, you know, all these metrics out there, you know, am I being watched of how much, you know, the easy stuff is, you know, how much time I’m in a system if, if you’re a more, you know, the transaction-related person at a company, but at the higher level, it is, you know, how much information am I putting into the system or getting out of the system? And people, you know, you have to think of and, and people don’t think of CRM as a large sharing system. And ultimately, it’s a, you know, very complex, a very smart sharing tool and requires data, and or you can’t just get that out of something you have to put it back in. So there are lots of people that say, you know, have the mentality of, you know, my secret way of doing process or of getting clients or, or, you know, managing professional service opportunities, you know, that’s part of who I am and I, they identify with it. So they’re very paranoid about who is gonna look at my information and why. So the thing is, what makes it hard is a Salesforce administrator. And I use that word very broadly, you know, anybody involved in the Salesforce operations had to add a firm. You know, what makes it difficult is those individuals that are reluctant to adopt, most likely they’ve been told either with a stick or a carrot, they’ve been told to use the system. So, it is very common for people to mask usage, meaning they kind of sort of use it, they dabble a little into it. So people see they are using the system, but in reality, they’re not giving all the information that they really should. And that is a huge problem with regards to, you know, through adoption where administrators rely on the quality of the information coming in as being whole, instead of what I would call a, you know, secretive usage where the administrators see from a technical angle that that person is using the system. But, in their own heart, they’re really not. So there is a level of paranoia, there’s also a huge level of, and this is, I’m gonna blame leadership. And so don’t, you know, don’t bring too many pitchforks out.

But, you know, a lot of times actually more frequently than not individual leadership, you know, let’s just say, you know, at the divisional level are not, you know, they still wanna see their magic report that they’ve been using for the last 15 years that they’ve made in Excel or, you know, for, for an example. And so they’re not, they’re willing to play the game of using a large CRM system such as Salesforce, but they’re not willing to let go of the past. And so what you have is a lot of systems that are competing with other older, more established systems that were never sunset. And as a result, you have dueling systems, and then the grind of, you know, duplicate, triplicate manual activities having to take place really beats up on users. And, you know, sometimes, you know, Salesforce systems and like that can really wither on the vine. Those are two big ones that are kind of not necessarily so obvious that you know, aren’t part of a certification process… that happened a lot.

Mike Boyle: Well, it kind of leads me into my next question, Michael, how can a company’s existing culture and communication styles inadvertently create roadblocks to CRM adoption?

Micheal Hudlow: It’s a huge problem, actually. You know, it’s funny, it’s not the stuff kind of topic that gets a lot of press. And I guess ultimately that’s one of the reasons I wrote the book that I wrote because I wrote it out of frustration quite frankly because I kept seeing the same problems happen again and again. But I was never seeing, you know, the snippets, the articles, the, you know, shows like this even though we’re really talking about those issues. So, you know, it is much easier for an executive. And when I say that, you know, and whether it’s a CEO or board of directors, I’m just talking about the leaders for a company, it is much easier for them, even though it’s a big pill sometimes to swallow to pay for a system than it is, it’s much harder to get those people to actually say, you know, what our old processes are, you know, stink or somewhere, somewhere less than stink. And we’re gonna commit both to paying for this system. But we’re also gonna pay to do a lot of, you know, historical soul searching and change processes that need to be changed to align with those techs, you know, with the new technology and, and by not doing so, and you know, and then more specifically what I have found is that a lot of these processes don’t get changed because it’s the very leaders that are making those decisions that have probably been part of, you know, five years ago, 10 years ago or longer in making the existing process. And it’s kind of like, you know, no one wants to be told they’re, you know, their baby is ugly, kind of, sort of. And, and it’s like, well, I don’t wanna change this process because, you know, whether they admit it or not, or even if they know it or not, they’ve probably personally identified with processes that are in place that need to be changed or even technical tools or, or quasi technical tools that need to be changed. And they’re just not, they’re not willing to accept that defeat yet. Those people usually are not vocal about those issues. And as a result, they become a huge problem for project managers and product owners at companies that are responsible for things like Salesforce because they’re not apparent, the problem isn’t apparent, and the root cause of the problem isn’t apparent.

And that’s quite frankly what I do a lot of times is come in as a, you know, unbiased third-party observer to see where these snags are coming up in systems and then determine, well, how do I fix this? And ultimately, I think that’s where a lot of these ongoing processes or the existing for as you put it cause a problem and you think about it, why that is, is because there’s never been something like a Salesforce. There’s never been something like that before. You know, people sometimes say, well, you know, you could equate it to another big legacy system, but you can’t because, you know, these cr MS which used to be much more fine to fine-tuned to, to solving or a specific problem have now are touching every facet of a company, you know, the marketing, the intellectual property accounting, you know, you name it.

Obviously, everybody knows there are all the different clouds that exist and how can any previous system ever be compared to these things? And they’re changing every day. And then with the advent of AI, you know, it seems like it’s, you know, the morning is different in the afternoon. Nowadays, I’m sure another thing that you deal with is making folks understand the value.

Mike Boyle: What are some common misconceptions about the value proposition of a CRM that lead people to underestimate its potential benefits?

Michael Hudlow: I think this is gonna be, this is gonna sound like I’m beating you know, being a roundabout here with my answer. But, the reality is the initial problem there is quite frankly the question, meaning how do I prove value or, you know, and even, you know, how do I maximize ROI how do I change and say, hey, because we spent, you know, whatever a million dollars on this, we’re now making two million dollars. So, therefore, it’s, you know, fantastic the issue there is unless everyone is all in meaning all those things that I talked about earlier, unless, you know, there is some type of reward and consequence system put in place for, you know, being what I call a good corporate citizen with regards to CRM, unless all of the things are not going through one system, meaning you don’t have dueling banjos with, you know, so old, you know, spreadsheet system that people used or some other antiquated, you know, business development activity process that isn’t embedded into these new systems. Unless all those things are buttoned up and put into one system that can be tracked, then proving the value becomes, not only becomes impossible to answer, it really becomes a poor question because it can’t be the only way to, you know, really because, because ultimately, you know, unless you have all these things wrapped up and even, and maybe the way you do it is to scale it up where you, you know, you make one group in the world completely buttoned up into a process or a set of processes and then roll in war. But even then it becomes difficult because of what I was talking about before sharing.

You know, I have found that if you go down the path of ‘if you build it, they will come’ kind of mentality, then you will have teams getting into the CRM or our Salesforce space and not fully being participatory in the inclusion of information, but they are fully expecting to get the information out of the system. And that also becomes a big problem. But you know, the ROI proof that’s really the only way you can go down the path is if you know that you will just say keep it very easily in a sales model kind of conversation.

You know, if you have 10 salespeople and all of their activities are going through the system, I mean, literally all of their activities are going through the system and they’re being honest about what, you know, what they’re doing and what they’re up to and where they’re going next, then you can just, you know, easily do a, you know, compare, you know, month, over month kind of issue. But where the real pickup will be is how they are obtaining the opportunities. Is it through, you know, forecasting, is it through advanced algorithms in the CRM that are finding things that, you know, a human and you normally wouldn’t find. And then obviously we go into the A I world, if you can do all those things, then you definitely can measure it. But just going back to the problem that you’d mentioned earlier that requires full adoption and full leadership support, which is quite frankly scarce. I mean, it just doesn’t happen frequently enough at an all-inclusive level that it really needs to.

And I think it’s not necessarily the fault of the leaders. It’s that this technology is becoming so new. And now with the advent of AI as well, it’s changing so quickly that people just can’t wrap their head around.

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