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A New Take on the SFA Time-to-Value Curve

by Tad Travis  |  October 29, 2014  |  Submit a Comment

The Road to Enduring SFA Adoption Success Part 4

For years, I’ve told clients that achieving strong SFA value necessarily comes in four stages.    From recent talks with clients about their SFA adoption and SFA strategic plans,  I think it’s time to change the model.   Below is my traditional model for achieving SFA success.  It shows a gradual increase in busuiness impact as time increases, starting with managerial effectiveness.

Adoption Value Model - Gartner - September 2014

The first three stages are correct and appropriate, but the value propositions are in the wrong order.  Managerial effectiveness should be third, not first.  And individual utilization and effectiveness needs to shift lower, to the Initial Usage stage.

I’m advocating for the new model because the reasons for the initial SFA investment — better pipeline visibility, higher forecast accuracy, better call tracking, etc.– simply aren’t enough to compel our customer-facing resources to use the SFA. 

A colleague recently told me about a recent Inquiry that seems to be pretty common:

Executive Sponsor:  “We have really poor adoption of our SFA.   Reps don’t want to use the system.  What could be causing it?” 

Gartner:  “Do you have any capabalities in the system that are meaningful to the reps?”

Executive Sponsor: ” Well, no not really….”

We have to give customer-facing resources the tools that make it easier for them to sell.   They need deeply capable applications that combines functionality with process in a way that matches the way that they already already work.  And they need accurate, timely data so they don’t have to work in multiple systems and don’t have to guess about which system holds the best source of truth. Only with these steps will the SFA be meaningful to how they work.

When that occurs, SFA usage and data accuracy increases.  And when that milestone is reached, managers finally get the insight into sales performance that they need to be effective.

And forgive me if it seems like I am a late convert to this idea.  For example, Frederick Newell wrote about this as early as 2003 in “Why CRM Doesn’t Work.”  

Stay tuned for Part 5 of The Road to Enduring SFA Adoption Success, when I detail more about how to change the sequence of this value curve.

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Tad Travis
Research Director
1 year at Gartner
15 years IT Industry

Tad Travis is a Director in Gartner Research. He is responsible for managing the Sales Performance Management (SPM) sector of Gartner's CRM research practice. His research focuses primarily on SPM tools and capabilities to drive sales effectiveness and efficiency in all industries. Read Full Bio

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