Many companies I've worked with have spent a lot of time and money implementing CRM systems, only to struggle with user adoption and commitment to continuous updating. There are various responses to this, depending on who you talk to:
Executive: We give them tools and they don't use them. So, why give them more tools?
Sales: We work on commission and need face time to make quota. Hire a clerical person to do data input.
Marketing: We can't effectively nurture leads if they aren't kept updated.
Contact Center: If we'd known the latest information about the customer, we'd have been better able to help them.
Any of this sound familiar? Here's the deal, sales people do not have the time to spend inputing data that's really double entry and not productive for them. After all, they know the information about their contacts, so what's in it for them to spend precious time updating a system that's basically a record keeper?
Answer: Make the updating of the CRM system transparent to the sales team.
How? By providing them tools that help them do their jobs more effectively, but are smart enough to pull the relevant information out the backside and update it to the CRM automatically. By streamlining processes and eliminating work that drains time from other tasks, you can create a winning situation for all constituents.
A few tools that you can implement on your sales portal that will help you accomplish this are a sales letter generator and a proposal generator with integration to your CRM. Allow your sales team to share stories about what efforts helped them close the sale - add them to your knowledgebase and attach the comments to the customer's record in the CRM.
From your customer portal or website, if you implement a requirements survey for new project requests or a customer satisfaction survey or a suggestion area, it's a matter of web services to pull the relevant information into the CRM and update a customer or a lead.
The most important thing to do is to look at the processes you have in place now, determine which of them can do double duty and eliminate all the overlap. While you're at it, don't forget to think about what you'll need to be able to work with all this new information. The ability to search/query it in different ways and generate meaningful reports that go beyond numbers and statistics can be extremely useful in planning/altering your strategic sales goals and achievements.
Plus, the added time in the sales persons day means they can sell more...faster. Isn't that the goal in the first place?
For more on this subject, take a look at Brian Carroll's post, Why Don't Sales People Update the CRM and What Can Be Done About It?