Tips for Putting the 'Use' in Microsoft Dynamics CRM User Adoption

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As both veteran consultants and customers will tell you, one key to a successful Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation is user adoption. Like most other companies, financial services organizations face challenges getting users to adopt new CRM systems.

At a recent online meeting of the CRM User Group's Financial Services Special Interest Group, members shared some tips and tricks for getting users to more easily adopt Dynamics CRM.

"What we've done to ensure user adoption is institute a policy that if it isn't in the solution it doesn't exist," said one member of the group. "When they're looking at sales activities or promoting a specific process, then the system of record is Dynamics - the solution itself - so they really have to go back and make sure that all of that activity is recorded in the solution. That's one of the primary ways - making sure either through the use of workflows or the use of recording activities, follow-up events, pipelines-that they consistently use that solution as the system of record to record those activities, those events."

Additionally, senior management has to reinforce the "system of record" policy as well.

User adoption starts in the planning phase, according to the event presenter, Brad Koontz, product manager at Customer Effective.

"We found that it's [important] to have a good champion in the project who's not only going to be the executive sponsor but also the head cheerleader," he said. "And as part of their cheerleading duties, they need to hammer on the ideas of increasing productivity, saving time, all of the things that the executive sponsor thought it would be a good idea to buy CRM for. They need to be preaching this on a fairly consistent basis."

Koontz said it comes down to adhering to some basic project management tenets like frequent updates and always reminding people of the strategic vision that you had when you decided to implement Dynamics CRM.

"Then making sure that training is provided often and it's provided early and then it's provided later," he said. "You might have some user adoption but you might have some people who are not adopting as quickly or as well as some of the power users might be. So make sure that they're getting the training."

Another member of the CRM User Group, said his company, which has been live on Dynamics CRM for about three months, took advantage of workflow processes to simplify users' ability to manage tasks.

"The planning teams just have to select what they want to do and CRM automatically routes the task to the various departments behind the scenes," he said. "So the teams just have to say, ‘What do I need to do?' And the system will just push the various tasks where they need to go. We've received a lot of positive feedback on that particular process that we implemented. It was a big win for us."

You should also identify the KPI consumers early-the people in your organization who consume these key performance indicators more than others-and make them your cheerleaders as well, Koontz said.

"You can also build and configure your CRM to make sure that the needs [of the KPI consumers] are met because if they're happy, that has a tendency to spread throughout the organization," he said. "Also find a partner that understands the importance of user adoption and makes it the top KPI of the project."

Koontz also said that simplifying the system for users can make them more productive. He said sometimes users are confused and they don't know what the system does because there's so much going on.

"The truth is your task probably doesn't need all the stuff that's on your screen," he said. "So if we go in there and sit down with specific users, not just inside specific idustries but inside specific roles inside companies, and we ask them what they need to see to do their jobs correctly, to do their jobs productively day to day, then we can take the time to pull these things out; that really helps."

Another key to user adoption is data integration because it keeps people out of other systems, Koontz said. It reduces the duplication of effort that happens when someone has to go into a third-party system or a legacy system, look up the data, and then transfer that data manually into the CRM system. At the very least, the user won't have to use two screens to try to make a decision about a particular client or a particular issue.

This can frustrate the users and make them angry about CRM, he said.

Users will also adopt Dynamics CRM more quickly if they're able to access it via their iPads or other tablet devices in a way that fits those devices, he added.

Another attendee took a more blunt approach to quell dissatisfaction among users migrating from to Dynamics CRM. To get users more comfortable with using Dynamics CRM she looked at the screen and simply rearranged the fields in Dynamics CRM to match the way they looked in

"I put the labels of the fields flush to the right and the value of the fields flush to the left, and all the fields in the same order as Salesforce," she said.

Koontz said another way to convince former users to make the switch to Dynamics CRM was to appeal to productivity gains.

"[Talk about] the whole idea of Office integration, which should be easier for them moving forward inside CRM," he said. "So showing them those features like the integration with Outlook. Say, ‘Look how it fits into your day. You're in Outlook all the time anyway.' Also see how you are able to have Dynamics worksheets in Excel and how easy it is getting data into the system from an Excel template, getting those in and out of the views that you create. Once we share those with people that ususally gets about fifty percent of the users."

Originally published on as "Tips for Putting the 'Use' in Microsoft Dynamics CRM User Adoption".  Article written by Linda Rosencrance.

Posted by: Brad Koontz, Customer Effective

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