It’s often a factor that’s significantly overlooked, yet a one so important that the entire success of a CRM strategy depends on it - user adoption.
Businesses often make the mistake of believing that implementation of a CRM application is sufficient to deliver results but the simple truth is that it doesn’t even come close.
Studies consistently report that user adoption is the most critical ingredient to achieve tangible CRM payback.
Yet why is it then, that listening to the needs of users and delivering CRM training often doesn't receive the same focus and resourcing compared to getting the CRM database up and running?
It’s essential to remember that a project should only be considered ‘successful’ if it meets the objectives of the business and, most crucially, the requirements of its users.
How can you ensure that CRM user adoption is effective within your business?
Ensure users know why a CRM system has been introduced
Effective buy-in is much more difficult if users have no idea why they’re being told to use a new CRM application.
Without a clear understanding as to what the CRM system can do for the business and, most importantly, the individual users, they have no real motivation to use it.
Consider creating a customized user guide that not only explains what the system can do and how to physically use it but, more interestingly for the user, what they can expect to gain from it.
Reach out to enthusiastic and influential individuals who’ll evangelize CRM. They'll help secure user buy in and provide rock solid support if challenges arise.
Users will look to see if the people who ordered and promoted the system are serious about it and CRM isn't just a passing fad. Top executives have much to gain from CRM so they need to set an example by talking about CRM, promoting CRM and using it.
If people are still allowed to hold their own data sources CRM will never reach its potential. CRM is all about sharing and increasing the visibility of customer relationships, the more people who contribute information to a shared system, the more value will result for everyone.
From the outset your CRM database needs to be personalized so it matches your business processes and terminology, and passes the critical test of user relevancy.
For example, field titles, workflows and reports should all be adapted to fit the way you work.
It's also important to keep CRM simple, or at least avoid unnecessary complexity.
CRM systems like
Users hate interfaces cluttered with irrelevant features which creates an immediate barrier to CRM user adoption. Personalize the layout for a clean interface that reflects only the features that individual teams currently need. More CRM functions can always be switched on later when they’re needed.
Begin using your shiny new CRM system with quality data from the start. Before you migrate legacy records, purge duplicates and outdated contacts to instill user confidence in the data they’re working with.
CRM will always be more relevant to users when it works with the applications and data sources they already use. This can include email marketing, ERP database, accounts software, website data and
Review your CRM plan and consider what, if any, CRM integration is needed now or in a future project phase.
Measure CRM Usage
Keep track of how your staff are using the system.
This is not designed to be a ‘witch hunt’ to find and punish those that are not using it but, rather, an opportunity to identify why they’re not engaging with CRM – then offer the necessary support (be it training, further explanation of how the system can help them and support wider objectives, etc.) to correct the problem.
Just as importantly, focus on positive reinforcement and show a link between those that are using it and demonstrate how CRM is improving performance.
Consider introducing some form of gamification in your CRM user adoption strategy and play on the sportive element – you’ll be surprised at how a simple leaderboard or a scoring system can trigger a person’s competitive nature!
Ongoing training and support
It’s easy to fall into the trap of just providing an intensive
Most likely, this will result in overwhelmed and unmotivated individuals who lack the training and support they need to become proficient users.
After introductory tuition, keep training bite-sized and regular, with each session focusing on a different element. By working with a CRM partner you'll gain the benefit not only of their technical knowledge but also a depth of experience in winning the hearts and minds of CRM users.
Be sure to include a Q&A opportunity at the end of each session to ensure that users have the chance to address any specific concerns, or issues that they have encountered.
Listen to Users
Just as important as talking with your users about the business’ CRM objectives and explaining how to use the system is listening to your users and taking on board the feedback that they give.
Using the system day-in, day-out, these are the people that know the system better than anyone - don’t disregard what they have to say.
Crucially, ensure that your users know you’re listening to them - they’re much more likely to co-operate if they know that their opinions are being heard.
Look to appoint an internal CRM champion who’ll promote best practive and manage user requests and suggestions for further database customization.
With 20 years CRM implementation experience Preact work with businesses to deliver project success and secure CRM user adoption.
by Preact CRM