Engagement Strategies That Inspire CRM User Adoption

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Engaged CRM User Adoption at Table Image

A well-executed CRM deployment will change the way you do business by transforming your relationships with prospects and customers, and by refining and revamping internal processes. But for CRM to achieve its full potential, it must be embraced and actively used by all stakeholders.

Resisting change and clinging to what’s familiar are part of human nature, even when such resistance works against us. What can you do to improve user adoption and ensure CRM success? Use value selling techniques to convey CRM’s worth to employees, just like you do with prospects and customers!

Employees need to understand CRM’s importance to the business and how it benefits them personally. Closing more sales, earning higher commissions, and meeting performance goals can be powerful motivators. So can improving customer satisfaction and net promoter scores. Like anything else, if users understand how CRM can make their life better, they are more likely to learn and use it.

Here’s how you can generate excitement and increase user adoption by engaging employees before, during and after implementing your CRM system.

Start with the Configuration Process

Would you embrace a system that doesn’t solve your problems or help you excel at your job? Of course not. Users know best what will help or hinder their success, and appreciate being part of the solution. Ask, listen, and include their real-world perspective when configuring CRM.

To ensure CRM delivers value to diverse stakeholders, the needs of every group should be represented as the system takes shape. We recommend working with carefully selected delegates from sales, marketing, customer service, accounting, and any area that impacts the customer experience.

Validate that CRM captures the data each group needs, and provides reports, views and dashboards that support decisive, goal-oriented actions. Solicit feedback on the effects of planned process changes. Seek ways to make customer activity transparent and promote collaboration across groups. And make sure the benefits of CRM are accessible on all appropriate devices and platforms.

Test Before Going Live

When users help configure their own CRM solution, they are naturally invested in its success and will gladly participate in acceptance testing before going live. Now it’s time for them to experience how CRM meets their needs and lives up to its promise. And you will learn what lies ahead in terms of system development, training and employee acceptance.

Use the testing phase to uncover blocks to user adoption and take steps to address any impediments, now or as future enhancements. Once convinced of CRM’s value, these users are instrumental in persuading their peers to accept CRM and support the organization’s mission in deploying it.

Training, Training, and More Training

CRM training takes many forms throughout the lifecycle of the system. Unfortunately, when training is approached as a “one size fits all” endeavor, user adoption and organizational satisfaction suffer. Comprehensive training and educated, enthusiastic users are essential for CRM success, so build your program with the following considerations in mind.

  • Value Training: Give users the big picture on how CRM makes everyone more successful. Share your hopes and expectations for CRM, and emphasize the positive results of the inevitable process changes. Demonstrate the tools they’ll use and explain the rationale behind key reports and activities. The more users understand CRM’s value, the more valuable it becomes.
  • Operational Training: This is where most training programs start and end... learning how to enter data, select criteria for views and reports, and perform basic tasks. Consider expanding operational training to explore what’s happening behind the user interface, and show how CRM works to create transparency and provide nuanced customer insights.
  • Role-Based Training: Generic training creates inefficiency when users they have to extrapolate whether something is important to them. To avoid this common pitfall, each stakeholder group or security level should receive separate training that focuses on their specific tasks, reports and goals. This is an important step toward autonomy and mastery of CRM.
  • Executive Training: Leadership should set an example and actively use CRM to develop successful business strategies. Every C-level employee should know what insights are available to them through CRM dashboards, analyses and other tools. They should also know how to monitor progress in every department and align each group with organizational goals.
  • Progressive Training: Once users master the basics, it’s helpful to deepen their working knowledge of CRM with more advanced training. Topics can include uncovering hidden trends in CRM data, analyzing reports, and using data to enable complementary activities such as marketing automation, event management, customer mapping and financial reporting.
  • Device Training: If CRM is deployed on multiple devices or platforms, there may be functional or technical differences in how CRM is used in each environment. Understanding these potential disparities is key to sustaining the productivity of remote and mobile employees.


User acceptance can’t be mandated, but it can be earned by including select users in the CRM process from inception to implementation and beyond. It’s also essential to with a technology partner who understands the direct relationship between adoption and CRM success.

With comprehensive planning that emphasizes user engagement and a robust training program, you will be rewarded with a CRM system that changes employee behaviors and drives strategies that improve sales, marketing, and organizational performance. Call me at 330-929-1353, extension 224, for more insights.

1 thought on “Engagement Strategies That Inspire CRM User Adoption”

  1. Bob,

    totally agree with the steps you are mentioning here, namely: configuration, testing, and training. There is no doubt that training will be a big part of the overall usage ratio of a team.

    Now in the last years, there has been a lot of solutions being created to gamify the software adoption process. I think this can also be used for CRM solutions in the long run. True, most sales people are driven by money. But at the end, if the overall experience becomes more fun at work, I am sure it will then affect both their performance and results. What are your thought around gamification?

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