5 Steps for Driving Sustainable Dynamics 365 CRM (CE) User Adoption

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Achieving sustainable user adoption of Dynamics 365 CRM/CE is very possible and has been done by many organizations successfully. However, it does not happen automatically. Sustained effort and deliberate activities are required to attain that goal.

On the other hand, the organizations that don't focus on user adoption of Dynamics 365 CRM find themselves migrating to other CRMs thinking that the product itself was not the right solution for their team.

An astounding 50% of CRM projects fail to meet expectations.

It's not specific to Dynamics 365 CRM but most CRMs like Salesforce, HubSpot and others face the same challenge of user adoption.

A vast majority of the time when organizations migrate from one software to another, it is due to the lack of usage and not the fault of the software itself.


Change Fatigue is Real

CRMs are very customizable so they are always unique to a company that is changing around fields, tables and forms routinely to fit their business need. Therefore, no complete off the shelf training set can be provided to users. As users are told to start using the CRM, they come with their own expectations and struggle when they have questions.

On top of it all, CRM platforms continue to evolve due to innovations by vendors like Microsoft.

Sometimes there's so much change that users feel change fatigue and never really get comfortable with the CRM and start using it less and less.

We don't want that of course. We want our users to use the CRM consistently so all of our customer centric organizational data is captured in the CRM. Otherwise, the verbal conversations that our sales, marketing and customer service folks have with customers are never captured within the system. It's not acceptable to not have all that valuable data available when other folks in our organization need it.


So let's dig into the 5 steps you can take to ensure sustainable user adoption of Dynamics 365 CRM.

Each of these five steps below can be an article by itself. Let's talk about them briefly here and we will dig into each subject area later in future articles.


Get Executive Buy-In

For any project to be successful, you need friends in high places within the company. It's the same thing with making sure your Dynamics 365 CRM initiative is successful.

You need an executive sponsor!

Without proper executive sponsorship and backup, you might as well forget about your initiative. It's not going to succeed.

User adoption is an uphill battle every step of the way without an advocate at the executive level.

Users emulate the actions of their leaders in the organization. You need at least one executive in the company emulating the best practices of using Dynamics 365 CRM in the best way possible. You want this person on your side setting the right example for the rest of the company.

The executive sponsorship is also necessary for the prioritization of budget and resources that will be required driving the Dynamics 365 related  initiatives and a shift in culture and processes that comes with it.

The authority and influence of the project sponsor also helps break down barriers and overcome resistance by others.


Keep It Simple and Start with One Major Pain Point to Solve

It's a fact that Dynamics 365 CRM is a very powerful system and there's a lot you can make it do.

However, you could roll out the best system in the world, but if users don't understand what's in it for them (WIIFM) and how it helps them then none of that flashy functionality will matter.

In fact, studies have shown that when you provide too much functionality in your system, the actual usage goes down. Confusion leads to inaction

The interfaces and processes have to be laid out to be the most conducive for the users of the system.

You don't get a second chance to make a first impression so let's make sure the first impression is a good one.

The best way to approach building out a welcoming Dynamics 365 user environment is to think about the major pain points that you hear from your users.

For example, what are the major pain points that you hear from salespeople?

Usually these pain points include:

  1. Too much administrative work
  2. Lack of standard processes
  3. Lack of sufficient training and support in the flow of work

How can you take the top pain point for your specific sales personnel and solve that with Dynamics 365 CRM?

For example, could you make it simple enough for your sales personnel to get the answers they need without stepping away from the CRM interface? that would be a big win for them!

Could you ensure that they get their answers within 2 clicks and 10 seconds? If you can do that, you will automatically create evangelists who will tell others how simple it is to use the Dynamics CRM for their benefit.


Incentivize Desired Behavior of Champions and Evangelists

Have you heard of Champion communities in organizations?

These are people who champion initiatives and spread the word about things that they care about.

We all need these champions (sometimes called evangelists, MVPS, ninjas, etc) on our side. Not only to help spread the word about our company initiatives, but also to provide us intelligence of what's happening 'on the ground'.

The good thing is that you don't really need to create champions. You just need to discover the power users in each department and give them the title of champion and get them on your side.

There are always influencers like these that exist in each department that everybody in the department runs to when they have a technical question. These people are also already used to helping their coworkers and have their respect. If you get these influencers on your side, your job will become a lot easier.

And the good thing is that incentivizing these champions and evangelists doesn't usually require monetary rewards. Instead, offer them increased visibility to senior management and influence on the business and technology roadmap and you'll see how they gravitate towards your mission and assist you with spreading your gospel in their own departments.


Facilitate Peer-To-Peer Learning

Social learning is the key in the world we live in today. The ways of traditionally training knowledge workers is declining. You can't just put people in a class over a 2 day period, teach them a bunch of stuff and expect that they will remember those things when the time comes for them to put that knowledge to use.

Binge learning just does not work - especially for knowledge workers who don't necessarily care about the technology. They care about getting their job done in the most efficient manner.

Instead, facilitate opportunities for peer-to-peer learning.

An example of that is a lunch and learn event. We all have to eat. Why not schedule time on a regular basis to eat together and learn from each other.

When executed properly, lunch and learn events have proven to be super beneficial for increasing morale within the team and having colleagues share their own discoveries with each other.

All You have to do is to facilitate this type of lunch and learn. Encourage a champion to share something that he or she has learned that helps them in their job. For example, a specific workflow within Dynamics that has reduced their time to completion of a specific task to a fraction of what it used to be.

Facilitate and encourage sessions like these on a regular basis and see the magic happen.

And oh yeah, don't forget the pizza 🙂


Focus on Context and Not Only Content

A couple of decades ago, the challenge we had as knowledge workers was access to content. It was not easy to just Google something because that type of powerful search just did not exist.

Access to content is not a problem anymore. Every one of us carries a super powerful computer in our pocket and can ask Siri or Google (or ChatGPT also now) for the answer that we are looking for.

The challenge has now shifted to providing the right context. The most appropriate answer at the moment of need that helps a knowledge worker perform her task is the coveted need.

So how can we get the right information to the right users at the right time? The answer is:

Contextual delivery of information

Delivering guidelines, policies, how-to info for certain tasks, and any other information that your users need at their moment of need, in context of their environment and within the flow of their work.

The magic formula is to get your users the answer they need within 2 clicks and 10 seconds. If you are able to do that, it has been proven the user is more likely than not to repeat that process of inquiry next time around as well since it did not feel to be that hard to get the answer. That's how things get "sticky" and usage increases.

This is where our company, VisualSP, shines. We have followed this same formula to help hundreds of organizations around the world support their users effectively in their Dynamics 365 CRM environments.

Helping teams and organizations get answers to their users to eliminate frustration, reduce support costs and increase sustained user adoption of their Dynamics 365 CRM systems.

Check out these success stories of customers and let us know if we can help achieve these results for your organization.


So there you have it. The 5 steps to driving sustainable Dynamics 365 CRM user adoption.

There is no one magic bullet that's going to give you the results that you're looking for. It just does not exist.

Having said that, if you are able to follow these 5 steps, sustainable Dynamics 365 CRM user adoption will be the result. That's already been proven in many organizations around the world that we at VisualSP have worked with.

Good luck to you and let us at VisualSP know if we can help with your user adoption initiatives.


1 thought on “5 Steps for Driving Sustainable Dynamics 365 CRM (CE) User Adoption”

  1. Hi,
    really a good article...got a lot of confusion about the CRM platforms.
    By reading this article I came to know it's a common issue faced by a majority of people in the marketing department. so the only solution is to do a lot more practice and spend quality time with people who are experienced in CRM Automation. really appreciate it.

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