CRM user adoption - 8 key things to consider

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Written by Jodi Gaywood

CRM software can revolutionise your business and help you to become a more customer centric organisation. In order to get the best returns from your CRM investment you must ensure that all end-users adopt the system and are committed to using it effectively. User adoption is one of the biggest challenges a CRM implementation faces and is consistently cited as the main reason why projects fail to deliver expected results.

In order to combat a failed implementation it is important that you outline your own CRM user adoption strategy before embarking on a new project. Here are 8 key things to consider:

CRM User Adoption: 8 Considerations Infographic

1. Involve Users From the Start

Users are the ultimate customers of a CRM project and therefore their needs must be fully understood from the outset. It is a mistake to let a small project team define all of the requirements without consulting the end users. Focus groups may uncover critical aspects which could have otherwise been overlooked. In addition to this users are more likely to accept a system in which they have played a part in designing. 

2. Be clear on the Benefits

End user benefits need to be emphasised clearly and enthusiastically. If users can see how the system can help them or their colleagues become more effective they will be motivated to learn how it works. If they perceive the system to be something which will waste their time and won’t increase productivity they will be reluctant to use it.

3. Ease of Use

It is important to choose an intuitive CRM that can easily be configured to contain your own business terminology. Pick a system that will automate key processes and not create additional work for users. A feature to look out for is automated e-mail tracking. This is where the CRM automatically analyses and assigns e-mails to the correct account records without any input from the user.

4. Gain Trust and Clarify User Responsibilities

A CRM implementation is not just about the software. It requires a shift in culture and some users may be concerned that the new system will be used to monitor and control them. Trust will come when users understand that the system is being implemented for their benefit and will make their working lives easier. Keep users informed of the project progress on a regular basis and encourage open communication and feedback. It is also important to stress that users have a responsibility to make their corporate systems work. IT systems have been around for decades and it is no longer acceptable to cite lack of computer skills. An Account Manager is absolutely responsible for ensuring contact data is up to date. Building these responsibilities into a personal performance plan is now commonplace. 

5. Deliver Effective Training

End user training is fundamental to the success of any CRM project. Without training users lack the necessary understanding to gain the best results from the system and will not be able to quantify the full benefits of the CRM. Devise a training plan that is tailored to each area that will use the CRM – sales, customer services, marketing etc. Training should be an on-going process so always look out for CRM suppliers who offer regular training sessions or webinars.

6. Involve Senior Management & Recruit CRM Advocates

It is unlikely that you will win over the users of a CRM system if you have not had the buy-in of Senior Management. Senior Management need to promote the project and create an air of excitement about the new system. In addition you should choose influential CRM advocates who will champion the project and step in when any challenges arise.

7. Choose a device independent, mobile CRM

This point is especially important for the buy-in of your Sales Managers. Mobile sales teams need to be able to access their data and gain valuable insights whilst out on the road. It is therefore vital that you choose a CRM that works on all devices including smartphones and tablets.

8. Cleanse your Data

Make sure that all data is cleansed and of a good quality before users begin to utilise the system. If data quality is poor from the outset users will lose faith in the CRM and will be less likely to perceive it as something which can add value.

The ultimate goal of your CRM User Adoption strategy is to motivate your staff into wanting to use the CRM and perceiving it as something that will enhance their productivity.

At Gold-Vision, we give all of our customers training (and on-going support) to ensure that their CRM implementation is a success. Find out more about our CRM services.