What’s been your biggest challenge in implementing your CRM system?
I’ve asked that question hundreds of times over the years. Whether I’m talking to customers, prospects, or the salespeople I meet, “getting people to use the system” is the most common answer by far.
No CRM application, regardless of price, features, or promise, will help you meet your business goals if your team doesn’t use it.
So what can you do to make sure your people use your CRM tool? Here are 11 best practices for improving your CRM adoption rate.
Communicate Your Plan Early and Often
A strategic vision and a formal implementation plan are crucial to CRM implementation success. You can’t leave your users in the dark then expect them to embrace a new CRM app.
End users need to know that change is coming. Share your timeline and your objectives. As your project progresses, let your people know when milestones are reached and what’s coming next.
Users also need to understand why a new system is necessary and how it aligns with your company’s business goals. Perhaps most importantly, your team needs to know what’s in it for them. If your new system will automate processes, save time, and result in bigger opportunities, make sure you communicate that.
Involve End Users from Beginning to End
It’s important not to exclude the people who will use the system the most from participating in all phases of your implementation. Create a cross-functional team made up of stakeholders and end users from all levels of your organization. You’ll get valuable input and ensure that all users have a voice.
Members of the team offer their input into developing user requirements, selecting a CRM system, and creating an implementation plan. Team members also act as project owners and spokespeople for their respective departments.
Make Sure Your CRM Solution is Easy to Use
Your CRM software should make life easier and more efficient for users, not more difficult. Find a solution that fits your business processes rather than one that forces you to modify your processes to fit the software.
During setup, your CRM administrator should ensure that only the fields users need are available and views are kept free of clutter. If your system is not intuitive or looks overwhelming, people won’t use it.
Make Sure Your CRM System is Flexible
Does your company have a bring your own device policy? Do users need access to data from outside the office or on their phones? What other applications does your staff use daily?
You’ll be asking these questions and others while you generate a list of requirements during your planning stage. It’s important to find a solution that supports multiple devices, syncs with your email client, and integrates with the other applications you use regularly.
Users will turn away from a system that isn’t available on their preferred devices or forces them to enter the same data in multiple places because it doesn’t talk to other applications they need.
Collect and Review Feedback
Encourage feedback on your CRM software. Ask questions to identify any pain points or challenges. Keep all of your feedback in one place so you can identify any common or recurring issues.
It’s not enough to just collect feedback. You also have to be willing to…
Make Changes Based on Feedback
If you notice common themes or issues in your feedback, you’ll need to address them. The last thing you want is for your users to feel like your new CRM system is an inflexible IT project or management’s idea. Any suggestions for process improvement or streamlining tasks need to seriously considered and implemented when it makes sense.
Train, Train, and Train Some More
Structured, hands-on training is an absolute requirement for achieving a high CRM adoption rate.
The time to train is not after your system is rolled out and users are voicing their frustration. Training needs to happen before, during, and after your implementation. Users should already be acclimated on launch day.
All employees in customer-facing roles should know how to collect data and perform their duties in your new software prior to going live. Administrators should be knowledgeable enough to configure, customize, and answer questions.
Document Policies and Best Practices
Your CRM system should come with plenty of documentation and support materials. But that won’t address how your company specifically captures data at every point in your unique customer cycle. That’s why your internal policies and procedures need to be documented and available to all users.
Your internal usage guide should cover what kind of data should be recorded in your CRM system as well as how it’s entered and who is responsible. Make sure the guide is updated regularly to reflect any changes in the software, changes to your sales process, or redistribution of duties.
Keep Your Data Clean
Your employees will not want to use a system that’s missing data or littered with inconsistencies and duplicate records.
When you’re transitioning to a new system, people will need assurances that their existing data will be available in the new system. You need to make sure your data is clean and formatted the way you want it before it’s migrated.
You also need policies in place to ensure data quality going forward. That means establishing standards for data entry and preventing duplicates from being entered. Your CRM provider may have features, validation rules, or tools to clean and help you prevent data problems. But communication, training, and documented procedures can alleviate a lot of the issues.
You can’t improve what you don’t measure. To make sure your users stay on track, you need to measure adoption on an ongoing basis.
The most basic way to measure adoption is to look at login rates. But successful adoption goes beyond your users simply logging in. You also want to look at productivity and goal achievement. The quantity and quality of the data being entered is also a good reflection of user adoption.
How do you want users to use the system? Whether it’s outbound calls logged, proposals generated, or some other metric tied to system usage, recognize and reward your top performers. A regular email that contains tips for using the CRM and recognizing achievers is simple and effective.
Managing Change to Increase User Adoption
People are naturally resistant to change. They get comfortable with the processes, routines, and tools they’re accustomed to using. Let your users know you understand it takes time to ramp up.
If your staff feels that a new CRM is a forced upon them, they’ll resent it. They’ll want to go back to doing things the old way with their old familiar tools.
If you’re communicating clearly, involving users, and paying attention to feedback you should get less resistance and better adoption.
If you’re looking for a flexible, easy to use CRM application, sign up for a free 30 day trial of Salesnet CRM today.