CRM Adoption Best Practices & Implementation Keys

In my personal experience as a CRM consultant, the question of end user adoption comes down to 4 simple matters – and most of these are “management issues” rather than “system issues“. In this article we cover several CRM best practices – adoption oriented.

(1) TOP DOWN BUY IN FOR THE CRM SYSTEM

If your upper management isn’t using the system or doesn’t understand it, then I would say they dont’ really care about it. And this perception will be felt throughout the user base. The last thing you want is for users to feel like the CRM is simply an accountability system or only for the pawns of the company.

(2) IMMEDIATE EXPECTATIONS

People need to get over the usage hump immediately. Don’t wait one or two weeks. Bottom line, this is change, and it is definitely uncomfortable. If you let down your expectations at the beginning, then forget about your success! At the beginning they have gone through training and it is somewhat fresh in their minds. If they don’t implement the knowledge immediately, then they will forget it within a few days.

(3) NICE GUY MANAGER

This goes hand in hand with the above point. If you aren’t willing to ruffle some feathers, then kiss your investment goodbye. This is particularly challenging when it comes to employees with longevity, especially successful sales reps. They feel like they don’t need to use the system. And you are scared to make them upset. Keep in mind that if you allow those exceptions, then the other users will also find a way to use the system less than needed. I guarantee you that your CRM project will fail if you like being Mr. Nice Guy.

(4) CRM USAGE REPORTS

You can easily create some usage reports. KPIs can include the following:

  • - Who is entering the most/least activities?
  • - Who is entering the most/least new records?
  • - Who is logging the most/least histories or notes?
  • - etc…

You get the picture. Create some simple KPI’s and look at them each week. If you like, you can even automate a report that will get emailed to the users – showing them who is and is not really using the system. There is power in peer pressure.

But these KPI reports are not just useful for accountability. They, more importantly, reveal areas where the users do not feel comfortable with the system. This provides an excellent opportunity to do refresher trainings. We recommend weekly refreshers at the beginning of each CRM implementation. Keep these refreshers focused on the areas of the system that employees are not really using. Ask them if why they aren’t using these functions. You might be surprised at their answers! Then you can launch into your explanation.

Video – CRM Best Practices - Adoption Strategy

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Mark Shaw

Director at Accent Gold Solutions
Author: Mark Shaw, Director of Accent Gold Solutions, is certified in a number of CRM systems - including SAP CRM, SugarCRM and ACT! Having studied Business at the University of Massachusetts, he went on to consult several large Energy Utilities in the US and Europe - including designing a Sales Database for the largest European provider of Natural Gas. Using his unique combination of sales and marketing experience, Mark has set up and led successful sales teams for several firms, including Xerox.
Read more about Mark on our About Us page. Google