The ability to change in business today is inevitable reality. End-user adoption is key to a successful CRM initiative. Over the years we have found several helpful hints for promoting CRM as a business culture and actions to achieve better user adoption.
Typically, employees feel uncomfortable with the idea of having to change thier routines and adjust to an unfamiliar application such as CRM. Consider how to minimize the risks to end-users.
- Build a case for change- answer the “What’s in it for me” question. Think about the impact of CRM strategy on people – the benefits and consequences of changing or not changing. Demonstrate clearly to those involved that the new system will benefit them. Spend some time explaining how CRM will benefit them directly and not just the company as a whole.
- Have the various stakeholders involved in the design and pilot phase. Early participation with feedback is key to long term adoption. Cover how CRM helps in their day-in-life activities. What steps can be eliminated or reduced. Test options during the pilot and make needed adjustments.
- Communicate project progress. Hold regular meetings across all departments to communicate how it is going. How can interactions among various departmental personal be improved and important data captured and shared.
- Keep employees in the loop by providing information and clarity about what is happening. Pilot team members should share in the progress.
- Encourage employees to speak up about changes and listen to what they have to say. For example, discover what sales processes they are already doing in Microsoft Outlook and then see what can be leveraged into the CRM application.
- Give employees time to make the transition and adjust to the new approach. Find out specific struggles some users are having. CRM is a journey and some people adapt faster than others.
- Support the managers who are leading the CRM march toward greater success. What activity roll up reporting can be accomplished to eliminate the need for sales call reports. What dashboards can provide snapshots of their department’s key performance indicators.
- Give them one piece of the pie at a time. Think baby steps… Understand that effective implementation of CRM is a cultural process: it will take time for everyone to adjust to new ways of doing business. Start with entering sales contact key information, performing lookups and navigating. Later move into sales opportunity management and business analytics.
- Inform and involve customers about the company’s vision for a customer-centric organization. As you make changes get their feedback. We had one client make valuable quotation form changes and lead follow up progress from early feedback from helpful customers.
- Communicate that growth of the company is enhanced by the users sharing information that they gather about customers: their concerns, needs and wants. It’s about “building” a customer relationship and sharing profile characteristics.
- Provide useful educational resources that are focused on the desired results for each audience. Have these easily accessible. Web based how-to’s in an audio-video format work well and can become quick refreshers.
- Conduct frequent audits, review progress, make adjustments – this is a discovery learning process. Continually assess results weighted against the expectations. Invite the sales team to review weekly or monthly reports and share feedback.
- Reward the adopters, the power users, those who help their associates so the whole ship rises to new levels. Make part of their pay dependent on activities within the CRM solution. We have had several clients replace sales people with those that became engaged with use of CRM shared knowledge – and sales increased! Get the right people on the bus and go in the right direction.
- Celebrate the successes, large and small. Talk about the improved customer experiences, the smarter on-time customer information, and so forth.
- Use subject matter experts as effectively as possible. Enlist the support of a professional CRM systems architect and implementer…..ideally someone with experience in various business roles: owner/manager/employee in sales, marketing, and customer service.
Neglecting to change practices and habits that will provide tangible rewards and intangible benefits is a dangerous cow-path that businesses all too often fall into. Yes, innovation can sometimes take a back seat to more pressing issues.
Implementing a quality CRM strategic solution that is practically useful is one of the simplest ways to induce dynamic change in an organization.
What actions have you found helpful to achieve better CRM user adoption?