Implementing a new CRM system and strategy will most likely modify the way employees work, which inevitably will lead to some users unfortunately resisting change. After all, it is human nature for employees to initially not want to modify a routine or procedure that they are currently comfortable with doing and that has met expectations in the past. The fact that some users may be slow to embrace CRM poses a challenge, as firms want to maximize their return on investment in the new technology as quickly as possible. In order to increase CRM user adoption and overcome those resistant to change, companies must find ways to motivate and actively engage the user base.
For all CRM deployments, firms of all sizes should have an Executive Steering Committee with a designated Project Sponsor. As the firm’s CRM champion, the Project Sponsor must be readily available to support and encourage new CRM users as they become acclimated to their new system. The firm’s CRM strategy should be well-defined prior to the implementation and often communicated to its users. It is crucial that the executives emphasize that the CRM application will enhance the users’ productivity, save them time, and optimize their interactions with all stakeholders, from clients to prospects to referral sources to partners to suppliers to colleagues.
It is also important to clearly articulate the benefits that the solution brings to the organization and how it will help the firm and each individual user meet concrete short-term and long-term goals. In order to set the right expectations, all departments should be informed of their specific roles during the CRM project implementation and as users of the system. Workflows that may have to be adjusted should be identified and conveyed to the appropriate functional units.
The Executive Steering Committee should also relay to the users which Key Performance Indicators will be tracked and reported directly in CRM in order to instill more accountability and establish a new higher standard of excellence across the enterprise. Additionally, the Steering Committee should always provide users throughout the organization with brief, but insightful and positive updates on the progress of the CRM implementation milestones. Lastly, it is highly recommended that a detailed training plan be devised and shared with the users well in advance of the actual training dates. The same holds true for your test strategy and UAT logistics…expecting your top producer to cancel a large-scale opportunity pursuit call with her best prospect for a last-minute UAT session will not fly. Plus, it’s not professional!
In closing, Project Sponsors must advocate that CRM is so much more than just a software application. In order for CRM adoption to increase more rapidly, it is crucial for Project Sponsors to:
1. Remind the users of the firm’s strategic vision and commitment to CRM.
2. Provide users with recurring updates on the implementation timelines.
3. Seriously listen and promptly respond to user feedback and suggestions.
4. Provide users with thorough initial and continuing training.
5. Reiterate that CRM is an ongoing strategic initiative that goes well beyond the initial purchase and roll-out.
Promoting and following the above guidelines should help facilitate a smooth implementation and increase user adoption.
Do you agree? What else would you recommend to rapidly increase the adoption of your CRM?
Feel free to opine below and good luck with your CRM projects!