CRM – Build for Adoption


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This post continues to explore the theme of Unlocking The Value of CRM. Previous installments can be found here and here. This installment focuses on Change:

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.

Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882)

Most CRM initiatives are launched to change the way of doing business in an organization, i.e. organizational transformation – if they don’t, the economics of such an initiative should be questioned. However, concerns about adoption challenges often shift the focus to functions and features from processes and economics.

Instead of clear communication of goals and benefits to the employees and to the enterprise, and development of a sound, comprehensive change management strategy – the program leadership slips into a risk mitigation mode. The requirements gathering interviews can easily turn into pacifying the participants with discussions about laundry lists of functions and promising no changes to the underlying processes.

Principal concerns of business community involved with proposed CRM initiative are:

  1. Increased work load expectations;
  2. Negative impact on personal income and earning ability (SFA) caused by sharing Contact and Opportunity information;
  3. Increased accountability for quality of forecast translated into job security.

I often focus on SFA adoption challenges while discussing CRM initiatives because these have by far the worst history, and are considered the most difficult to navigate. Most Customer Support, Call Center, Marketing and other CRM related initiatives have much better adoption record because their processes traditionally are more clearly defined and managed for for consistency.

Salespeople, on the other hand, focus on an event rather than a process, and see any attempt to dissect selling process for analysis with great contempt as they regard selling as an art form. While sales professionals do not respond positively to management, they do respond very enthusiastically to leadership and basic economics:

  • Architect the implementation for their benefit, and not exclusively for the benefit of their management.
  • Well thought through changes to sales compensation structure to influence their behavior will produce very powerful results. Needless to say these changes should influence behavior specific to achievement of financial goals of CRM initiative, not paying for use of the system.
  • Consistent publicity for sales community leaders who embraced the change and financially benefited as a result.
  • Steadfast and brutal treatment of any attempt to misuse shared information for “poaching” purposes.
  • Maximize automation of initial data loads and subsequent data capture.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Gregory Yankelovich
Gregory Yankelovich is a Technologist who is agnostic to technology, but "religious" about Customer Experience and ROI. He has solid experience delivering high ROI projects with a focus on both Profitability AND Customer Experience improvements, as one without another does not support long-term business growth. Gregory currently serves as co-founder of, the software (SaaS) used by traditional retailers and CPG brand builders to create Customer Experiences that raise traffic in stores and boost sales per customer visit.


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