Earn Faster Employee Buy-in to Your New CRM


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Most, if not all, workers value tools provided by their organization that help them do their jobs
better. It goes without saying, right?

Some covet a platform that will reduce their time spent on cumbersome, manual-intensive activities, keep them more organized, and make it easier to find data. Others desire a tool that allows them to spend more time with clients and prospects. For instance, if employees are convinced that a new CRM system can help them be more effective in their respective roles and enhance their efficiency, they will be more motivated and inclined to learn and incorporate it into their daily routine.

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

On the other hand, new technology tools that come with steep learning curves and actually add extra time-consuming steps to already existing arduous tasks will certainly not be embraced by employees. For example, if employees feel that the new CRM system will not increase their overall productivity, they will demonstrate a resistance to change and be reluctant to learn the new platform. Similarly, users will not be fond of a new CRM system that takes an extraordinarily long time to implement and that does not even provide the core functionality improvements requested and absolutely needed by the user base.

As new users become frustrated and confused by the new system, they will spend more time complaining at the water cooler (or via IM or text during COVID) rather than working on mission-critical tasks. The users’ growing disdain and lack of commitment to adopting the new CRM system can unfortunately become an enormous roadblock for a successful CRM implementation.

Without employee buy-in, the gains achieved through the CRM implementation will be quite minimal and few and far between. The buy-in must come from all levels of the company, from upper management to power users to less frequent users of CRM. After selecting a CRM solution, executive management must ignite a sense of excitement as the implementation project commences. In order to execute a smooth transition to the new CRM system, upper management has to demonstrate a steadfast commitment to completing the implementation on time, exude a passion for learning and mastering the system, and also utilize it daily themselves.

Management must not only be positive, supportive, and passionate about the CRM system but also communicate early and often with the user base and explain why exactly the firm is embarking upon this CRM initiative. By clearly articulating and demonstrating the benefits of the CRM platform and how it will help the firm and specific stakeholders and departments meet strategic business objectives, employees will recognize that their time invested in training and familiarizing themselves with the system will not be wasted. Upon hearing and experiencing how CRM is going to help them with job performance and yield personal advantages, users will be more likely to embrace and further promote the tool and actually use it consistently and passionately, rather than half-heartedly.

Without question, frequent communication, extensive initial and ongoing training, and timely support are additional keys to boosting a firm’s adoption rates. A word of caution, though…tactfully securing employee buy-in absolutely needs to occur well before user acceptance testing (“UAT”). Failure to do so will result in delayed UAT sessions, disgruntled users, and missed “go-live” milestones. Moreover, end-users should not be left alone to figure out the system on their own after UAT. More than likely, they will need continued assistance and motivation as they become acclimated to the new system.

To further accelerate adoption rates, executives and project champions must continue to
engage users, offer encouragement, and share CRM success stories. Doing so will
renew a sense of focus, urgency, and pride in leveraging the CRM system of choice
across the user base.

How does your company gain and secure employee buy-in to your CRM system?
What’s worked? What hasn’t?

Please share your experience and thoughts in the comments below.

Kevin Wessels
KEVIN WESSELS is the Founder and Managing Director of RevSherpas LLC, a boutique customer experience strategy consulting and coaching agency for small to mid-sized businesses. He has over 10 years of revenue growth acceleration consulting experience scaling global businesses via strategic CRM and CX transformations. A multi-published author, his specialties are building client-centric company cultures, improving sales and service rep productivity, differentiating the customer experience, increasing client retention, and revitalizing underperforming marketing and lead generation strategies.


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