User Adoption Frustrations With CRM


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If you have a sales person who loves your CRM system, is excellent at updating deals, and is diligent at entering notes, I can bet one thing and win 99% of the time: He or she is not your top sales person. How am I so certain? Most CRM systems are built with the end in mind (collecting data) on the means (enabling the sales person).

Let me be clear. Enabling sales does not mean collecting data; enabling sales means providing data in the easiest method possible.

While conducting Accelerating CRM Workshops, (, so many customers have wanted “culture change” for their CRM system. They basically wanted to pay me to come in and beat CRM into their sales people with a baseball bat, because they were not clicking this or entering that.

The question I ask everyone is simple, “what is the primary reason you hired your sales people?” If the primary reason is data gathering, great; beat them with a club until they do it. If the primary reason is sales, stop putting up road blocks to their success by sucking more time out of their day performing seemingly meaningless (to them) data-entry tasks.

Am I saying sales people shouldn’t use CRM? To the contrary; they should live in CRM! It should be their only tool. All data about their leads, prospects, and customers should be in CRM. However; they should not be the primary contributor to the data, and in the areas where they need to contribute, CRM should be designed with their process in mind, and with as few clicks to make it happen as possible.

Understanding what motivates a sales person, and understanding why you hired them in the first place will help you to set realistic expectations from your CRM users; ultimately delivering full user adoption.

It’s quite simple: Profit derives from user enablement, not data entry.

Luke Russell
Luke Russell has been CRM consultant since 1998. He has personally consulted with hundreds of organizations, and has a strong success record for CRM implementation and results. During this time, he has worked with customers to achieve such lofty goals as higher quote win ratios, larger average order size, more effective follow-up, reduced cost of administration, increased customer retention, and expanded cross-sales into existing customers; to name a few. Luke is the founder of Resolv, Inc.


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