4 Steps to Increasing User Adoption of Your CRM System

According to CIO magazine, one-third of CRM projects fail—they do not meet their objectives. Often the road to failure is marked by a lack of user adoption. You can choose the ideal software for your organization, but if intended users are not engaged, project expectations will not be met. Below are four best practices to guide user adoption of your CRM software.

Set expectations

Before you can meet expectations, you must set them. What is the goal of your CRM? How will it help your business grow? Think beyond CRM capabilities like progress reporting, forecasting, workflow triggers, and business intelligence. Describe in bigger picture terms by giving examples of how the software will improve the sales process with prospects and clients—better communication, shorter sales cycles, visibility into previous activity, etc. The CRM system should be oriented to the specifics of the business.

Conduct user experience testing to ensure software meets proposed needs. It is helpful to apply key stakeholder needs to CRM expectations, but do not choose more objectives than the system can effectively address. It is difficult to succeed if you are trying to meet 27 different goals, for example.

Connect expectations to both profitability and purpose by describing how CRM will help your company be its absolute best.

Create a plan

Your CRM project plan must clearly define success by breaking it down into bite-sized pieces. First, draft project expectations in priority order, in terms of profitability. Next, link the completion of each objective to specific tasks, on a scale of most important to least important. Metrics for each task must be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound).

Distribute resources and assign individuals to tasks. Delineate stages for the project and organize the work into short-term phases that contribute to the long-term plan. Successful CRM adoption is an iterative experience to ensure your plan is flexible enough to adapt to inevitable change.

A deliberate plan tells users the CRM project is a well-crafted strategic priority that requires their attention and adherence.

Identify early adopters

Counter potential resistance by getting users on your side. Identify individuals from each group of stakeholders affected by the CRM system and involve them in the project planning process, from software vetting to preparation for implementation. Analyze user interactions to gain insights about product usage, integration with workflow, and limitations of the product.

The role of a CRM ambassador is to evangelize the benefits of the system and ensure peers understand how it will meet business needs while making their jobs easier. These early adopters help to influence culture by infusing CRM expectations into company values, behaviors, and communication. Prepare ambassadors in various roles, regions, and teams throughout the business to ensure widespread adoption.

Early adopters are your CRM evangelists who help drive planning decisions and post-implementation use throughout the company.

Invest in a team

A well-trained project team is integral to any successful CRM adoption. This group’s mandate is to anticipate and resolve problems that arise during planning and implementation. It includes a mix of senior leaders; internal stakeholders in IT, marketing, sales, and customer service; and vendor personnel.

Selecting employees who should be involved in the deployment of CRM depends on a range of considerations from broad business objectives to specific technology needs. Ideally, your CRM vendor will bring a mix of project management expertise and a strong business mindset, along with software savvy.

The people guiding CRM deployment are more critical to its successful adoption than the technology itself.

The potential of your CRM is realized through strong user adoption. Resources invested in product planning and launch are wasted if stakeholders do not use the system to meet its intended expectations. For ultimate CRM adoption support, contact BroadPoint Inc.’s Microsoft gold-certified consulting team today.