From implementation to employee engagement, successful CRM adoption is about changing user behaviours and not just about the technology itself.

Implementation is an achievement, but adoption of the CRM is a clear priority. What’s the difference? Implementation can be achieved by simply installing the application. A business only sees a return on its investment, and value in the application if the target audience uses it. A comprehensive user-adoption strategy is key to getting the expected return on investment for your CRM.

There are a number of challenges which can affect user adoption.

To maximise uptake, it’s critical to engage with CRM users and all key stakeholders in the business as early in the process as possible. The CRM should be designed to support the end-user in their job, helping them succeed, so it is important to consider their opinions and reduce any uncertainty building maximum support for the implementation.

Knowing the problems that users face with existing systems will also help you to communicate the benefits and eliminate such challenges. Involving employees so they are part of the CRM initiative will make them feel more accountable and in turn more likely to use and support it.

There is a saying:

“the level of support you get from your managers is directly proportionate to the level of support you get from the employees”

A key success driver is ensuring management set an example and are both supportive and full users of the CRM system.

Making users understand WHY the CRM system is introduced and not just HOW is also of extreme importance. When answering, “what’s in it for me” it is critical to show that it will make their working life easier, more efficient with better mobility and of course giving users a more accurate means to record and recover data. If the CRM is just an input device, users will not see value in it. Be sure the users can get valuable information out of the CRM too.

One thing that is often not prioritized highly enough to support the adoption effort is training. It’s often last on the list of things to do and should be seen as a key factor in the success of the CRM adoption and not just an afterthought following implementation.

CRM’s are often feature rich and so learning them in one session can be difficult

A well thought out learning programme that supports different learning modes is critical in driving adoption. Where possible combining face-to-face training with existing field team meetings can introduce the key concepts without seeming to impact field time. This can be followed by a series of frequent, shorter sessions from basic to more advanced features, building their skills. Ideally, learning is most beneficial when tailored to reflect the way the users work. A good training program can help ensure users reach optimum performance from the system.

Finally, gathering and understanding feedback from users is important. Most of the time issues with understanding arise in the field so it is essential to listen to all pros and cons of the system so that any additional training needs can be established and encourage better adoption and improved functionality. If you connect with your employees and understand their experiences with CRM it will help drive the success you know the CRM deserves.