7 Ways to Optimize your CRM through Adoption

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Finding and choosing the right CRM for your company can seem like the main hurdle. But once you've chosen a CRM, you face the even more difficult task of encouraging adoption.

Businesses know that CRMs can provide far-reaching benefits. Well-integrated CRM systems see an average of 41 percent more sales for each employee using the CRM. Companies also saw a 10 percent increase in time spent on sales activities when their CRM adoption rates were 90 percent or higher. CRMs save companies time and increase the bottom line. But what both research studies have in common is adoption.

You aren't using your CRM to its fullest capacity until you convince most, if not all of your employees to opt in. Here are seven tips to get started:

1. Change the Way You Make Decisions

Stop! Before you even commit to CRM application, there's one important step that will put you far ahead of most companies. That's including your end users in decision-making. Although you may want the whole company to use a CRM, who are your main end users, or the employees who will use a CRM the most? The answer is probably your sales department. So include sales reps or at least a sales head when choosing your software.

2. Train, Train, Train

No matter how user-friendly or intuitive a CRM may claim to be, you need to dedicate time to train employees in this new technology. According to Forrester Research, slow user adoption accounts for 49 percent of CRM challenges. Don't make it any harder for employees to opt in.

In your training, go beyond simple "how-to" guidelines and help employees understand how the CRM fits in their sales process. It's a also a good idea to cover data entry expectations.

3. Think Simple and Streamlined

No employee wants to add more data entry to their responsibilities. But it's an inevitable part of using a CRM. Entering data into an unfamiliar system can feel like even more of a chore. Strive to streamline the data entry process and set clear standards for data entry. Keeping the process clean now will reduce information clutter in the future and allow sales reps to easily access the information they need.

4. Improve Accessibility

Make it easy for your employees to adopt your CRM with greater accessibility. Today CRMs are mobile, available on every device, and can even be integrated into your regular workflow. In addition to allowing user access on multiple devices, many CRMs can be integrated into a mail client, like Outlook or Gmail. This allows your sales reps to access your CRM without even leaving their inbox. Since inbox maintenance is an essential part of any modern business professional's workday, integrating your CRM into an email sidebar highly increases adoption.

5. Designate a CRM Ambassador

Adopting a CRM can feel daunting, but appointing one person to encourage use and field questions reduces the discomfort employees may feel. Instead of contacting HR, tech support, or another large corporate structure, your team can ask your go-to CRM person. This ambassador should monitor the system to ensure accuracy in the beginning and address any widespread issues.

6. Lead by Example

If you expect the entire company to start using a new CRM, management should take the lead. Begin adoption at the highest levels of the company. The same Forrester Research survey found that among 133 organizations, 35 percent of CRM challenges were attributed to inadequate attention from management and trainings.

7. Provide a Carrot

In the early transition stages, consider rewarding early adopters. Employees who enter CRM data consistently or in high numbers can receive recognition. You can even turn CRM adoption into a contest, with small incentives such as a gift card, free lunch, or company apparel.

Although CRM adoption is a challenge, it's well worth the effort. Remain consistent over time to increase adoption rates and wind up with numbers to prove it. For additional information on how to encourage CRM use at your company, contact our team today!