This article is part of a larger series on CRM.
CRM adoption involves gaining buy-in from your team on using a customer relationship management (CRM) platform to manage sales activities across the organization. You can improve adoption rates by doing things like involving your team in every step of the implementation process, making a commitment to conduct regular use audits, and offering ongoing training. This helps team members create collaborative goals and fosters transparency while ensuring sales opportunities don’t fall through the cracks.
Here are six ways to increase CRM adoption to optimize your business’s CRM experience.
1. Establish Goals for CRM Use & Promote Key Benefits
Whether your business is investing in a CRM product for the first time or migrating to a new solution, determining what your business wants to get out of it should be part of the evaluation. It’s important to note that different CRMs may be industry-specific, or be designed to serve certain business sizes and functionalities, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. This is especially important when referring to the features offered by CRM software.
Did you know? 85% of surveyed employees want scheduling and calendar reminder capabilities within their CRM platform, so that feature should nearly always be considered in the CRM product shopping process.
During the planning phase, think about which business activities you’re trying to enhance. For instance, you might want assistance with marketing functions like social media management, email campaigns, or content creation. You might also be looking for sales solutions like lead generation, contact insight tools, or telephonic features within your CRM platform.
No matter your priorities, there is likely to be a CRM system on the market that can fulfill the needs of your business in terms of scope and budget.
2. Request Employee Feedback Early & Often
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a business owner or manager is not seeking the counsel of your employees on issues that directly impact them. In this case, it’s with regard to the very software that they will be using day-to-day.
You should generate employee involvement during the planning process. One way to build interest among employees is by asking each of them what they would like to get out of a CRM. No matter the role, each employee probably has problems they would like solved, and if those problems can be solved using a specific CRM product, it’s good to gain that insight early on.
Ultimately, the more on-board employees are with CRM adoption, the more likely they are to use the new CRM software, which yields higher CRM adoption rates.
3. Make CRM Adoption a Top-down Commitment
Around 34% of businesses without a CRM system believe that resistance to change is an obstacle to adopting a CRM, most of which is from top-level management. While it’s crucial to get insight from employees, it is the business owners and managers who make the decision and oversee that the decision is being implemented.
Pro tip: Employees often mirror excitement and commitment from management when undertaking new initiatives. In the scope of CRM adoption, if an employee perceives a manager is still using old procedures and systems for CRM despite implementing new CRM software, that employee may be naturally resistant to CRM adoption.
Top-down commitment needs to be both strongly apparent and long-lasting. Even after CRM implementation, managers need to continue to show commitment by holding employees accountable to using the CRM and offering resources to enhance the employees’ experience.
4. Ensure Your Data Is Imported & Entered Correctly
No one will use the CRM if the information in it isn’t accurate, so be sure that you import your data manually or use data transfer services many CRM software companies offer. Many companies offer CRM experts to help you do this, so be sure you ask if it’s a feature they offer when choosing a CRM. Furthermore, conduct ample training with your sales team to make sure everyone knows how to input new data correctly, so everyone is following the same process.
The process of either migrating to a new CRM or setting up one for the first time should be treated as a full-fledged project. One issue commonly encountered in CRM adoption is data transfer. Manual data entry is listed as the number one challenge to CRM adoption, so when setting up the project tasks, see which areas can be automated using mass import and export tools.
5. Offer Regular Training
During the CRM adoption process, 38% of businesses cite the lack of technical skills as a barrier. So, this formalized training must address technical items like setting up each user, using the basic CRM functions, integrating with third-party applications, and using some of the tools that were requested by employees during the planning phase.
Training should be segmented and tailored to your employees to ensure that they get the most out of it. If you need CRM training guidance, be sure to check out our article on training your team on your CRM.
In addition to training throughout the CRM adoption process, more training should be provided even after the full implementation of the new CRM. This allows employees to reinforce their knowledge of the CRM’s capabilities and gain an understanding of any new features released by the CRM software provider.
A formal CRM training program should have a schedule of when each of the various modules or tutorials are to be completed by the employees. For example, you may require each employee to complete two modules per week for the next 15 weeks. Many of these modules can be completed through the CRM product using tutorials offered by the provider.
6. Follow Up on CRM Adoption Progress
Continued reexamination of the CRM adoption process should be never-ending. Business owners, sales managers, and CRM project leaders need to continuously follow up with employees on their satisfaction with the CRM and to confirm that the CRM is being properly utilized.
Failure to conduct periodic follow-ups can create an environment where employees feel they can go back to old habits. Post-adoption evaluations should also include solutions to mitigate any problems that were discovered.
In addition to scheduling check-ins with your users, it is also possible to quantify your CRM’s adoption rate. This can be a helpful way to calculate if you are improving your team’s usage and making the most out of your investment. You can measure the CRM adoption rate, by calculating the percentage of users who are actually using the CRM compared to the total number of user accounts.
CRM Adoption Rate %= (# Active Users / # Purchased User Accounts) X 100
Revisit the rate at least every quarter to gauge how much you are getting out of your CRM and to plan training on using it correctly and efficiently.
Did you know? Estimates show that only 47% of businesses have an adoption rate of more than 90%, which overall is problematic.
A high degree of CRM adoption allows for better data organization, team collaboration, and a more streamlined sales operation, which ultimately leads to higher revenue growth. CRM adoption is a recurring issue for both large and small businesses. Its success requires an organizational culture that values managerial commitment, employee feedback, and consistent accountability.
Do you want to learn more about how CRMs are used in small businesses? Check out our article on CRM statistics that you never knew.