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Top tips to ensure CRM adoption

Around one-third of all customer relationship management (CRM) projects fail, according to Gartner.

A primary cause of failure is lack of use: people choose to work around their CRM, continuing to manage their contact relationships via email and retaining customer information on spreadsheets, rather than change their work habits and leverage the power at their fingertips.  

They are even less inclined to adopt a CRM system that adds new tasks to their workload. According to Sales Hacker, the average employee spends four hours per week entering data into their CRM system.

Misusing the CRM

CRM systems are too often used for inspection — to report on progress, improve accuracy of forecasts, provide visibility, predict project delivery dates, and provide a range of other business intelligence — rather than creating improvement in the sales process. Front-line sales professionals and managers rarely find the majority of these capabilities useful in winning more business for the company.

If you want your CRM system to increase revenue — which it will only if it enables your sales organization to increase sales — we recommend doing the following:

Show the value

Sales professionals are driven by their desire to help others and make good deals happen. If you make it clear how the CRM does both — by cutting down on work, not creating more — your team will get on board.

Present your CRM as a tool to increase revenue

Broadcast this message loud and clear from the top down. Your sales team needs to understand that they drive the execution of your strategy every time they interact with a client or prospect. The CRM is a tool to help them sell more, access support resources during sales cycles, and manage their territory — all things that they want.

Involve your team in CRM selection

Get your team’s input when it comes to choosing a CRM for your company’s needs. Certain CRM platforms may have extra features that add complexity and cost to something that should be seamless and simple to use. It’s all about matching the specific requirements of your organization to the right tool. If your team knows you’ve taken into account their feedback and needs during the selection process, adoption won’t be a big hurdle.

Incentivize adoption

Tying incentives and rewards to the use of your CRM system is a great way to ensure adoption and engagement. Sales teams can earn points for signing up and for using the software correctly. You can also reward them for recommending other colleagues to adopt. Rewarding positive behavior is essential.

Commit to training

Once you start seeing your CRM investment as central to business growth, you’ll realize that it’s worth investing time and energy in training your sales team to use it — and use it correctly. Involve key employees in the implementation and training process. And don’t rush through it.

Some creative ideas to consider:

  • Employ incentives and gamification around adoption.
  • Regularly communicate how the system should be used.
  • Run the traps-check on a continual basis to make sure your team is using the system.
  • Publicly acknowledge those leading the charge through leaderboards.

While adoption is a difficult stage in the CRM utilization maturation process, it’s a necessary one to go through. For your best chance at CRM adoption success, communicate closely with your end users and give them helpful tools they actually want to use.