About half of CRM implementations end in failure due to poor planning, set-up, training and a variety of other factors that result in only a small portion of employees actually using the CRM.
To ensure your company successfully adopts your CRM, you need to develop a comprehensive plan to minimize technical issues, upload data accurately, and gain buy-in from your employees.
At Prialto, we regularly help our clients adopt new CRMs and work with dozens of companies to keep their data fully up-to-date. Here are our top tips to successfully drive CRM adoption.
Create Data Standards in Advance
One of the most time-consuming CRM adoption mistakes companies make is uploading data into their CRM without first creating data standards. To gain maximum leverage from your CRM, your data needs to be accurate and consistent. Uploading it correctly the first time prevents you from having to go back and update tons of data.
Here is a starting list of standards you should implement:
- Required versus optional fields. Noting which fields are required prevents you from missing key data.
- Acronyms. Do you use them or not? If so, define which ones and make sure they are used in all cases.
- Triggers to create new objects. For example, does a lead switch to a customer when they sign an agreement or when their payment goes through? Creating rules for these kinds of scenarios ensures your data is consistent.
- Limit free-text fields. Allowing people to enter their own data creates lots of variations that are difficult to report on. Instead, give the majority of your fields a set of drop-down options.
- Create naming conventions for fields that have free text. These guidelines help people enter data consistently.
Depending on how you’re using you CRM, you’ll likely need several other data standardization rules to ensure all the information entered into your CRM is consistent.
Roll Out in Phases
Rolling out a new CRM to every employee at once is a recipe for chaos. CRM adoption is a learning process and it’s much easier to deal with issues and improve your system when you start with a small group of employees who are committing to using the tool than when everyone on your team is struggling to use it.
The number of rollout phases you should have depends on the complexity of your CRM and how many employees will be using it. If you have a small to mid-sized team and minimal customization, you likely only need two phases. The first with a couple of tech-savvy employees who are willing to help set up the CRM and work through its quirks. The second phase is with your remaining employees.
If your CRM is complex and/or if multiple teams within your company will be using the CRM, you may want to roll it out with a separate phase for each team plus an initial phase where a group of tech-savvy employees test it out and resolve any issues before training the rest of your employees.
Rolling out your CRM adoption in multiple phases will prevent widespread issues from occurring and ensure you have enough time to effectively train each team.
Provide Personalized and Actionable Training
The main reasons why employees resist new technology are that it’s time-consuming and they don’t see the benefits. Thus, to get your employees to adopt your CRM, you need to reduce its complexity and show them how it will make their lives easier.
The most effective way to do that is to provide personalized and actionable training that teaches employees how to do tasks that add value. Have your trainer record their screen as they walk through how to complete specific tasks so that your team can reference the videos whenever they’re struggling.
Rolling out your CRM by focusing on the most important features encourages adoption since it helps employees gain immediate leverage and not waste time learning how to use a myriad of features that aren’t relevant to them.
If employees want or need to learn how to do more complex tasks, they can do it after they’re comfortable using the CRM.
Enforce CRM Usage
According to ENSA, 79% of the opportunity-related data that sales reps collect is never entered into their CRMs. Sales reps fail to adopt their CRM for reasons including:
- It’s too time-consuming to enter data
- The platform is confusing so they never fully learn how to use it
- They don’t see the value in keeping their CRM updated
Your CRM is only valuable if all of the information is kept up-to-date so it’s critical to address these issues and enforce CRM usage during the adoption face. Providing user-centric training should resolve your team’s concerns. Once they understand how to use the CRM, hold them accountable for entering the data. Over time, it should become a normal part of their habits.
However, if your team still resists using the CRM after receiving personalized training, consider hiring a virtual sales assistant to add all of their information to your CRM. In addition to keeping your data up-to-date, they can also boost your team’s productivity by doing prospect research, managing follow-ups, filing expenses and doing other tedious tasks.
To learn more, check out our guide How to Effectively Leverage a Virtual Sales Assistant.
About the author: Emily formerly led Prialto's content production and distribution team with a special passion for helping people realize success. Her work and collaborations have appeared in Entrepreneur, Inc. and the Observer among others.