9 Tips to Maximize CRM User Adoption

By Yacov Wrocherinsky, CEO and Founder of Orion Global Solutions LLC

There are many cloud transformation solutions to choose from, and based on my experience, if you’re going to choose a product, it should be a cloud customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Cloud CRM platforms, with Salesforce and Microsoft leading the charge, have the potential to transform your business and significantly increase your organization’s enterprise value — but only if selected and implemented correctly.

You are likely familiar with the often-cited statistic that 70 percent of CRM initiatives fail to achieve their goals.To make sure your organization is in the 30 percent that succeeds and that your investment pays off, it is critical to have an experienced, trusted advisor on your team to guide you through the CRM implementation process.

Having completed more than a thousand CRM and Salesforce implementations over the past 30 years, I know that, in addition to the selection of the right platform for your business, user adoption is critical to ensure success. While there are many ways to optimize CRM user adoption and maximize your investment, below are some tips for you to keep in mind.

Lead by example

The CRM initiatives that produce the highest return have the organization’s full commitment, starting from the top down. Leaders should stand behind the initiative and express their commitment to standardizing to the selected platform. You must lead by example, making a consistent effort to use the platform to manage different aspects of the business, and clearly communicate expectations for platform usage organization-wide.

Develop, convey user benefits

People tend to resist change and what can seem like more work if they don’t see a clear benefit for them. Work closely with all key stakeholders in developing a customized CRM platform to address the needs of everyone who will use it. Make sure to communicate how leveraging the platform will save users time and frustration, make them more efficient and effective and make it easier for them to make more money and achieve their goals.

Include hands-on training

Even with the most intuitive of interfaces, a CRM platform is only as good as the people using it. Hire an experienced trainer to help you create a custom, hands-on educational program to ensure that employees are comfortable and have any questions answered before they’re expected to begin using the tool.

Tie adoption to compensation

Establish the CRM platform as your organization’s definitive source of data, and make it clear that commissions and bonuses will be paid based solely on the information in the system.

Make it intuitive and familiar

Starting with a flexible, highly customizable platform, make sure that the user interface is designed to be simple to use, requiring the minimal number of clicks every step of the way, no matter how complex your business model. In addition, work closely with your implementation partner to explain your organization’s specific business model and ensure that your specific language and processes map to the platform in a way that reflects the way users work.

Ensure data is clean

Users will quickly lose patience and trust in the platform if they encounter duplicate records or inaccurate information. Make sure all users are clear on what type of information to enter and where and how to record it.

Market it internally

Just as you market your products or services to prospects and customers, name your CRM initiative and market it to employees to raise awareness and build excitement. Celebrate success when deals are won.

Have a designated CRM administrator

While all users must be trained to use the platform for their particular purposes, someone needs to be dedicated to CRM maintenance, updates and ongoing training and support. If you do not have the budget to hire a full-time CRM administrator, you can outsource administrative duties to qualified experts, typically on a retainer basis.

Empower your employees

Make sure employees organization-wide have access to reports and dashboards that give them insight into the impact that their roles have, and make sure they are trained on running their own reports, too.

A cloud CRM platform has the power to impact your business exponentially, but can have a negative impact if the wrong platform is chosen or user adoption is not a top priority. Have user adoption in mind when selecting a CRM platform, make sure the initiative has the organization’s full commitment, and protect and maximize your investment by entrusting your implementation to a consultant who makes user adoption a main priority.

YPO member Yacov Wrocherinsky, a 30-year CRM veteran, is the CEO and Founder of Orion Global Solutions LLC, an advisory company and Salesforce Silver Consulting Partner based in New York City, New York, USA. Prior to founding Orion, Wrocherinsky founded Infinity Info Systems in 1987, a leader in ACT!, Sage Saleslogix CRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and business intelligence software. Under his leadership, Infinity completed 3,500 successful CRM implementations — including transitions to Salesforce — more than 30 global projects, and trained 130,000 people. After participating in YPO’s U.S. Navy Seal Leadership Under Fire program, Wrocherinsky went on to chair the program for more than five years and continues to incorporate Navy SEAL principles into his business.

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