If you’re either about to implement a CRM system, or have recently implemented one, you’ll have lots to consider when it comes to making it work. For example, is the database structured in such a way that provides you with the business information you need? Are you taking full advantage of the features and functions to help your users become efficient at their work? It’s certainly important to ensure the nuts and bolts of a CRM system fits in with your business model and strategy, but without a team of motivated CRM “operators”, you’re unlikely to have a successful CRM project.
As a relatively new user of a CRM system, I have had to learn many things along the way, and I thought I’d share some of my experiences and insights into what encourages me, and users in general, to use our own CRM system, and why this has made our CRM solution a success for us.
Giving everyone a heads-up
As a CRM implementer, it’s important to make the users fully aware of the CRM implementation months before it goes live. This should be done via a clear message, which is the same for everyone – perhaps by having a meeting with snacks, or a post on an internal communication system which outlines all the key reasons for change, what’s going to change, how long it will take and how it will affect users. Not only will this give people a chance to accept these changes, but it will also give them time to prepare for it – for example, you may need to ask them to cleanse and amalgamate their data in preparation for the implementation.
For those who may be resistant to change, try and organise one-to-one meetings to further discuss the reasons for the CRM implementation. Listen to their worries and address those concerns before it poses as a real obstacle to user buy-in.
Education and training
Learning to use a new bit of software is never easy. What helps with the CRM training is understanding what is expected of the user and why the organisation is using the CRM system – what the individual user gains from it as well as collectively as a company. So education and training go hand in hand and it’s the very first step to take when encouraging the individual, as well as the team, to use a CRM system. Watch this video about CRM education.
CRM training can be done in a group-setting, but having one-to-one sessions to ensure the user fully adopts the system is even better – if that’s possible. But training shouldn’t be a one-off exercise… ensuring long-lasting CRM user buy-in means people must have easy access to user guides and training resources, such as videos and FAQs. Users should be encouraged to utilise the training provided and, if needed, request more without hesitation in order to ensure they are fully adopting the CRM system. There is always more to learn and with CRM, the more you learn, the more users will get out of it.
Moreover, within the business there will be CRM super users and peers who will love the CRM… let them talk. These people influence others and will solicit their ideas on the deployment as well as new updates, which will portray the value of the implementation.
Education and training is hugely important for user buy-in so that users can understand the key fundamentals of a CRM system. Without the users adopting the facilities and true benefits of CRM, the company will never truly succeed with their CRM journey.
So the company is implementing (or already has) a new CRM solution, but how does it really benefit the individual user and the way he/she works?
One of the huge advantages with using CRM is that it helps you manage your workload. For example, if you’re a sales person, using CRM enables you to see where your opportunities are and how well they are moving along the pipeline. You can also create reports within CRM that display where you’re losing opportunities along your pipeline. If you’re a project manager, CRM gives you the ability to easily track what activities any user has carried out throughout the project and easily schedule new activities to ensure the project runs smoothly. It also gives you the capability to log meeting notes and documents to any customer record so you never lose sight of a project’s progress.
When users understand what they personally gain from using the CRM system, it will increase user adoption rates. Watch this video which addresses the question, “What’s In It For Me?” when attaining CRM user buy-in.
Once everyone has had the CRM education and training, and understood what’s in it for them, the next major factor that influences CRM user buy-in is having accurate, relevant and timely data. This may seem obvious, but it’s amazing how quickly data quality can deteriorate if not kept in check. If users, over time, end up having to battle with poor quality data, which hinders their work day and general efficiency, they will be discouraged from using CRM altogether.
So get off to a solid start by having good data quality. A CRM administrator or a CRM super user can help spot the problems when things start getting messy. Ask why this is happening – it may be that certain data entry processes are tedious and need revising, or the data structure needs tightening up, or users just need a refresher training session.
Not sure how to keep a check on data integrity? Read this article “5 signs that your CRM data integrity is going down the drain“.
Having a 360 degree view of customers & prospects
Maintaining customer relations can be difficult, so having a CRM system with all the customer data in one place will make daily work life more efficient, as users don’t need spend time dipping into multiple sources to get information about customers & prospects. Notes, emails, documents, activities and personal data such as birthdays or other custom fields can all be found in one place, allowing the user to make personal gestures, know when to follow up, see previous and planned meetings, who has previously dealt with the customer and so on. This makes it quick and easy for a user to pick up exactly where they left off, giving the customer confidence that you value their time and situation.
Furthermore, using CRM means that any user is able to access that information so, when Sue is off to the Caribbean, Charlie is still able to access customer details so that he can pick up where Sue left off. This, in turn, will help everyone on the team build solid relationships and provide great customer service to your customers. This positive perpetual circle aides user buy-in as everyone can be in it together.
So, having all information stored centrally in your CRM system, which gives everyone a 360 degree view of all customer data, means users don’t have to search far and wide for different bits of data. This makes work life a whole lot more efficient and stress-free – thereby positively affecting CRM user buy-in!
I hope you’ve found this blog interesting. If you have any further thoughts about what encourages CRM user buy-in, leave your comments below!