When it comes to CRM and user adoption, there seems to be a false sense of "if we build it, they will come." Not. True. Sure, customer facing employees want and almost always need tools to make the job of serving the customer easier. However, there are so many reasons why CRM doesn't end up either meeting those needs or just causing more work on these already overtaxed resources. So where are we going wrong and how do we begin to turn it around?
When an organization is first getting started with a CRM platform, the number one piece of advice we provide is to keep it simple. Sure your inside sales reps and customer service teams are technology pros, they can adapt to changes in technology and roll with the punches, because they're in the tools all day, every day. However, when it comes to your outside sales and marketing teams, that's a different story. Marketing may be tech savvy, but CRM isn't typically their primary tool. CRM is usually just a tool that integrates with their marketing automation platform, providing the latest, greatest customer information. Outside sales is whole other ball game. These folks tend to be much less tech savvy, and they're sometimes using two or three different devices depending upon the location they're in at the time. The role of this individual is to form the relationship, educate the client, close the deal and nurture after the sale to increase the lifetime value of the customer. It is not to learn how to use the latest, greatest technology with no less than a thousand bells and whistles on three different devices at the same time.
So, what can you do?
If you're a typical organization, you've got some sort of accounting platform, some sort of collaboration or document management tool, perhaps some ancillary apps for expense reporting, travel management, typical desktop tools like Office, instant messenger apps, etc. and now you're piling CRM on top of all of that. We've worked with some clients who have reported up to 50, yes 50, different apps or systems that their employees are expected to use at some point during their work week. Does this sound like you? If so, how many of these systems share common information like customer name, address, contact information, phone numbers, email addresses, product information, orders, invoices, the list goes on…? Are you still asking your employees to log this information into multiple systems, creating duplicate data entry? Guilty!
So, what can you do?
Did your leadership team sign off on the business case to implement CRM and then just ask for updates on status throughout the implementation? Where are they now? Still asking for the same data that's getting entered into CRM to be supplied to them via Excel spreadsheets? You aren't alone. If management and leadership don’t view the data in CRM as a critical source of knowledge to help run the business, then employees won’t see the point in entering data into it. And if they're asking for the data but want it in Excel, they're just creating one more silo for employees to have manage.
So, what can you do? (This is a tough one, we know!)
Many organizations get stuck in the rut of "this is how we've always done it", or "I'm not sure who owns that", or they're growing at such a rapid pace that the people and processes can't keep up with the demands of the customer, so they're making up policy and procedure on the fly and many times forgetting to document it. When this happens, employees are living in reactionary mode, rarely getting the opportunity to think about better ways to do things, afraid to hold one another accountable for getting things done, and almost never taking the time to share the fleeting ideas they may have, because no one has time to implement them anyway. But, if the business culture doesn’t require healthy accountability and continuous improvement, then employees will not only view CRM as extra work – but as a threat. Because now they're expected to use this new tool and continue to get the rest of their job done, and it is easy for their leaders to see if they aren't.
One of the biggest obstacles in initial CRM adoption is getting past the "CRM is big brother" mentality and getting to the heart of what's in it for the user. Each and every customer facing role has something to gain by using the tool. Getting them to embrace this and helping them to realize the value is critical to getting it off the ground successfully. If they can't envision it, they may get on board for a little bit but their interest will eventually wane, leaving you with an overpriced rolodex.
Remember that big brother reference? This is where employees could really think it's true. But it's really not, it's simply measuring the WIIFM's. Believe it or not, each and every person in the organization should have a number. They should have a very clear understanding how they contribute to the success or failure of the company. And that number should be something they have direct influence over. And ultimately, that number should be used to measure and improve their performance over time. Since they are customer facing employees and CRM should be their primary tool, if CRM isn’t used to measure, and improve employee performance, then it gives employees one more reason to question why they're using it.
You've shared all the reasons why it's great for the organization, you've integrated it with the necessary systems, you've shared the WIIFM's for each role at least a hundred times, you've given each person a leading metric and they still aren't using CRM. Sometimes, it's an incredibly tough crowd and you need to not just recommend using CRM, you need to require it as a part of the job.
It's a lot. We know. We're here to help. If you've got some tried and true methods that have worked well for your organization, please share them with us. If you're struggling and would like a coach to help you through the process, contact us, we're happy to get engaged in order to get you on the path to increased adoption. It's never too late to start!
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