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15 actions to achieve better CRM user engagement and adoption

Focus on user engagement and adoption for long-term continued success with CRM.

The ability to change in business today is an inevitable reality. End-user adoption is key to a successful CRM initiative. Over the years we have found several helpful hints for promoting CRM as a business culture and actions to achieve better user adoption.

Typically, employees feel uncomfortable with the idea of having to change their routines and adjust to an unfamiliar application such as CRM. Consider how to minimize the risks to end-users.




  1. Build a case for change- answer the "What's in it for me" questionThink about the impact of CRM strategy on people - the benefits and consequences of changing or not changing. Demonstrate clearly to those involved that the new system will benefit them.  Spend some time explaining how CRM will benefit them directly and not just the company as a whole.  Consider the many positive benefits in building strong people relationships.Relationships-MindMap-CRM

  2. Have the various stakeholders involved in the design and pilot phase. Early participation with feedback is key to long term adoption. Cover how CRM helps in their day-in-life activities. What steps can be eliminated or reduced? Test options during the pilot and make needed adjustments.

  3. Communicate project progress.  Hold regular meetings across all departments to communicate how it is going.  How can interactions among various departmental personnel be improved and important data captured and shared?

  4. Keep employees in the loop by providing information and clarity about what is happening. Pilot team members should share in the progress.

  5. Just-what-I-wanted-CRMEncourage employees to speak up about changes and listen to what they have to say.  For example, discover what sales processes they are already doing in Microsoft Outlook and then see what can be leveraged into the CRM application. Schedule a regular feedback process.

  6. Give employees time to make the transition and adjust to the new approach. Find out specific struggles some users are having. CRM is a journey and some people adapt faster than others.

  7. Support the managers who are leading the CRM march toward greater success. Identify what activity roll up reporting can be accomplished to eliminate the need for sales call reports. Implement dashboards that provide snapshots of their department's key performance indicators. 

  8. Give them one piece of the pie at a time.  Think baby steps. Understand that effective implementation of CRM is a cultural process: it will take time for everyone to adjust to new ways of doing business. Start with entering sales contact key information, performing lookups and navigating.  Later move into sales opportunity management and business analytics.

  9. Inform and involve customers about the company's vision for a customer-centric organization. As you make changes get their feedback.  We had one client make valuable quote form changes and lead follow up progress changes which came from early feedback from helpful customers.

  10. Communicate that growth of the company is enhanced when users share information that they gather about customers: their concerns, needs and wants.  It's about "building" a customer relationship and sharing profile characteristics.

  11. Provide useful educational resources that are focused on the desired results for each audience. Have these easily accessible. Web-based how-to's in an audio-video format work well and can become quick refreshers.

  12. Conduct frequent audits, review progress, make adjustments - this is a discovery learning process.  Continually assess results weighted against the expectations. Invite the sales team to review weekly or monthly reports and share feedback. Verify data quality and consistency - we all need to have good information.

  13. Reward the adopters, the power users, those who help their associates, so the whole ship rises to new levels.  Make part of their pay dependent on activities within the CRM solution. We have had several clients replace ineffective salespeople with those that became engaged with use of CRM shared knowledge - and sales increased! Get the right people on the bus and go in the right direction.

  14. Celebrate the successes, large and small.  Talk about the improved happy customer experiences, the smarter on-time customer information, being more professional and so forth.

  15. Use subject matter experts as effectively as possible. Enlist the support of a professional CRM systems architect andCRM-Professional implementer - ideally someone with experience in various business roles: owner/manager/employee in sales, marketing, and customer service.  



Neglecting to change practices and habits that will provide tangible rewards and intangible benefits is a dangerous cow-path that businesses all too often fall into. Yes, innovation can sometimes take a back seat to more pressing issues.

Implementing a quality CRM strategic solution that is practically useful is one of the simplest ways to induce a dynamic change in an organization.

Many times it is worth it to consider an upgrade and the best ways to sucessfully select and implement a well-used CRM.  Start with downloading this ebook:

Download eBook How to Successfully Select and Implement a CRM

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What actions have you found helpful to achieve better CRM user adoption?


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