In a hyper-competitive market where even small companies can leverage e-commerce, social media, and the Internet to cater to a global audience, there has been a steady and sustained increase in the deployment of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for greater efficiency and increased profitability. Who would have thought that a local bakery in New Jersy like Carlo’s Bakery—from a hit show ‘Cake Boss’ on TLC—is now running their entire business with the help of Salesforce CRM. A sophisticated custom ordering app called “Cakeforce” enables Carlo’s employees to take an order from their iPad anytime anywhere. The bakery is able to handle 1000% sales growth expanding into new locations and a mail order market. This kind of story speaks volumes about the power of CRM.
Despite ample proof that CRM works, not all the businesses have successful stories to share like Carlo’s Bakery. The studies and surveys have indicated that CRM project failure rate ranges between 30%-70% during the past 15 years.
Evaluating and choosing the right CRM—the backbone of the business operations—is much harder than choosing any other types of software applications; it requires comprehensive understanding of the organization’s functioning, the flaws of current operations, and the potential benefits new platform will bring to the business. Deploying CRM does not automatically guarantee more sales and profits. A lot depends on effective utilization of the system and high rates of user adoption.
Deploying CRM does not automatically guarantee more sales and profits. A lot depends on effective utilization of the system and high rates of user adoption.
User Acceptance and Adoption Depend On… Users
So, how can the business ensure and accelerate user acceptance and adoption? Faster CRM acceptance and adoption can be achieved by focusing on the end users of every impacted department—from beginning to end.
Instead of a top-down approach, here are some useful strategies that encourage employees across verticals— Sales, Marketing, Accounting, Logistics, Delivery, and so on—to accept and adopt CRM.
Quantify Benefits of CRM
- The new platform will result in a 15% increase in sales.
- It will bring down lead generation time by 50%.
- The marketing team will see a 25% increase in conversion
Using measurable outcomes such as numbers, data, and ambitious targets are far more effective than using jargon and flowery language when it comes to selling the change to your employees.
Allow Phased Deployment & Rollout
Using CRM involves something more than simply punching in data and generating reports instantly. For CRM to be truly successful, a paradigm shift in an organizational culture—to become a true customer centric company—is required.
An excessively-ambitious deployment can cause drastic change, which may discourage employees from adopting the new platform.
Sell the platform to your employees by making them the part of the CRM deployment and taking their opinions and suggestions into account will go a long way. Integrating a complex CRM system into the organization requires time. Engaging and involving key users right from CRM assessment and all through different phases of the deployment will help the users gain first-hand experience of the system. This way the company can prevent a perfunctory adoption of CRM where end users are using the system merely to keep their bosses happy which is likely to result in a CRM project failure.
Create CRM Champions
Identify departments that stand to benefit most from the change and encourage them to become CRM Super Users and Champions. Identify one or two employees in each department who shall be entrusted with obtaining feedback from users and maintaining open communication about CRM acceptance within the organization.
Make It a Rewarding Experience
Policies like usage-related bonuses and financial rewards for tips and suggestions will convert the shift into a rewarding and positive experience for users.
Don’t Ignore Training
Merely having a committed and motivated workforce will not be enough to guarantee acceptance and adoption. It is equally important to train your employees to help them become comfortable with the new system. While “How to Give an Effective User Training” is a big topic that deserves its own article, there are some points worth mentioning about training here.
Effective training should encompass the following points:
- Set budget, goal, and timeframe of the training. The goal is to give your end users the skill level required to work quickly and accurately within the shortest possible time making a smooth transition from an old system to the new one without business disruption.
- Create a lesson plan. Combine lessons into self-contained, short modules that can be scaled up or down.
- Provide user-specific training program for each department. In some case, dividing the groups by technical skill levels may require.
- Use interactive and collaborative training with an emphasis on peer-based assessment for better engagement.
Equip the Users with Resourceful Help Content
The CRM help content helps promote long-term CRM user adoption. It is inevitable that companies must leverage the power of CRM’s content library to create an on-demand user guide to assist end users with their day-to-day operations with the click of a button from within the system.
Customer facing agents have to confront new issues and challenges every day. They need to find the right answer and respond to a customer’s query in an instant through different types of social media channels.
Salesforce CRM, for example, has a powerful, in-built content library and file system. Logical connections between data and documents, campaigns, or any assets can be established to enable the system to suggest appropriate content to a user based on the relevancy of the content to the fields of Salesforce objects.
It takes continuous effort to build and roll out a resourceful help content. The content must always be updated whenever there is a change of process, workflow, or user interface.