The biggest barrier to a successful CRM system isn’t technical. It’s getting the users to adopt it.
The success and failure of your CRM system hinges on simply getting the users to use the system. This is exclusively difficult because your users can continue to do their basic jobs without CRM by relying on spreadsheets, hand-written notes, or just trying to keep everything in memory.
Experience has shown that a lot of users will want to do just that. Sure, in theory CRM makes them more efficient, but it’s new and until the users learn the new system it’s easier to keep doing things the way they always have.
The result is that without user buy-in your expensive new CRM system is the software equivalent of a door stop.
User adoption is a critical problem for CRM systems, then. You should have a plan from the beginning to get users to use your system.
The first step is to make the system as easy to use as possible. Design the screens and workflow to smoothly move the user through the transaction as easily as possible. This includes not burdening them with a lot of extraneous information, not making them constantly re-enter the same data and making the screens as simple and attractive as possible.
However given that the system design is right, you still have to convince the users. That involves both formal and informal education.
In essence you have to sell CRM to your employees. Think of it as an ongoing internal sales campaign to convince employees and keep them convinced of the benefits of CRM.
This starts with the decision to implement CRM. You need to explain what you’re going to be doing and the benefits it will bring to your staff. This should be done from the employees’ point of view, not management. Sure, the CRM system will let you generate better reports for management, but that’s not a benefit to the people in the trenches.
The exception is if the system makes it easier to generate existing reports. Focus on how CRM will help the users do their jobs easier and produce more sales for the users. Those are the things that they care about.
The best sales job in the world won’t make up for lack of knowledge of how to get the most out of the CRM system. You need to train early and often and supply copious amounts of supplemental information, like help files and cheat sheets.
Modern CRM systems are designed to be easy to use, but that doesn’t mean they are totally intuitive. You have to train people on how to use the system. This should include formal classes and informal coaching sessions.
The purpose of CRM training isn’t just to show the system to the users, it’s to get them thoroughly familiar with the system what educators call mastery level. That takes more work and more training and usually follow-up coaching as well.
The training doesn’t stop with formal sessions. You’ll need to provide plenty of easy-to-use supplemental instructions (not documentation) explaining how to do various tasks at a glance.
It also helps to have some of the faster students act as resources for the people who don’t catch on as quickly.
Rewarding people for using the system helps as well. This can take the form of financial incentives or small prizes for the best adopters. Of course positive feedback is always a good reward.
Finally there may be some people who are resistant to using the system for whatever reason. Try to work with those people and try to discover the reasons for their reluctance and overcome it.