increase CRM adoptionDid you know that despite market success, CRM initiatives suffer from failure rates of nearly 63 percent? There are many reasons why initiatives fail when it comes to employees and CRM adoption.

For starters, perhaps the system you implemented lacks ideal features for supporting your sales department’s workflow. Alternatively, maybe the technology has too many bells and whistles, which can often lead to frustrated, overwhelmed team members. Or, perhaps it doesn’t easily integrate with the software you already use every day.

A CRM can also risk low adoption rates if there are no adequate training measures in place, or if the initiative does not receive support from your organization’s key leaders.

With these aspects mind, by taking a proactive approach and offering engaging, hands-on training – where you and your staff can learn together – you can encourage everyone to at least give the new technology a try.

The Right Type of CRM Training Can Boost Adoption Rates

CRM adoption is not about trying to force your sales team to use new software; instead, it’s about proving to them the value that CRM can add to their daily processes and properly equipping them with the steps they need to take to utilize it successfully.
Keep in mind, for a typical sales rep, the concept of learning a new system may be daunting. While your company’s legacy system may have had its drawbacks and quirks, your team knew how to operate it.

So part of your new CRM training process should involve carefully walking team members through the new system, and showing them how it is more intuitive, its unique advantages, and how to navigate through its features.
Beyond initial training, it is also essential to make sure that your employees have access to ongoing support, updates, and best practices.
Here are some areas to consider if you are trying to boost CRM adoption within your organization

1. At first, train team members only on what they need to know.

The most important first step is to make sure you train your employees on how to get their tasks done in the new system. They will need to see how using the CRM in training mirrors the way they will use it following the training. Do not overwhelm users with too much information all at once. Many companies roll-out CRM technology in stages, over the course of several weeks or months.

2. Allow plenty of time to train everyone.

Many companies today revel in a fast-paced sales atmosphere, so adequate training time is not always encouraged as it can take away from time the team could be out in the field cultivating new leads. However, if you want to reap the rewards of your CRM investment, each of your team members must go through a sufficient amount of training.

3. Make it fun (yes, you read that correctly).

Most sales team members enjoy a good game. Make rewards and recognition part of the CRM training process to better captivate your users. This might be the perfect time to introduce an employee engagement software that helps your team track training progress with some friendly competition.

Some studies have shown that when training games appeal to employees they drive higher engagement and have better learning outcomes. Offer incentives and show employees that you value their efforts to learn your new CRM with rewards, like gift cards or other office-related perks. And when teams hit adoption milestones, always recognize their efforts with awards.

4. Use CRM training to establish best practices.

Use your new CRM roll out to encourage best practices from day one, especially when it comes to data entry. Your strategy can be as simple as making sure team members always enter data into the system in the same format or as complex as teaching each team member how to build their own automated workflow.

5. It’s an ongoing process.

CRM training should be an ongoing process. It is crucial to maintain the value of your investment by offering refresher training sessions throughout the year. During these sessions, remind team members about the importance of the features they are already familiar with, and point out new areas that can enhance performance moving forward.

6. Relate the training to everyday work.

Finally, keep in mind that during the training process, your primary focus should be on demonstrating how your new CRM solution can work with everything from prospecting to customer relationship nurturing. In addition to walking through the various CRM functions, provide real-life, relatable examples that can boost interest, and make training more meaningful and valuable.

The CRM Adoption Process: Make Your Experience Pain-Free

As you probably already know, there are countless benefits to using a CRM system: your sales team members can work smarter, generate more leads, follow up more effectively, simplify order and invoicing processes, offer enhanced customer service and help grow your business.
Ultimately, your staff needs to understand the importance of your new CRM technology with regards to the big picture and how it benefits them individually. Closing more sales, meeting performance goals and earning higher commissions can all be powerful motivators.

The key to increasing user adoption is to train your team in fun, engaging ways.

Here’s one more way to look at it: when was the last time you got a new piece of technology? Were you excited to start using it? Perhaps it was a tablet, a smartphone, a laptop or even a new TV. Training, or figuring out how to use your new device, likely wasn’t a burden in this scenario. In fact, you were probably so excited to learn about the new features that exploring it was probably a fun challenge – and not something you dreaded.

Like anything else in life, if your sales team members understand how CRM can make their work lives better, they will be more likely to learn it and use it moving forward.


Lisa C. Dunn is a writer for TechnologyAdvice. For over 20 years, she has worked with numerous PR and digital marketing agencies, and her work has been featured in well-known publications including Forbes, VentureBeat, Mashable, Huffington Post, Wired, B2C, USA Today, among others.