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CRM adoption: How to set up your organization for success

Jan 28, 2022

It’s easy for large tech projects to go off the rails. The return on investment for the CRM tool you choose depends tremendously on the implementation strategy you develop and its acceptance by your team.

Your organization’s approach to change management is critical for CRM adoption. How well are your team’s users prepared for the changes, and how invested are they in the outcome?

Your goal is always to transform targeted users into proficient users, who become energetic advocates of the platform. Here’s a roadmap with key considerations for more effective CRM implementation.

1. Communicate throughout the adoption process

You need buy-in from your team. That may seem obvious, but without an action plan to get there, failure is all but inevitable. Be sure you deploy the time and resources needed to get end-users familiar and comfortable with the planned changes by communicating early and often. This should start with an endorsement by the CEO, followed by secondary levels of management. Your users must be able to see how their efforts align with the organization’s goals.

2. Understand that your CRM launch is only the start of its adoption

Allow ample time to onboard your team with the CRM, as much as four weeks. But equally important is planning for contingencies when things go wrong, whether the issues are technical or a lack of participation. Adoption is a discipline you’re always engaged in. Think of it as working through stages of change.

3. Commit to ongoing support

Within organizations, most people are averse to change, and they move through stages at different paces. When changing processes or platforms, it’s critical to understand where individuals are getting stuck — and meet them where they are at. How a full team moves through change depends a lot on its leader and their continuing engagement with individuals and the entire team.

Organizational change management also requires developing resources that users can tap into at any point with questions. Be sure user guides and training videos for the CRM are available and easily accessible to all. Ensure that a helpdesk ticketing system is available.

4. Monitor acceptance levels

Set up an adoption committee with people from all levels and business units of the organization. This committee should look at how people are dealing with all the stages of change. Be sure to include people from the data team who can set up surveys to assess acceptance.

Then, you can set up dashboards and create reports that are helpful for analyzing user-generated data. You can see how far individuals and teams have gotten with their training activities. The results should be viewable to everyone in the organization for transparency and to encourage a collective commitment to success. 

5. Develop the right messaging

Based on information in the dashboard, you can tailor customized messages to people to help them move the ball forward. Be clear that the CRM is the system of record and is being used to evaluate team members’ productivity and results. Share success stories with the entire team and develop a reward system based on successful usage. People need to understand that the ROI from the tool depends on all people changing together. Develop messaging about the performance rewards available to them for being an active user. Remember that what they gain as individuals is even more important to them than what’s in it for the client or the organization they work for.

6. Solicit feedback

Share tips and tricks to improve efficiency with CRM usage. Encourage feedback and suggestions for improving the CRM based on user experience. Find out what’s working well and what isn’t.

A big mistake is listening to what nonusers say. The ones who are resistant to it are the worst prognosticators of what’s wrong with a CRM.

7. Keep adoption levels high

Ongoing acceptance isn’t guaranteed. As new versions and functions are added to the CRM, keep up with training. While screening job applicants for proficiency in CRM use is important, adequate training on the tool for new hires is central in the onboarding process.

Keep adding incentives that aim for proficiency among all team members. Success isn’t guaranteed by purchasing a tool for your organization; it depends on the continuous process of adoption management. The adoption committee should be a perpetual committee.

How Wipfli can help

When you’re contemplating a major process or technological change in your organization, Wipfli consultants can help you develop and implement an adoption management plan for success. Learn more about Wipfli’s change management services.

It’s easy for large tech projects to go off the rails. And, just as easy to ensure project success. The return on investment for the CRM tool you choose depends tremendously on the implementation strategy you develop and its acceptance by your team.

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Sara Circosta
Manager, Business Development
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