build it and they will comeIf you are fan of the movie “Field of Dreams” you are familiar with the saying “build it and they will come”. Unfortunately, that is the same theory that many organizations deploy when it comes to implementing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and others.

CRM can be an amazing asset and the opportunities a well-implemented CRM provides to companies and individuals is endless.  It isn’t as easy as sending out an email letting your team know that you now have CRM and they are required to use it. You need buy-in from not only management, but the entire organization to ensure user adoption.

The excitement (and yes, you should be excited) should not be contained to the core team (or even individual) who is responsible for launching CRM. Don’t let all your hard work upfront be derailed by poor user adoption. Giving users a great experience from the start will keep them returning through that corn field to play ball – and getting their friends (co-workers) to join them.

In order to have ensure user adoption AFTER you go-live with CRM, here are 9 tips you should incorporate BEFORE you go-live with CRM.

The Goal: Eliminate EVERY Excuse.

1. Ensure that your hardware and software meets the requirements of CRM. Outdated equipment can result in errors and CRM running slow. Users typically won’t blame their computers – they will blame CRM.

2. Get your users who have a lot of influence in the organization on-board with CRM.

3. Create and document critical success factors. How will you measure success? 100% User Adoption, Increase Sales by 40%, Increase Win Rates by 50%? Set your goals, make them realistic and allow for growth once you achieve them.

4. Keep your (future) users informed.

  • Remind them why you are investing in CRM.
  • Let them know the benefits they can achieve (personally and professionally) with CRM.
  • Get feedback. That includes ALL questions and concerns. Get them on the table and out in the open early.
  • Create a short video to share company wide showcasing the what and why of CRM.
  • Explain the consequences for not adopting CRM.
  • Get end users engaged during the design phase. After all, they are the ones USING the solution.
  • Provide regular updates to the progress.

5. Make sure you have an “Owner” of CRM. This owner needs to ensure managers know their role with CRM and are holding their teams accountable.

6. Integrate with your back office or other key systems. “CRM is great, but I still have to go to 3 different programs to create my weekly reports”- sounds like an excuse not to use CRM to me.

7. Launch CRM in phases. Start simple to help your users master CRM, if you incorporate too much from the start, it can confuse and frustrate them. Ultimately affecting user adoption. CRM is a marathon. Start by charting your course for the first mile and build your road map to reach 26.2 (and beyond).

8. Test, test and then test again. You put in a lot of work, trained your users and now it is time to go-live. If functionality doesn’t work, those negative experiences will directly affect user adoption.

9. Finally, allow your team multiple ways to access CRM. Depending on their role, they may in the office, on the road, online, offline and more. Give them every opportunity to use CRM when and where they need it – from their desktop, laptop, phone, tablet, etc.

These 9 tips were featured in the first part of a recent “21+ Tips to Gaining User Adoption” session at Ledgeview’s CRM Conference in Milwaukee, WI presented by Steve Reybrock with Ledgeview Partners.

Subscribe to our blog as we rollout additional tips you can incorporate the DAY you go-live and AFTER you go-live to ensure the fans in the stands are cheering for C-R-M.

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