Nearly 15% of companies said that investing in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution is their top sales priority this year. By implementing a CRM solution, companies are able to modernize their sales processes and improve customer experience. A CRM solution arms salespeople with capabilities such as mobility, automation, and analytics that allow them to become nimbler, helping them accelerate their sales cycle and get more control over opportunities.
But just like any other digital technology, your CRM software is bound for total abandonment if there is a lack of CRM adoption and your sales team does not integrate it into their day-to-day work.
User Adoption — Or Lack of It — Affects CRM Success
Bill Band, author and noted CRM thought leader as well as a former VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research, suggests that companies pay particular attention to user adoption metrics (along with business performance and customer perception metrics) when evaluating CRM implementation success.
Why focus on user adoption? User adoption (or lack of it) determines CRM implementation success. According to Redspire, almost 50% of CRM projects fail due to slow user adoption and almost 70% of project managers expect that their staff will be cynical about using a CRM solution.
In most cases, businesses kick off CRM implementation without first setting clear metrics to gauge user adoption and a clear strategy to sustain it. Their focus is more on how the CRM solution will bring about change to their organization rather than how business users will completely adopt the new technology. This is why they fail to notice early — and address proactively — the alarming signs of CRM underutilization.
It can be a challenge to measure CRM adoption because your sales team might be using the software but are not really maximizing its use. There are various metrics that you can track on a short term and longer term basis to see whether your CRM is adequately utilized or not. Some of those are mentioned below:
However, barring few, most of these metrics might not be always easy to measure and it may become a project of its own to track these. Below, we have shared some signs that are easily observable in a company that is struggling to fully leverage its CRM:
- Your team is still stuck with their old methods
- Incomplete, inaccurate data
- Infrequent log-ins and slow progress
- Low or no productivity improvement
- The skeptics remain skeptical
- The “cheerleaders” don’t cheer anymore
- Users don’t talk –– or talk less –– about it
- They are not reaching out
Stuck with Old Methods
CRM implementation should result in more consolidated communication, less use of paper and spreadsheets, and accelerated and automated sales activities. Failure to achieve these results can be an indication that your team is facing challenges in using your CRM software at the optimum level.
Are they still using spreadsheets to input and store data? Are they still communicating outside the CRM solution? Do they still corroborate data points or obtain information outside the software?
Try to understand why your salespeople prefer their old methods over the CRM software. Most of the time it is not simply resistance to change. It can be due to the complex, hard-to-navigate CRM interface and lack of contextual, on-the-go training and support that are very critical to using a new CRM.
Incomplete, Inaccurate Data
It is critical for every salesperson to input, store, and update sales and customer data completely and accurately to ensure data quality and integrity. There are many statistics that corroborate how poor data quality can become a huge overhead. According to Gartner, poor data quality costs businesses an average of $15 million per year and this might worsen as information environments become increasingly complex.
When harnessed effectively, CRM helps salespeople to easily manage and manipulate data on a single platform and hence plan their sales activities better. So if you notice that CRM data is incomplete and/or inaccurate, your team is not using the CRM effectively.
Why do salespeople begrudgingly input data into the CRM software? Experts say that perhaps users think that the CRM solution is a way of controlling them, digital evidence that can be used against them for failing to reach their goals or quotas. But it can also be due to the complex interface and lack of training on how to easily input data directly into the CRM software so that it won’t be necessary to lift and shift information from different sources.
Infrequent Log-Ins and Slow Progress
Who is and (isn’t) logging into the CRM solution is a basic indicator of CRM adoption. The log-in rates can be high during the initial go-live days, and then eventually plateau and plummet. This is why it’s important to constantly monitor and measure them and understand the trend.
Most CRM systems, including Salesforce provide dashboards to track user details such as: Who and how many users are regularly logging into the CRM software per day? Are the daily or weekly log-in rates low? How long or short are the average session times? Users may log in just for the sake of logging in but spend less time using the software. According to Forbes, sales representatives are usually spending just 17.9% of their time on CRM.
They may also log into the software but make no significant activity on it. To evaluate whether or not sales-reps are maximizing their use of the software, evaluate their CRM activities. For example, do they regularly check their CRM tools for new or reactivated leads? How is the quality and quantity of their leads? Do they still manage and nurture leads outside the CRM solution?
CRM can boost a salesperson’s productivity by up to 15%. So if you see little or no productivity improvement after CRM implementation, it can only be one of two things: either the CRM solution failed to deliver on its promise or your team is simply not using it.
You can pay attention to a number of activities such as reports generation and compilation, decision making, sales analysis, new order processing, and issue resolution to understand and evaluate CRM adoption.
Take reports generation, for example. According to CIO, if sales managers and sales representatives are taking several days to prepare periodic reports, it can either mean that your CRM lacks strong reporting capabilities, or that your users are struggling to use the CRM effectively.
Your team might be still using their old methods of pulling data from multiple sources and coordinating them with spreadsheets when making a report because it is easier than navigating the CRM software that does not provide them “right-moment” training or guidance. Or, they did not input data into the CRM in the first place because they are intimidated by the tool. So they have no choice but to go back to their old method of generating and consolidating reports. This needs a digital adoption platform that helps users along their CRM onboarding and training journey. Digital Adoption Platforms (DAP) such as Whatfix allows sales reps to discover and learn the capabilities of your CRM tool at their own pace, and as needed.
The Skeptics Remain Skeptical
During the early stages of CRM implementation, there will be people –– particularly the impatient ones –– who will question the practicability of the CRM software. They will scrutinize every little detail and aspect of the software to ensure they will really benefit from it.
Their skepticism, however, does not always mean that they resist using the new technology. In fact, skeptics are “paramount for a smooth on-boarding and CRM success.” They help ensure that the CRM implementation is done according to the plan and will yield the expected results.
But be wary of users who –– after receiving training about the product –– remain cynical and keep on finding fault with it. There can be underlying reasons why they remain pessimistic about using the CRM software such as having difficulty in integrating it into their daily routine. They understand what’s in it for them and they received learning on how to use the product, but during actual situations, they are at a loss. This prevents them from truly maximizing the use of the CRM software.
The “Cheerleaders” Don’t Cheer Anymore
Like skeptics, “cheerleaders” are also significant in ensuring CRM implementation success. They are optimistic about using the CRM software because they understand its benefits. They are usually the first ones to actively adopt the software product and explore its capabilities. They love to share their learning about the software product and to encourage their fellow employees to use it.
But what if, all of the sudden, they stopped “cheering”? It may not be alarming if users are using the software so effectively that they don’t need anyone to spur or encourage them to maximize its use. It can be a bad sign, however, if the reason they stopped cheering was because they lost their enthusiasm for the product, and are thus underutilizing it. This can happen when the difficulties they experience in using the software trump its benefits and they don’t receive right-moment support or training when needed.
Users Don’t Talk – or Talk Less – about It
If users are actively using the CRM software, they will often talk about it and broadly participate in discussions concerning it. It will be a key topic in your team’s daily conversations, both offline and online. They would talk about their activities on the software, particularly those that concern the entire team, as well as the latest product upgrade or glitch that could affect their CRM use. So it can be suspicious when no one is talking about these things.
How users participate in discussions can give you an idea of how well (or poorly) they use the CRM software. It can be dubious, for example, if a user brought up an issue about the CRM software that has already been discussed before –– unless they are new in the company.
Break the “spiral of silence” by regularly evaluating their use of the CRM software, providing them a platform to voice out their sentiments about the CRM product, and encouraging them to take part in further optimizing the software. Pulse also how they want to learn more about the product or its new features. Do they prefer classroom-type training or individualized lessons where they can learn as they go?
They Are Not Reaching Out
To think that your sales team not reaching out or asking for help is a bad sign may be counterintuitive. But it can be. Perhaps they’ve stopped exploring other useful features and capabilities of the CRM software. Their “silence” can also be a symptom of their frustration with the product that they think it’s not even worth asking for assistance.
Ask your IT guy or “CRM guru” if users –– particularly the new employees –– are reaching out to them. If you find out that less and less people are asking for help, talk to your team to know the reason behind it. Is it because they learned to navigate the CRM software on their own, or is it because they are disengaged and frustrated with the software product?
How to Motivate Your Salespeople to Adopt the CRM Tool
Getting your sales team to adopt your CRM solution requires a careful approach that goes beyond selling the benefits to them. It is critical to understand user perception and experience as well as the factors that influence them. And based on this, find the right motivation that works for individual users.
What’s important for salespeople is to close deals and reach quotas quickly. If your CRM software delays rather than accelerates the process because of its hard-to-navigate features, then will only discourage salespeople from using the tool.
The best way to motivate your sales team to fully adopt the CRM solution is to make things intuitive and easy. You can do this by providing them with a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) that ensures that your team is constantly motivated to use the CRM software because they receive support at every step of their journey. With contextual and interactive walkthroughs, as well as training and performance support that DAP provides, your sales team can easily navigate the software product and get the right support and training that they need at the moment.
There are a number of metrics and signs that you can measure for driving CRM adoption success and many best practices that can deliver on implementation success. They key is using the right strategy to know what to measure and how to address the digital adoption problem.
Digital adoption platforms are specially designed to help you improve digital adoption of your enterprise application software. By integrating DAP with your LMS, you can contextualize and measure learning. DAPs offer advanced analytics capabilities that allow you to specifically pinpoint the reason why adoption is poor and measure the effectiveness of your user engagement. It also helps you try new ideas based on real-time data and discover the most optimized onboarding plans.
Talk to a digital adoption expert to know more about the competitive advantages of Digital Adoption Platforms.