The ultimate guide for CRM adoption


The ultimate guide for CRM adoption

Discover effective strategies to boost CRM adoption in your company. Overcome resistance to change, involve users, and customize your CRM.

Implementing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can be a game-changer for businesses, providing a holistic approach to managing customer interactions, streamlining processes, and driving growth. However, the path to successful CRM adoption is riddled with challenges and pitfalls that can hinder its effectiveness.

Why CRM adoption matters?

CRM projects are frequently discussed in terms of their high failure rates. According to a recent survey conducted by Merkle Group Inc., a US-based company, approximately 63% of projects in large organizations are estimated to fail. 

This statistic is quite alarming and prompts whether CRM can truly deliver the desired success. Interestingly, the same survey revealed that organizations that had effectively implemented CRM experienced tangible benefits and valuable outcomes for their business. 

No adoption means no usage. No usage means no data in your database, and your CRM is only as good as the quality and quantity of that data. Therefore, not having adoption equals not really having a Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics in the first place.

crm adoption stats
Source: Salesforce.

Common reasons for low adoption

CRM platforms are the go-to solution for every business out there. From SMBs to large enterprises, it is inconceivable to think about a company that lacks software to handle its customer database. 

The most popular tool is by far, Salesforce. But despite being used for most organizations in the world, its implementation comes with a number of challenges. Challenges that can lead to complete failure and loss of resources.

According to the very own software, there are for aspects that can crusk Salesforce implementation:

  • Lack of a coherent CRM strategy 
  • Lack of attention to the process 
  • Focussing on technology, rather than people 
  • Failure to adopt, once implemented.

The last two, are by far the most important ones, as we already mentioned, without usage there’s no software. But why would someone avoid the CRM altogether in the first place?

Employee resistance to change

The resistance of employees towards altering their established work processes and embracing new technology can impede productivity and lower morale. Concerns may arise regarding the complexity of the new system, potential disruptions to their work, or the perceived lack of value in investing time and effort to learn it. 

Lack of onboarding and training

Lack of adequate training and education regarding the utilization of a CRM system can result in diminished adoption rates and decreased productivity. 

Employees may lack a comprehensive understanding of the system’s functionality and the advantages it offers. Insufficient training may lead to employees hesitating to use the system or using it incorrectly, thereby giving rise to issues related to data quality or operational inefficiencies.

Integration issues

The integration of the CRM system with other business systems can present complexities that give rise to data compatibility challenges. 

In cases where the CRM system is not seamlessly integrated with these pre-existing systems, employees may encounter the need to navigate between multiple systems, resulting in frustrating obstacles and an increased likelihood of errors.

How to tell if your CRM has low adoption rates?

Now that we know that adoption is a huge deal in companies, you might be wondering if your organization is suffering from this. Hint: if you’re reading this article, it probably is… But still, sometimes we might get a bit caught up in our own perception when in reality, what we believe it might not be 100% true.

What we are trying to say is that, before assuring that your CRM has a low adoption rate, you might want to take a look at these key metrics that will help you find this out:

Usage metrics

First things first: are your employees engaging actively with your Salesforce? Here are a few ways to discover it:

  • Percentage of utilized CRM licenses: This fundamental CRM metric indicates the proportion of your paid CRM subscription licenses that are currently in use. 
  • Login metrics: These adoption metrics offer valuable information regarding the number of sellers accessing your CRM, their login frequency, and the rate at which they log in. By comparing the counts of daily and monthly active users, you can identify any unfavorable adoption patterns. 
  • Interaction tally: Monitoring CRM interactions such as calls, emails, and notes provides insights into the number of interactions required to close a deal and the extent of seller engagement with a specific opportunity. 
  • User dropoff rates: Dropoff rates allow sales leaders to comprehend areas of friction within the CRM system and focus on enhancing the user experience by providing better in-app guidance, training, and user support.

Data quality metrics

Once you have confirmed that your sellers are actively utilizing your CRM, it is time to proceed to the second phase of the adoption cycle, which focuses on ensuring their correct usage of the CRM. This involves verifying that sellers accurately input data and effectively progress deals through the pipeline. The following metrics are relevant in this regard:

  • Data quality of form fields: Monitor the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the data collected from your form fields to assess its quality. 
  • Lead and opportunity attribution: Keep track of the sources from which leads and opportunities originate, as well as the individuals responsible for closing deals.
  • Prospects lacking necessary information (in the past 60 days): Identify and monitor prospects that have incomplete or missing information within the last 60 days.
  • Opportunities with a specified close date (in the past 60 days): Track and analyze opportunities that have a defined close date within the previous 60 days. 
  • Accounts with missing information (in the past 60 days): Monitor and address accounts that have incomplete or missing information over the past 60 days.

Performance metrics

Lastly, it is crucial to monitor the performance of your CRM system to gain a comprehensive understanding of the extent to which your sellers have embraced it and its essential procedures. This evaluation will determine whether it has indeed enhanced their efficiency in an anticipated manner.

  • Pipeline: It is essential to monitor the growth of your pipeline both before and after implementing your new CRM. As your sellers become more proficient in using the CRM, the pipeline should expand accordingly. 
  • Deal cycle and stage times: It is crucial to measure the duration it takes for an opportunity to progress through sales stages and cycles. As CRM adoption improves, these cycle and stage times should decrease, indicating increased efficiency.
  • Year-over-year win rate growth: Analyzing the growth in win rates compared to the previous year provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of your sales efforts and the impact of CRM adoption. 
  • Activity classification based on the assigned owner(s): Categorizing activities based on the owner(s) assigned to them allows you to track and analyze the types of actions performed by different individuals. This data can provide useful insights into productivity and help optimize resource allocation.

How to improve CRM adoption

Once you’ve “done your homework” and have a clear understanding of what is going on in your CRM, there are a number of actions you can take to revert any issues regarding adoption. Of course, there is no magic formula as each use case and company culture is different. 

Ideally, you might want to tackle these issues with the help of your digital innovation or digital transformation department. You might also want to create specific objectives and strategies for each role i.e., sales reps vs. sales managers. 

No matter what you have in mind when it comes to assuring CRM usage, the following aspects are key to companies across the board:

Make users a key part of the implementation

CRMs are usually the way to go when companies are looking to update their processes. Any digital initiative, in order to work in the long term, has to be disruptive. And this can cause a major stress on the end users who might not be familiar with the software.

It is mandatory to involve everyone who will end up using the platform, before and during deployment.  One effective approach is to involve the end-users who will be utilizing the system. Provide a clear demonstration to those involved, showcasing the benefits the new system will bring to them. Encourage user feedback and ensure that you actively listen to their input, incorporating suggestions when appropriate.

Make your CRM user-friendly

The primary goal of a CRM is to simplify the lives of its users, rather than complicate them. Thus, it is imperative to customize the solution to align with the users’ work processes, rather than expecting the users to adapt to the CRM. 

Users tend to dislike interfaces that are overwhelmed with unnecessary information, so it is advisable to include only the choices and features that are relevant to your team’s current needs. Additional options can always be incorporated at a later stage if required.

An user-friendly CRM must:

  • Provide all information one click away.
  • Provide automation features.
  • Provide contact tools.
  • Provide content integration.
  • Provide follow-up features.
  • Ensure an easy-guided-onboarding process.

Train your employees

Dedicate time to training your employees, considering the possibility of creating specialized training programs tailored to different business processes. This is usually done via the sales enablement department which must provide both technical and soft skills training.

It is crucial for administrators to be equipped to address user inquiries and undergo more extensive training. Administrators should also receive instructions on configuring the CRM solution and performing other tasks specific to their administrative role. 

Offer repetitive training sessions over time, starting with foundational concepts and gradually progressing to more advanced features and processes once the basics are well understood.

CRM adoption is a big issue when the numbers are low, but fortunately, there are a lot of actions you can start performing today to prevent dropping the rate or keep up the upward trajectory.