4 Tips to Improve CRM Adoption

For a small business to reap the benefits of using a feature-rich customer relationship management (CRM) system, it’s necessary to make user adoption part of the implementation strategy.

According to CIO Digital Magazine, between 18% and 69% of CRM implementation projects fail.

Below are four common reasons why users may end up in a deadlock with a newly implemented CRM along with countermeasures that I have found to be effective when implementing a CRM system.

Concern No. 1: A new CRM system requires excessive manual data entry.

One of the major concerns of sales reps and customer service agents is spending too much time on manual data entry in the CRM. For example, instead of moving a prospect through the sales pipeline right after it’s discovered, a sales rep has to fill in extensive information about the prospect in the CRM. The same process occurs after each interaction with a prospect. Logging emails and phone calls, and recording the details of recent meetings become an inherent part of sales reps’ daily duties. Thus, sales reps may refuse to adopt a CRM as they think it complicates their job and adds manual data entry tasks to their already high workload.

The solution is to integrate the CRM with external systems and automate certain sales processes to reduce CRM users’ manual efforts. For instance, integrating the CRM with external databases and third-party systems (like ERP or e-commerce platforms) unburdens sales reps from manually filling in numerous CRM fields. Integration ensures the automated import of customer and company contact information from external sources, and automatically updates the customer information in the CRM.

Automation of some aspects of the sales process (like customer outreach with quick email and call logging, and email templates with merge fields) can also tangibly shorten the amount of time that sales reps spent on manual duties.


Concern No. 2: It neglects the needs of some user groups.

A CRM that is designed for the needs and convenience of only one group of target users is another reason for poor user adoption. For example, sales managers are often seen as the primary users of a sales CRM. In such cases, the solution is tailored to provide manifold features for the sales process, such as efficient performance tracking and sales forecasting, but it may lack features that meet the team’s other daily needs. For example, if the lead and opportunity records aren’t properly configured, the sales reps may need have to look through multiple tabs to find or fill in certain pieces of information about a customer. Such constraints highly complicate sales reps’ duties and stall their sales efforts.

To make the CRM truly convenient for your users, it’s helpful to think about the needs of all user groups (such as managers and their reps or agents), their daily responsibilities and primary goals of CRM usage, and configure the system accordingly. For that, collecting user feedback by conducting user surveys may help. Discovering users’ likes and dislikes, demands and issues allows you to clearly communicate usability problems to the CRM services provider. Empowered with this information, they can perform CRM customizations that meet the needs of different user groups.

Providing role-based user training on CRM features for each user group is another measure that can help manage the issue. Since different user groups have different goals and tasks with the CRM, it’s essential to train them separately and show them the most efficient ways to interact with the system.

Concern No. 3: The CRM has poor data quality.

Irregular CRM updates result in irrelevant or incomplete data, which may become a great obstacle to easy and efficient CRM use. Since data stored in the CRM is often shared between sales, marketing and customer service departments, all of them will be affected if the data is inconsistent. Spending time and money on pursuing “dead” leads and holding inefficient marketing campaigns may be an extremely expensive mistake.

Besides money loss, poor data quality causes the loss of customers’ loyalty. For example, the quality of marketing activities declines due to inefficient outreach to prospects through wrong communication channels. The risk to customer service can be manifested in lengthy case resolution due to inability to contact a customer (because of outdated emails or phone numbers).

Regular CRM updates, which ensure data accuracy and reliability, are a must. For better enforcement of this idea, it should be driven from the top down. Managers should explain to their teams that if customer-related data isn’t updated in the CRM, it does not exist. When the old way of working, like keeping an Excel spreadsheet, is no longer considered as a job done, using the CRM becomes the single option.

Another way that managers can show their teams that the daily filling in of certain CRM fields is not optional is to actively use the CRM themselves. In particular, they should use the CRM to monitor employee performance. If reps realize that their managers rely on CRM-generated reports to assess their work, they’ll prioritize keeping the information in the CRM accurate and up to date.

Concern No. 4: It has insufficient post-implementation support.

The lack of post-implementation support means that there is no tailoring of CRM workflows to business process changes and no proper testing of changes introduced to the CRM. This may lead to inconsistent workflows or jumbled reports. Let’s imagine that an in-house CRM administrator is required to add a few custom objects to the CRM for better report visibility. There’s no post-implementation support from the support service provider, and the admin doesn’t have CRM testing skills. The administrator would have modified the solution without thoroughly checking to find out if these objects properly reflected the necessary data and increased report visibility. As a result, the data output may be wrong.

Relying on help from a reliable CRM services provider for ongoing support services – such as adjusting CRM processes to reflect the business’s process changes and testing CRM modifications – helps small businesses realize higher user adoption due to easier CRM use. If the CRM complies with business changes and repeatable user issues are solved in a timely manner, all-around CRM adoption is easier to achieve.

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