July 21, 2008, 10:40 AM — Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a valuable and effective tool that can optimize the sales process and help strengthen customer relationships, but many businesses struggle to convince sales teams to use CRM software. Despite the clear productivity benefits, getting employees to accept new applications and processes is an uphill battle.
Here are five proven tips to boost user adoption:
1. Show them WIIFM (What's in it for me): Demonstrate clearly that the new system you are proposing will benefit them. The main resistance to adoption is that end users (i.e. sales people) see CRM as a tool for management to "spy" on them versus a tool to actually help them sell more. Spend some time explaining how CRM will benefit them directly and not just the company as a whole.
2. Make it easy: If a CRM product takes too much effort to learn and use, sales people will resist incorporating the extra work into their already busy lives. A CRM solution that easily integrates into their existing daily routines is key.
3. Start off with bite size chunks: Rollout the software implementation gradually to avoid overwhelming the sales force. Begin by entering sales contacts. Once they are familiar with this part of the software, start tracking sales with the new system. Continue the process by having them use the software to generate reports. Do this until they have gradually begun using every function of the new solution in their daily routine
4. Work the way they work: Most sales people use Outlook throughout the day. Discover what sales processes they are already doing within Outlook and then see what can be leveraged into the CRM package. If the product doesn't work within Outlook, make sure it at least syncs seamlessly with that program.
5. Make part of their pay dependent on activities within the CRM solution: Once the CRM application is implemented and the sales force is trained, issue a simple declaration that they will only be paid commission for sales if the contact is in the CRM program. Be sure that the declaration is simple and clear to understand.
Once the sales team is executing effectively within the CRM software, it is important to consistently review and analyze their results weighed against current expectations. Invite the sales team to review weekly or monthly reports and share feedback. Doing so will not only build a healthy relationship between the product and the employees, but also between the manager and the employees. CRM user adoption rates will rapidly improve as the sales team begins seeing and reaping the benefits of this innovative technology.
James Wong is the co-founder and CEO of Avidian Technologies. For more information about Avidian, visit www.avidian.com.