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10 Steps to a successful CRM user adoption

The CRM (Customer relationship management) software market is growing rapidly as businesses strive to get more digitalized and streamlined. A CRM solution can bring a wealth of benefits to a business, including automating processes making them more efficient, improving customer service, and monitoring the performance with the use of reports and dashboards.

In order to have a successful CRM implementation however, it is crucial to spend the time to plan for the user adoption. If you only focus on the technology and neglect the importance of making sure that the users will actually use the system you run the risk of poor user adoption which is one of the main reason CRM projects fail. Here are 10 steps that will help you have a successful user adoption.

1. Know your end users and involve them from the start:

Who are the people that will be using the system on a daily basis? Interview them & listen to what they need and work with them to come up with solutions for their pain points & bottlenecks.

2. What’s my benefit?

One of the most important steps is to clearly demonstrate to the end-users how and why utilizing the CRM system will benefit them. If they can see what they can gain from using it, how it can make them more efficient and reach their KPIs, there is a bigger chance they will have a positive attitude about using the tool.

3. Keep it simple & personalized

Ensure that when the system is built, it reflects how the users actually work and execute their processes. Make sure it is easy to use and simple, with no clutter of unnecessary fields or features that can distract and confuse the users which can lead to a slow performance.

4. Top Down (top executives buy-in)

It is crucial to have the top executives buy-in. The leadership needs to lead by example and demonstrates the importance of using the CRM tool by using it themselves and promoting it. They can use the CRM in meetings when reviewing report/dashboard data, or to show recent cases or a marketing campaign, etc.

5. Assign SMEs (Subject matter experts):

Choose a SME for each department who is a super user and will be the go-to person for users when they have requests for future system changes and feedback. Have regular ongoing meetings with the SMEs to collect the user feedback to know what to include in future releases to keep improving and customizing the system for optimal usage. Establish a strategy for how to manage change requests and new releases to be implemented.Have the SMEs collect tips and best practices to share with users & assist with new users on any questions they may have.

6. Training & support

Have a training plan for new employees, to train on both the technical part as well as the business processes.Provide ongoing training for new releases as well as training on a regular basis to brush up on basic processes (e.g. if several users seems to struggle with a certain process) and also offer training on more advanced features. Lunch n Learns can be a good option since most users can feel too busy to set aside time for training. In addition to demo training, consider having hands-on training in a sandbox.Have user guides easily accessible (on the intranet for example) as well as help videos. Make sure to update the user guides according to any system changes.Make sure users know who to contact and how for any needed support whether it’s the support help desk or a SME.

7. Make it fun!

Reward the users that use the system well and are top performers to create some healthy competition (e.g. who converted the most leads, etc.). Make it known by announcing the winners to create incentives.

8. Make it mobile

Make your system mobile friendly so that users on the go have the ability to access data as well as logging cases and entering leads on their phone or iPad when not in front of their computer.

9. Communication

Create a communications plan that includes communication on the project status to leadership as well as communication regarding system changes and updates to all users. For larger changes, it can be good to prepare the users of upcoming changes ahead of time so that they are familiar with the change before it takes place. Use tools in the system to post new release information (e.g. Chatter, etc.)

10. Build in a critical process

Identify the most important business processes and see if it can be done within the CRM system. For example, issue a quote, a contract or generate an invoice. If the user can’t move forward in the process without using the CRM, they don’t have a choice than to use the CRM system if they want to complete the process.


Salesforce Consultant/Project Manager