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6 Tips for Getting Your Team Using and Loving CRM Tools – Part 1

One of the highlights of this year’s Dreamforce 2021 for CRM professionals was undoubtedly the session “Six Guiding Principles for CRM Adoption.”  If you weren’t able to catch it live, why not catch up by watching the recording? If watching the video isn’t your jam, then there’s always this summary of the highlights right here in this two-part series.

Before getting started on our top tips for CRM adoption, let’s first clarify precisely what we mean by “adoption.” Quite simply, it’s about ensuring that when you deploy a CRM solution, people actually use it. If that doesn’t happen, then your company isn’t getting the full return on the investments they’ve made in those technologies. What’s more, it’s been proven that better adoption leads to greater business value.

So think of adoption as getting people on the same path together, doing their work better and faster, while also helping the CRM provider make their solutions stronger. 

It’s also important to remember that adoption looks different for everyone and will depend on your unique business objectives and users’ roles. For example, if you’re in Sales, adoption could mean how much data gets into the system or ensuring that your forecasting is accurate. If you’re in Service, it could mean the number of logins or call handling time in case management. 

But whatever your goals are, these 6 tips and best practices shared in the session are well worth thinking about.

So, let’s dive into our first 3:

Tip 1: Prepare for Change Management

This is the foundational building block for user adoption. Before you start moving in any one direction, you need to be thoughtful in your preparation. Begin by creating an operating model and a change management plan. This will allow your team to outline the vision of how your implementation will unfold. 

The operating model should first and foremost factor in the people who will actually be using the product on a daily basis and how they’ll learn about these changes. At the outset, knowing your roles and audiences is critical: your leaders, your “doers,” and your early adopters.

Ask yourself, “Who are the users who are going to champion this change?” Your plan should look to uplift those individuals. And of course, no change management program is complete without a communications strategy that’s rolled out in a natural cadence that benefits users.

Also, remember that it’s entirely possible—and indeed a good idea—to add features and functionality after your primary rollout. It’s not feasible to incorporate every possible change request into your initial deployment. The level of requests may be too great or simply not aligned with your overall business goals. So, take the time early on to define your overarching governance strategy.

As you get ready to enact these changes, it’s a great idea to use adoption dashboards that can help you identify the naysayers as well as emerging power users.

Tip 2: Demonstrate Leadership Buy-in

Once you’ve outlined your change management plan and set out on your implementation path, the next step is getting your leadership to start supporting this change by demonstrating adoption from the top down. 

Having leadership buy-in is crucial to success, so make sure that your leadership team understands and regularly articulates the strategic value of the CRM solution. 

One way that leaders can “walk the talk” is by using the tool in their own virtual meetings, for example, when it comes to reviewing analytics. Every time a leader is screensharing pipeline data or other dashboards, ensure they’re using the tool. This is a great way to subconsciously reinforce the value of the technology.

Also, look for other opportunities for leaders to showcase the power of the tool, such as when celebrating a new deal or a strong quarter-end with their immediate team or the rest of the business, in the case of C-level stakeholders.

Tip 3: Know Your End Users

You can’t expect people to embrace change and use something completely new to do their jobs if it was designed by someone who isn’t familiar with performing their role. That means it’s vital to give your users an equal seat at the table when it comes to your new implementation. By doing this, you’re also opening up a forum for continuous feedback. 

Ensuring that you keep that feedback coming in is a three-step process that involves interviewing, observing, and co-designing your solution with your users. Listen to what your users say they need, watch how they’re interacting with the product in their day-to-day tasks (and how the required functionality differs depending on the user’s role), and work together to address any issues with the current model. 

Also, remember that your business will inevitably change. As it does, so will your people’s tasks and, therefore, needs. So, make sure that this feedback happens on a regular basis and don’t stop making improvements!

A great way to get feedback is by establishing user committees. Regularly meet with a team of users – ideally comprising both power users and detractors – to discuss what’s working, what’s not, and where changes can be made somewhere in the middle. This is a smart tactic that organizations can leverage to get people to rally around a single vision for achieving their ambitious goals, regardless of the size of their business or the industry in which they operate.

Another way to harvest the feedback you seek is via surveys – this allows people to give feedback anonymously, which can yield more candid results and higher participation rates.

Both user committees and surveys should be conducted regularly to uphold that constant and iterative feedback loop.

More tips for getting your team using and loving CRM tools

So, once you have a change management plan in place, your leaders are encouraging adoption, and your users are feeling heard, what’s next?

Read part 2 of this series on 6 Tips for Getting your Team Using and Loving CRM Tools to find out. 

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