Give a heads up
Nobody likes surprises. Prepare your users for what is to come and how their adoption is critical. Communicate upfront on how the new system will cause some change in their daily activities. Certain functions they were accustomed to will likely work differently, be modified, or may not be available at all. Push-back can be avoided if your users are introduced to the new system with the expectation that things will be different. Finding this out on the day of a go-live is one of the surest ways to discourage adoption.
Show the value-add for both the individual users and the company
How does the new system serve to fulfill business requirements? Keep your employees in the loop on the overall company vision, and how the new tool helps track goals the whole team is trying to achieve. By communicating the “why” for the change, you’ll help users accept and embrace the new technology.
Make their life easier
Some users may push back at entering daily tasks into the system. Show them how tracking personal activities within CRM provides a historic reference tool when they are working multiple relationships. Accountability is easy to track, as they now have a log of where they spend their efforts.
Solicit and listen to feedback
Chances are good your users will initially reject something about the new system. To turn this around, adopt a user acceptance testing (UAT) and feedback program that can help identify design flaws. Also, consider including front-line employees during the design phase to provide feedback on the system’s day-to-day functionality.
Group meetings, surveys, and one-on-one discussions are great settings to gather feedback. Again, if everyone understands the company vision for the new system, you’ll receive feedback with consideration to the big picture. Without that perspective, you’ll risk getting feedback that is narrow and pertains only to an individual, which can lead to unnecessary scope creep.
Tie performance metrics to system process
We’ve discussed ways to provide a positive experience for successful user adoption of a new CRM. However, it needs to be backed up with a policy requirement to use the system. Even if your users understand the value of using the system, it becomes easy to disregard if there is a path of least resistance. Compliance is key to success.
One idea is to encourage your sales representatives to use the new CRM by emphasizing metrics like opportunity close ratios. Your users will use CRM “opportunities” because they want their managers (and peers, potentially) to see their efforts in pursuing opportunities and successes in business they’ve closed. This, in turn, provides invaluable reporting data you can use to make good business decisions.
Requirements don’t need to be complex; they can be as simple as “credit is only awarded if a sale is recorded in the system”. Using the system becomes natural – as it’s part of the business process.
Share ownership, delegate responsibility
Instill a sense of ownership in your employees. One way to do this is by appointing a CRM ambassador who helps other users learn the system and ensures the system is used correctly. You can also create a change management group, consisting of power users who decide on features and changes in the system. This group acts on behalf of other users in their department and works with the system architects to ensure business needs are met with consideration to technical requirements.
Once your users feel ownership over their new CRM, they’ll be invested in its success!
By Blake Miller, Senior Solution Consultant at Arctic IT.