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Tips for improving CRM user adoption

A shiny new CRM system, whether it’s an entirely new platform for your business or an upgraded replacement for your current solution, can be a big investment for any business. And by big investment, in our mind, it's less about the amount of money you invest in the system and more about the amount of time and effort if you need to spend on it if you want it to be entirely successful. Implementation, fussing over intricate layout and data capture details and countless tasks to ensure your end product is on target for what the business needs, is naturally imperative and a great start if you can achieve it first time.  Though it’s often not the finer details of the system that lead to a lack of effectiveness from a new CRM. It’s the simple fact that many individuals will simply fail to adopt the system’s use fully because, well, many people hate change, especially in the work place.

Here are some of our top tips to improve CRM user adoption from the get-go if you’re struggling with low take up and a lack of colleague buy-in:


Simplicity is key - keep initial data entry minimal

A common desire from the powers that be when they have spent time and money on a new CRM system is that it performs to the height of its design from day one. This usually means that all the fancy new reports and data visualisations will be expected to light up immediately and start producing evocative insights. What this translates to for the majority of the workforce using the system is the preparation of lots of data sets that need to be filled out precisely in order for this to take place.

This is going to do no favours for the CRM’s popularity in your workforce’s day to day schedule. By keeping the data sets required as close to those already being used and introducing only a few new requirements early on which have a clear value, you will speed up the rate of the new system’s acceptance and minimize the early resentment to change. This of course applies to B2B CRM systems, where sales/account teams manage hundreds to thousands of individual accounts.

B2C CRM systems are a different beast altogether given the tens or hundreds of thousands, or even millions of consumers that can be captured within such databases. Data entry in the B2C world relies on the consumer providing information through forms and surveys. It's a more laborious process and a tricky one too. You can't ask a consumer to provide all their information in one go. It simply puts them off. So it needs to be harvested overtime, with the initial 'ask' being minimal i.e. name, surname, email address. Think of it like a relationship you build with a friend over time. You wouldn't ask someone you just met for all their details, preferences etc.

Top down CRM user adoption - Managers and senior staff NEED to use same system too

Leading on from our initial point, it’s all well and good for managers and senior members of a business to see the benefits of a new CRM via their design coming to life. But it is also important they are bound to the front end of the system’s use the same as the rest of the work force. Not only will this show of unity act as an immediate barrier to the “you don’t know what it’s like” resistance, seniors will have an ongoing sympathy and understanding for how the progression of the system can be accomplished with a perspective on both sides.

The needs of senior team members will differ from those of the more junior members using the system. So it's important in your system selection to ensure that all needs are met otherwise top down adoption can be harder to achieve.


Measure & Reward – track and recognise adoption

If adoption of a CRM system is such a crucial component of its overall success, it is something you should be tracking. Track top users and monitor the percentage of the workforce who are using the system regularly. Most systems will have this feature set built in against each login given out. The majority will allow reports and data to be produced against adoption and usage by department.

Change is hard on everyone. Show how important it is that your workforce is versatile and able to adjust to new challenges by rewarding top users and early adopters as well as being sure to show the positive impact the new system has had on the business on a regular basis. This will help to ensure users don’t lose sight of why it was brought in to begin with.


photo credit: I Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way via photopin (license)