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Why is CRM Adoption so Low?

Published March 23 2020

As a sales leader, it’s easy to get caught up in the allure of a new CRM. The promise of generating more revenue and accurately predicting sales targets is enough to guarantee its purchase. You’re so excited about the new features that you forget to think about how the new tool will impact your sales team.

So, when CRM usage starts to wane, and the tool fails to live up to expectations, what do most sales leaders do? They rip it out and replace it with another. But if there is one thing we’ve come to find out, it is that low CRM adoption is rarely about the tool.

A Shift in Perspective

In a survey of 500 CRM users by Really Simple Systems, 83% of senior executives explained that their biggest challenge was getting their staff to use the software. The question then becomes, how do you get your people on board with using a new tool?

Unlike an ERP, where you’re dependent on its use for billing and invoicing, there is no incentive for people to use CRM. After all, you can carry on doing the same function with spreadsheets, emails, and notes. The problem with that is that it’s not practical, or visible to the organization, and it’s prone to human error. Therefore, if you want your CRM adoption to be successful, you must change your approach.

83% of senior executives explained that their biggest challenge was getting their staff to use the software

Really Simple Systems

Whether its Salesforce, Sugar, or Microsoft Dynamics 365, all CRM platforms do the same thing. They help your sales team track customer interactions, pull customer insights to identify new sales opportunities, and facilitate communication with new and current customers.

The common mistake is that sales organizations view CRM as a once and done deal instead of an ongoing initiative. One that requires a leadership mindset, communication, and training to ensure its long-term use. It’s this difference in CRM approach that sets a low-performing organization apart from a high-performing one.

The Difference between Low-Performing and High-Performing Organizations

In low-performing organizations, sales leaders view CRM as a magic bullet. The focus is on what the tool can do, and not how the tool will facilitate the execution of the company’s business strategy. Once the implementation is complete, the project is usually handed off to IT.

This is where things start to go downhill. The meetings that used to take place with the project team come to a halt, and no further training after the initial session is planned to reinforce adoption. Eventually, the business side goes back to what they were doing, and soon CRM usage slows or stops.

In contrast, a high-performing organization sees CRM as an ongoing initiative. There is no end or start date. They understand the importance of obtaining company-wide involvement if they want employees to embrace the system. Sometimes a change in management is necessary to make it happen.

low performing organizations vs high performing organizations - alithya - crm - adoption

The Importance of Structure

Knowing that the initiative must come from the top down, they build their project team on a three-tier system. Leadership forms the first layer of the project team structure. Subject matter experts (SMEs) are the second layer and are usually considered the core team. This is because SMEs know the business processes that must be incorporated into the system. Finally, you have your administrators or IT as the third layer.

With the project team in place, high-performing organizations set out to create a cadence of communication pre- and post-implementation. They understand that CRM is a means to an end. A vehicle that will help them reach their intended business outcomes. And those business outcomes are established by getting the project team together to define what they are.

With the business outcomes established, these high-performing organizations then work backward to create a solid plan of attack. Together, they create a rollout strategy, a communication plan, and a robust training program to ensure long-term adoption.

High-performing organizations take these measures because they realize that employees need to know the purpose of the tool and the value it will provide to encourage CRM usage. It’s human nature. Think about it. When you understand the “why” and “how” of what you’re doing, you’re more likely to buy in and dig deep to make sure the project succeeds.

eBook: Your Roadmap to CRM Adoption and Training Readiness