Today, an organization’s CRM is as essential as billing, inventory, ERP, or other IT systems.
If the leadership team and users are frustrated by the value they receive from the CRM system, it may be time for a CRM adoption “get-well plan.”
Slow or poor user adoption of CRM is one of the primary contributors to implementation failures and is costly to organizations of all sizes, particularly Enterprise firms.
CRM adoption challenges often originate from the approach of teams that lead the implementation. It’s typical for IT, Finance, and Sales Operations to lead CRM initiatives. As a result, these functions exert influence regarding things salespeople should be doing or capturing data to inform HQ better about what is happening in the field.
Data quality beings to suffer, the organization loses faith in the CRM, and then spreadsheets and other technology tools creep back to fill CRM gaps.
At this point, leadership needs to step in and empower the right resources to get the CRM back on track.
Here’s our recommended approach to getting CRM adoption back on track:
1 – Get help from the outside. The sales operations, sales enablement, or CRM teams that go you to the current state made their best effort, but now they need a boost and fast.
If you’ve seen one CRM implementation, you’ve seen one.
The first step is an outside-in approach guided by a 3rd party that can assess the organization’s process and change management needs. Explaining and understanding the adoption challenges may be easy, but overcoming them can be incredibly hard.
CRM “Get-Well” plans focus on change management and streamlining processes rather than training efforts. Sure, there is a role for training, but rarely is lack of training the culprit of poor CRM adoption.
Without a battle-tested CRM get-well plan, there’s a significant risk that the get-well effort might struggle.
2 – Rethink CRM Leadership. CRM leadership can sometimes seem like hand-to-hand combat, with multiple stakeholders demanding attention. Listening to competing priorities and understanding how to enable the organization to accomplish its goals without pleasing all the people all the time is a required skill.
The characteristics of the ideal CRM leader or 3rd party resource include the following. They:
Don’t tolerate functional bias that can distort CRM vision and adoption.
Diagnose, prioritize, and only then mobilize long-lasting change.
Have sales and marketing on their resume.
Recognize the proper resources needed to execute CRM adoption improvements.
Listen and manage expectations.
Without a suitable leadership model, CRM adoption get-well plans often fall short.
3 – Prioritize the leadership team and front-line leaders.
When we hear that sales teams are not using the CRM as they should to manage accounts, activities, and opportunities, there’s a high certainty that the issue is the leadership team and front-line leaders, not the salespeople.
A CRM is not only for the sales, service, and marketing teams but also for the executives, managers, supervisors, and anyone with authority. For it to truly become beneficial and produce results, it also has to be used and adopted by the leaders.
If leaders use and adopt the CRM to manage core business processes, it communicates to the users that CRM is important enough that even the higher-ups are using them.
Senior leadership can cause spreadsheet use proliferation after a CRM deployment. Leadership may have become accustomed to receiving reports or analyses in a particular format and continue to require the same design after CRM deployment. It’s possible that the original CRM change management plan may not have included the leadership team.
If CRM adoption is a priority for the leadership team and front-line leaders, it will be important to everyone else. Only then can the organization achieve the benefits and measurable return on investment envisioned by the CRM purchase.