Driving CRM adoption

Resistance to CRM adoption can be overcome by satisfactorily answering a number of key questions.

Answering the ‘What’s in it for me?’ question. This implies demonstrating the value and utility of the CRM application. In other words it’s about ensuring that the CRM implementation addresses recognised business needs. Answering this question is fundamental to successful adoption as it facilitates the buy-in and embedment process.

Have users at all levels been involved in the initial and ongoing design? This is important to build a sense of ownership, overcome us versus them thinking and incorporating the ‘what’ and ‘how’ aspects of the application. Many times a solution design which does not involve users will meet the requirements but not in the way that the impacted users expect the requirement to be addressed which means that their experience will be less than optimal and usage will suffer. This must also, importantly, address expectations of how data will be captured, processes will be made easier and data from other systems will be surfaced in the CRM application. 

Has the change been communicated effectively and is there evidence that it has been understood in the context of the impact on users current way of doing things? Often overlooked, communicating the rationale for and positive impact of the CRM application will reduce noise, aid adoption and align expectations. 

Is there adequate training material across a variety of training modalities? Good training and related training material are essential to overcome the initial friction users will experience when starting to use the CRM application. It’s frustrating when starting to use an application for the first time and not having the right training guides readily available. It’s also beneficial to make liberal use of inline help and context aware help tools.

How will data quality be managed? The single biggest inherent risk to the success of a CRM application is poor data quality. Poor data quality seriously undermines the credibility of the application and will retard adoption and usage. Data quality should address accuracy, completeness, relevancy and currency of data.

How will ongoing enhancements and support be managed? Effective CRM applications evolve with business and user needs. Enhancements ensure that the application remains relevant to the business, smooths over user frustrations and aids with maintaining good data quality. A good support model addresses support resource constraints, user issues, provides useful input to training content and potentially reduces commonly occurring issues by implementing enhancements to address these issues.  

 Zaheer Ismail