6 tips to increase CRM adoption

Start with the basic features

At the start, your sales team does not have to adopt the full spectrum of features that your CRM offers. Let them start using the basic, intuitive features of the CRM such as creating or importing leads, logging customer correspondences, and creating tasks specific to prospects. These features are usually those that have similar counterparts in traditional customer relations management.

Offer training and tutorials that are easy to consume

According to a Neochange survey, only less than 10% of CRM users reach an acceptably effective usage of a CRM. This shows how CRM adoption can introduce a steep learning curve to any adopter. Offering training can be overwhelming for early CRM adopters. We all know that the easier to consume the training is, the more fluid it is for trainees to learn the skills offered. One example of an easy-to-consume CRM tutorial is this one by Grovo for Highrise (21 minutes total, containing 15 lessons) or the getting started resources upon first login to SugarCRM. Only after the early CRM adoption stage can you offer training that involves more technical aspects of the CRM, or training that’s steered towards how the CRM specifically fits in your company’s marketing and sales.

Separate doing customer relations from managing customer data

The process of doing sales requires personalized engagement for salespeople, i.e. their mindset needs to be in the shoes of a certain prospect so they can be conditioned to write emails that are within the prospect’s context. When you’re interrupted by customer data management when in the heat of doing customer correspondence, you will have to regain your interaction mindset. To avoid such a fallback, separate time allotted for customer relations in the email from time allotted for data management tasks in the CRM.

Use built-in social media integrations

It’s undeniable that the way of doing sales have changed in recent years due to social media. Early CRM adopters are probably familiar in using social media, or have probably used it to deliver some promotions and to attract sales prior to using a CRM solution. By using built-in social media integrations, you are giving your sales team and potential customers a form of communication they’re familiar in. Social media integrations also enable them to interact with prospects in a more casual manner outside of normal (and oftentimes formal) forms of engagement, such as emails.

Use an import contacts feature or automate importing of already existing data

One of the most time-consuming activities in the early stage of CRM adoption is migrating the data of pre-existing contacts to the CRM. Almost all CRM solutions these days provide an extensive list of contact importing options. Use these features to easily leverage your CRM adoption and to start doing sales earlier using the CRM without leaving out any already existing data.

Use plugins and extensions

Integrations are important towards completing an ecosystem that specifically fits the way your business does sales and handles customer relationships. These ecosystems not only include the CRM itself, but also mailing lists, social media accounts, and most importantly your email inbox.

Salespersons and business developers spend a lot of time in their mailbox. To ensure good adoption among users, it is important to lower the barrier to access information that is in the CRM and to update this information. For Highrise and SugarCRM users, there’s Collabspot to bring the CRM to work in Gmail or Google Apps. For Salesforce users, they now have an Outlook side panel to integrate with the email client, and Cirrus Insight offers another integration that brings Salesforce to Gmail. These CRM-email integrations give the best bang for the buck for people spending a lot of time in emails, because time saved translates to money saved.