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13 tips to get business teams to use your CRM system

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | March 28, 2013
Having a great new customer relationship management system won't be worth much until you figure out how to get everyone to use it.

Congratulations on that purchase of a new customer relationship management (CRM) system. Now if only the people on the sales, marketing and customer service teams would use it.

To help you keep that expensive software investment from being a write-off, queried dozens of CRM experts on what organizations can do to get employees to routinely enter data into and actually use CRM software. Following are their top 13 tips.

1. Involve those who will be using your CRM system most in the decision and rollout process. "Make sure that the system is simple to learn for new users, and that your users can easily teach themselves as they work," advises Rafi Sweary, president, WalkMe, which provides step-by-step guidance on how to use Websites and apps. Similarly, "make sure employees have the opportunity to tell you what features do and do not make sense," says Aron Susman, cofounder, The Square Foot, a business real estate search site. "You do not want to change workflow and make things take more time than before the CRM was implemented."

2. Play up CRM benefits. "Everyone should be informed of the benefits of entering information into the CRM system to encourage its usage," says Patrick Zanella, product manager, Global Support Services at Enterasys, which provides network infrastructure, network security and management solutions. "If you lead with the blocking and tackling (of entering data), you are starting with the hard part, which may push users off from the start. Showing users the benefits upfront allows them to see the end game before the first piece of data is entered, which typically serves as positive motivation," he says. "Sort of like reading the dessert menu before eating."

3. Provide adequate training. "Train employees on what they need to know and not on all the bells and whistles. These can come later," says Todd Wickens, engagement manager, SWC Technology Partners, an IT consulting firm. Training people how to use your CRM solution "is not a one and done activity, but a process to create awareness," he explains. "Employees will be more inclined to adopt this system if they are eased into it." Similarly, it is important to provide ongoing CRM training, to new hires or those who may need a refresher course, as well as to rollout new features.

4. Identify superusers. "During implementation identify the two or three groups who will use the system most--and ensure that one or more users from these groups are involved," says Cronk. "As these users become more involved and feel part of the design process, they will become evangelists [for your CRM system] and will ensure that other users in their group adopt the system early," he says.


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