5 Ways to Achieve Better CRM User Adoption (And Engagement) - Nomalys
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14 Apr 5 Ways to Achieve Better CRM User Adoption (And Engagement)

We all know that CRM is good for business. As a matter of fact, the average ROI for CRM is $8.71 for every dollar spent (Nucleus Research) and CRM increases sales by up to 29% (Salesforce).

But the main issues with CRM are adoption and engagement:

  • In 2003, it was estimated that over $1 billion had been spent on software by companies that weren’t even using it (JobNimbus).
  • 43% of CRM customers use fewer than half the features they have on their CRM (CSO Insights).
  • 4 out of 5 senior executives explained that their biggest challenge was getting their staff to use the CRM (Really Simple Systems).

So how do you achieve better CRM user adoption (and engagement) among sales teams?


  1. Involve Users in the Design, Deployment and Evolution of the CRM

If users are not part of the solution, they will not embrace the solution. No involvement in the design, implementation or use of the CRM is equivalent to no empowerment. Sales reps take this as “you will do this”.

First of all, make sure you know the issues the sales reps are facing with the existing solutions: data entry and retrieval, account management, customer research, etc. Indeed, far too often, CRM systems are designed to support accounting and management processes (performance tracking, revenue estimation, etc.) and are therefore configured with features that have almost no practical application or relevance to sales people’s daily work. If sales reps are not involved and consulted to determine what functions they would like to have in the CRM, it is like telling them: “This CRM was built to make someone else’s job easier by giving you one more task to do without helping you to close more deals.” If the end users (sales reps) are not involved in the design and deployment of the CRM, they will definitely not be willing to use it.

Involve them and communicate on how the use of a CRM would help ease their tasks. Once your sales force understands the value of the CRM, adoption will improve.


  1. Align CRM Processes with Sales Team Processes

Obviously when you implement a sales-based CRM project with no input from the sales team and only input from IT, you get a CRM that has nothing to do with sales.

The design and implementation process should be driven by a team composed by IT and sales people to support sales processes as well as management and accounting processes. Those who monitor and analyze sales data have different needs than the sales team, and they are not usually aware of the latter.

Jim Dickie, CSO Insights partner, says “When you implement a CRM, you are asking users to change how they do their jobs.” In almost all cases, sales teams already have a process they know and are comfortable with to address account management, customer research, order management, pricing and quote systems, etc. If a CRM system is deployed without taking into consideration the existing sales process, the roll out will trigger a massive change in workflow and massive protest from the sales team. The CRM learning curve for the sales reps will be long and painful, and many of them will simply avoid using it.

The solution is to simply connect with your employees to know their experience with CRM, collect their feedback and let it drive future roll-out plans.


  1. Integrate the CRM with Existing Systems to Drive Value

Your organization needs to ensure proper integration between your existing systems and your new CRM, but also across departments (sales, marketing, accounting, etc.).

For example, Fortune 100 healthcare companies explain how limited integration between systems limits the potential of Salesforce.com CRM. When asked to evaluate Salesforce, employees gave the lowest score to SFDC’s Integration with other systems, making it one of the major factors limiting Salesforce adoption (9lenses).


Sales people won’t jump in and out of multiple business applications to get a global view of their clients’ activity: tasks in the CRM, invoices in the ERP, documents in the EDM, etc.

Integrate your CRM with your existing systems to offer your sales force a global view of their clients’ activity.


  1. Build Trust with the Sales Team

Because CRM design and implementation are often driven by the management and the IT team, sales reps think that they are being asked to dedicate precious time and effort logging information into the CRM which will be of no measurable benefit to them, and which will also be used to track their performance which could be used against them during future performance reviews.

As a matter of fact, most sales people think the CRM really only serves as a means to meet management’s reporting needs.

Explain to your sales team and show them that a CRM solution will help them to sell more, in a smarter and faster way. It will definitely answer the “what’s in it for me” question and help drive wide spread adoption.


  1. Make the CRM Available Anywhere, Anytime

Finally, if your sales team includes sales reps in the field, your CRM must be available wherever and whenever they need it: before, during and after a meeting, in the subway or the car, at home, in the hotel etc.

If you fail to do this, you will turn the CRM into a source of frustration. Offering a CRM system that is always available requires more than just simple support on mobile devices. Because you can never be 100% certain of Wi-Fi or cell phone coverage, the CRM mobile app should be available offline and then be synchronized automatically with your CRM once it is online again.

User Experience should also be an important factor when implementing a CRM mobile app. Desktop and mobile operations are meant to be different. Pushing a desktop app to a mobile device isn’t going to achieve a positive user experience. A mobile CRM app, intended for use in the field, should be as intuitive and fast as possible. It should also make data contextual, automate information input as much as possible, minimize keystrokes and streamline workflow.

In other words, use mobile devices to make the CRM easier to use whenever you want, rather than more difficult. When your sales people see that the CRM helps them sell and that there is little or no hassle involved in using the CRM, the adoption rate won’t be a problem.


In conclusion, ask the sales reps to identify their needs and to outline what they like and dislike about the present sales team process. Insure that the things they like are not degraded by the implementation of the new system and take these points into account when designing and implementing the system.

Also clearly explain to sales reps that the sales process will benefit from the new CRM by increased efficiency and productivity, and by simplifying the sales rep’s life so they can spend more time growing their business.

And finally make your entire IT system (CRM plus other existing systems like ERP or EDM) available on mobile devices to be more efficient and responsive on the go.


We can help you to unify your data sources on mobile devices. Contact us!

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