22 Recommendations for a Winning CRM User Adoption Strategy

CRM Advice

Poor user adoption is consistently cited as the main reason why CRM projects fail to deliver their expected results.

For any CRM system to be considered a success it must meet the needs of it's users and in this post we've listed 22 recommendations for securing critical user acceptance.

1. Start with the benefits

Faced with a new CRM system and strategy people demand to know "What's in it for me?".

Demonstrate how CRM will benefit individuals and teams and show them how it’ll help in their day to day work to dispel any concerns that CRM is simply a reporting tool designed to keep any eye on them.

2. Involve Users

Adoption will always improve if end users have a voice in the CRM implementation planning process.

With a real stake in the project users will be encouraged to invest time and make an extra effort in making CRM a success.

3. Recruit CRM Advocates

Reach out to enthusiastic and influential individuals who’ll evangelise CRM.

They'll help secure user buy in and provide rock solid support when challenges arise.

4. Deliver Content Rich Training

A quick walk through demonstration isn’t sufficient for new CRM users.

Devise a training plan that includes introductory training that covers the essentials and role specific tuition to ensure that sales, marketing and service teams can begin using CRM with confidence.

The timeline for each training plan should run well beyond the initial implementation. As users become more proficient they will want to understand more advanced CRM functions and processes.

Imagine being able to schedule CRM training whenever you need.

Our Managed Support for Microsoft Dynamics includes complimentary training hours that can be scheduled for any CRM training requirements enabling users to improve their skills and master new CRM processes.

5. Personalise CRM

From the outset your CRM database should be personalised to match your business processes and terminology, and passes the critical test of user relevancy.

For example, field titles, workflows and reports should be adapted to fit the way your work.

6. Keep CRM Simple

CRM systems have so many great features but do users need them all right now?

Users hate interfaces that are cluttered with irrelevant features which creates an immediate barrier to adoption.

Personalise the Microsoft Dynamics layout for a clean interface that reflects only the features that users currently need. More CRM functions can always be switched on later when they’re needed.

7. Communicate Openly Between Teams

Successful CRM isn’t a single department solution.

By connecting teams to a single data source processes can be integrated between teams but good communication remains essential to ensure that information flows smoothly throughout the organisation and duplication is avoid.

For example, CRM systems like Dynamics CRM will automatically score leads but are sales and marketing teams on the same page when it comes to defining what makes a lead ‘sales ready’?

8. Make it Mobile

Users demand mobile accessibility to business data so to be relevant your CRM database needs to be easily available on multiple devices.

Choose a system that’s widely accessible by smartphones and tablets that will support mobile user teams and enable mobile access.

9. Replicate Social Tools

Users will find CRM a more relevant experience if they can apply functions which they’re already familiar with.

Increasingly this includes social tools so implement a CRM system that enables users to ‘follow’ accounts, sales opportunities and other records to receive alerts when important actions occur, or ‘like’ CRM posts and share entries that promote better team collaboration.

10. Get Executive Support

Users will want to see if the people who bought or promoted the system are serious about it and CRM isn't just another passing fad.

Top executives have much to gain from CRM so they need to set an example by talking about CRM, promoting CRM and most importantly, using it.

11. Friendly Competition

Reward the most proficient users by using CRM metrics to create healthy competition and instil acceptance.

For example celebrate, who closed the most service cases, converted the highest number of leads, completed the most outbound calls, or has the best data entry accuracy.

Ensure transparency using CRM dashboards so individuals and teams can chart their progress.

12. Cleanse Data

Begin using your shiny new CRM system with quality data from the start.

Before you migrate legacy records purge duplicates and outdated contacts to instil user confidence in the data they’re working with.

13. Make CRM Easier

Personalise CRM so it makes users working lives easier.

For example, show how it reduces those repetitive manual tasks and replace them with automated processes, or how it reports data on-demand that currently takes hours to collate.

14. Create a CRM Champion

Appoint an internal CRM champion who’ll assist with internal training and be the go-to person to manage user requests for future database customisation.

15. Small Footsteps

As well as lowering the upfront expense of CRM an initially small scale implementation will help users build confidence with the application.

A phased implementation is a popular strategy for teams implementing their first CRM system allowing people to master the basics without feeling overwhelmed by a project that attempts to achieve too much, too quickly.

16. Create a Record Card View

Personalise the CRM system so that when a record is clicked the users can clearly see all the essential information in a concise display.

For a service case this will include a brief description, current status, priority level, last contact date, customer name and responsible user.

17. Integrate CRM

CRM is more relevant to users when it works with applications they already use.

This can include Outlook, an accounts database, email marketing service, company website and Sharepoint.

Ensure CRM integration is included in your implementation plan, even if it's not part of the initial deployment.

18. Seek Feedback

Keep the lines of communication open following the initial CRM training encouraging users to share their experiences and recommendations.

Use feedback to make modifications in future CRM updates that will strengthen the relationship with users.

19. Connect CRM with Social Networks

Help users develop closer relationships with customers and other contacts by enabling them to follow their social network updates in the CRM interface.

20. Keep CRM Issues Open & Public

Despite your best efforts some CRM sceptics will remain.

Getting these individuals to express their point openly is key, left unchecked they can spread dissent and prove a negative influence.

Tackle genuine CRM issues directly so others can assess their validity, limiting any damage to user adoption or motivation.

21. Future Proof CRM

User adoption will head south if the application doesn’t keep pace with new requirements and future change.

It may not be possible to forecast all your future needs but assess how scalable the platform is to accommodate what customisation and integration is likely, and check how much development the manufacturer is investing in its development.

Define your vision for CRM and ask potential vendors how they will support you in achieving it.

22. Keep it all in CRM

If people are still allowed to hold their own data sources CRM will never fulfil its full potential.

CRM is all about sharing and increasing the visibility of customer relationships.

The more people who contribute information to this shared system, the more value will result for everyone.

CRM Implementation Support & Training

With over 20 years CRM implementation experience Preact work with businesses achieve success with CRM. We do this by projecting managing implementation, user training and support CRM systems.

Here is an example from one of our clients that has their user adoption strategy nailed on!


You might not want to go to the length of creating customer graphics but if you are serious about making a success of CRM why not contact us to discuss your requirements and get advice from our CRM experts.

For more planning recommendations read our 11 step plan for CRM success.