11 Proven Ways to Boost Dynamics 365 User Adoption

CRM User Adoption

If your organisation is thinking of investing in a new Dynamics 365 system, your employees must see early value from the application to capitalise on this opportunity.

Poor user adoption is consistently cited as the main reason many CRM projects fail to achieve their goals. When organisations focus only on completing the implementation project on time and within the budget, they risk failing to consider what's required to secure end-user adoption.

Or, perhaps your organisation has already deployed Dynamics 365, but your team aren't fully utilising the system and are struggling to maximise its value?

How can you ensure end-users embrace new CRM technology and keep them engaged so they continue deriving value in the long term? In this blog, we share ten ways how you can strengthen Dynamics 365 adoption in your organisation.

1. Secure buy-in from key business users upfront

Adoption issues are often attributed to a lack of consultation with user representatives in the early stages of CRM projects. When key users are involved in these planning decisions, the resulting system is more likely to be relevant to their usage needs.

They should be part of the product demonstrations or trials to identify how Dynamics 365 should be personalised to solve their team's challenges. They'll ask pertinent questions from a user perspective and provide feedback to steer project decisions. This way, the deployed system will be aligned to users' expectations, and they will have a more significant stake in the CRM project to ensure it is a success.

These key business users should stay involved from the scoping phase until user acceptance testing to ensure continuity. They will completely understand the project requirements and can potentially become super users once a project goes live. Many projects struggle with adoption because the critical stakeholders involved change at each stage, and no one has a clear vision of what they want from the system.

2. Keep it simple!

A simple, intuitive system always makes the adoption process smoother. Initially, you might not require the complete set of functionality available within a specific Dynamics module. Avoid overwhelming end users with a cluttered sitemap and features you don't need now. Prioritise what's essential to drive early results.

If you are managing Dynamics users struggling with the system's complexities, consider how this can be personalised and where improvements can be made for how they work with the data in Dynamics. Potential examples could include using Power App Component Frameworks (PCF) controls that offer a more visual experience for interacting with data. Examples include barcode scanners, toggle controls, number inputs, rich text controls and ratings.

Suppose several user groups in your organisation use a single Dynamics 365 application. In this scenario, you may find the site map is proving complicated for users to navigate, involving multiple tables and business processes. To simplify this, deploy custom Dynamics apps that only include the elements relevant to each workgroup.

3. Personalise the system

Your CRM system should be personalised to match your workflows, terminology, and logic rules, to pass the critical test of user relevancy. For example, field titles, workflows, and reports should be adapted to fit the way you work so users feel comfortable right from the start.

Also, enable and encourage users to apply their personalised views and dashboards that will help them manage the data that's important to them. You can add or remove the fields you don't want on forms, edit values in the dropdown or change column names in tables.

4. Communication is key

When a new system is introduced, some team members may be wary and resistant to change. Communicating change early will give people ample time to be prepared, voice any concerns and clarify their queries. Develop an internal communication plan that details what is changing, why this is happening, when it will take effect, who will be affected, and what is needed before the go-live, so they don’t feel overwhelmed. Communicating once is not enough, do it often and in phases so they know of its importance and will feel the need to adopt the application quickly.

To gain their buy-in, show how Dynamics 365 will make their working day more manageable by promoting the direct benefits the system can achieve for them.

Dynamics 365 can save hours of manual data handling time by simplifying processes and automating repetitive tasks, empowering everyone to serve customers betters and make informed decisions with trusted data.

For instance, if your sales teams spend a lot of time doing administration work, demonstrate how automated tasks in Dynamics 365 Sales can eliminate this to improve productivity, shorten sales cycles and boost win rates.

5. Begin with CRM 1.0

As well as lowering the upfront expense of CRM, an initially small-scale implementation will help users build confidence with the application as they see early benefits. A phased implementation is a recommended strategy, allowing teams to master the basics without feeling overwhelmed by a project that attempts to achieve too much, too quickly.

Many organisations think of first-time implementation as their one shot to get all the features in. This will only add to the risk and impact on project delivery and user adoption. Focus on going live with a minimum viable product, and add additional features to the application later.

6. Provide adequate training

A one-size-fits-all approach does not work when it comes to user training. For instance, the priorities of sales and marketing teams and what they look for in a CRM system are different, and the training should reflect that.

Beyond essential user familiarisation tuition, provide training that focuses explicitly on each user group's functionality and processes.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 may be intuitive, but it does contain advanced functions and broader platform capabilities where in-depth training will enable users to benefit more fully. User adoption can become even more challenging when onboarding new employees who work remotely or in a hybrid model. That's where online training provided by Preact can help.

Dynamics eLearning is another way to simplify the onboarding process. It enables new users to quickly gain confidence and become proficient by applying what they learn through guided on-demand training modules.

7. Create a buzz about using the system

The user adoption process doesn't always have to be technical, and it's always good to be creative!

For instance, we have seen customers driving Dynamics adoption with gamification. Some have created friendly competition, rewarding users who created the most records in the system and displaying results on a leaderboard to add some fun to their Dynamics project.

This part often gets missed in smaller organisations when project leaders fail to excite people to use a new system rather than being told to use it. Consider innovative and less formal methods to motivate employees to use CRM effectively.

8. Integrate to avoid duplication of efforts

If you've already deployed Dynamics, but employees continue to juggle between different apps and struggle with data silos and manual processes, adoption is unlikely to pick up. That's why you need to identify opportunities to integrate Dynamics with other applications such as Outlook, Teams, marketing automation services, Sharepoint, or relevant third-party systems. As a result, users will benefit from using a single application to work with their data and simplify their processes.

It may also highlight the need to remove the reliance on any spreadsheets or applications where this data can be better managed and connected using Dynamics 365.

A fully integrated solution gives teams more time to do their job, improves efficiency, and prevents users from seeing CRM as another disconnected system that increases their workload.

9. Use CRM data in meetings

Leaders must demonstrate usage of the CRM system as much as they want their teams to adopt it. Quote CRM data and use these metrics as the basis for reporting, discussion, and celebrating the achievement of goals.

For example, a service team leader can share Dynamics 365 Customer Service data to report how many cases were logged last month, commend the individuals who resolved the most issues and pinpoint which problems are consuming the most time.

Doing this will firmly embed CRM within your organisation and develop a culture of data-driven decision-making.

10. Ongoing data management

Any CRM system is only as good as the data it stores. Before migrating data, remove duplicates and outdated contacts to ensure that you bring only trusted, quality data into your new system.

If records are duplicates, inaccurate, or missing, trust and confidence in the system will evaporate because its insights generate no meaningful value. After completing the data import, maintain this with controls and checks to enforce standards and ensure the data remains accurate.

For instance, add a field in the Dynamics record to track when contact details were last updated to prompt users when communicating with a customer to confirm if the details are correct and update if necessary.

Preact has also built a Data Retention Policy solution for some of our customers to help them proactively track why records are stored in Dynamics 365 and which should potentially be removed. This allows organisations to stay compliant with data protection laws and helps to extract more value from data. Appoint a champion who will oversee this activity and instil a culture of periodically cleaning the data.

11. Define goals, review usage, and make continuous improvements

CRM is a long-term investment, and this will always be a work in progress. Leaders should define clear, measurable goals and continually review CRM usage against these benchmarks for lasting adoption.

Even if the early engagement signs are positive, without proper monitoring, there is a risk that users will fall back on old ways of working. If adoption is low among specific individuals or user groups, ask them to express their concerns openly, assess the validity of these issues and act quickly to gain their confidence.

Encourage employees to provide feedback on what changes or additional features they want to see in the application to get more value. Involve Preact, or your Dynamics support partner, to make further enhancements so that your system continues to evolve and make sure you are responsive to user-driven change.

Monitor and communicate the regular product updates released by Microsoft to understand how new features can be leveraged and provide familiarisation training as appropriate.

Next steps

CRM user adoption can be tricky! That's why you don't have to do it all alone. Whether you are evaluating Dynamics 365 as a new CRM solution or if you are facing challenges with an existing system, Preact will help you in every step to ensure you see the success you envisioned.

If you are struggling with the quality of support from your current partner or feel your system is underutilised, we will help get things back on track with our Dynamics 365 take-on consultancy.

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Contact us today if you have any questions about Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation or adoption, and we’ll be in touch.

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