We all start our CRM implementation projects with the objective to achieve high adoption rates and really deliver to our organization the holy grail of CRM. The end result often times is a lot less amazing than what we hoped for. I explored the key reasons responsible for poor user adoption in this blog and began to outline nine things you can do to strategically drive adoption within your organization. In this blog I look at the first three actions that, from our experience, will help you address adoption from the start. And I really do mean from the start. Do not be tempted to make engaging with your stakeholders and users an afterthought. It only means you will be spending the same or more effort and money later.
For adoption to be high people have to actively engage with the CRM program from the start. They must understand how changing their way of working will benefit the company objectives as well as themselves. This brings me to the first three key ingredients to high adoption rates.
1. Paint a clear CRM vision and roadmap aligned to overall company objectives
Companies that achieve high rates of adoption tie their CRM project to their overall company objectives. Determining how the project will support the overall company goals gives the project a 'higher purpose' and establishes it as a vital project. Is your company looking to achieve growth, then starting with sales may be a logical first step. Depending on the specific business dynamics and your customer base you may want to excell at getting new customers in the door, drive cross & upsell at existing customers or avoid existing customers from turning their backs on you by providing excellent customer service. Depending on your circumstances, you would decide differently on your priorities and the order in which you will execute these priorities within your project. Preparing a good story on what you are looking to achieve and placing corresponding objectives in an easy to understand roadmap will proof really beneficial throughout the project. It is a framework to go back to, assess requirements against (is this requirement really needed..) and explain the need to change. It also forces you to think beyond the tool, addressing also people, processes, KPI's and content in light of achieving your company goals.
2. Create a solid plan to demonstrate early wins and create a sustainable environment for success
Once you know where you want to go, it is important to define how you will get there. As the dot is on the horizon, you are now able to define small incremental steps to reaching these goals. As you understand where your priorities are, define a minimum lovable product. Lovable? Yes, we are no longer talking about viable as the concept has focused too much on getting the basics in place, which created a lot of unlovable solutions. Focus on doing a few things well and solve real business problems. Such quick-wins create a great platform of success to build on. It also avoids spending a lot of money and getting questions from your organisation why there are no results yet. Building momentum is crucial and taking small deliberate steps the best way to start a cycle of continuous improvement in which everyone wants to participate.
3. Assemble the right team to identify and remedy poor adoption, collaborate effectively and solicit regular feedback
So you know your destination and you have determined which road you will take to get there. It is time to get walking right? Not yet... If you do, you will find that you are well on your way and the organization is still at the start. Nobody can drive adoption by themselves. You need allies, advocates who support you in making the project a success, work with their peers to adopt the solution. Indeed you need a product owner, a project manager and other project specific roles. However the only people who will remain the driving force behind the new CRM when the project is completed are your key users. Establish a great team of key users from different parts of your organization (e.g. country, business unit, department etc.). Give them clear instructions on what is expected from them, setup a meeting cadence to reflect and action on feedback from the users and enable them to coach and support their colleagues in the new way of working. Provide them with the reports and dashboards to see how well the solution is being used and use best practices from one part of the organization in another.
I will go into more detail how you can engage key users early and often in the next and third edition of this blog series. I will also discuss how process improvements and usability can help drive adoption. Check back soon and contact us in case of questions!
Finally: Find part 1 of this blog series here.