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5 Ways to Increase CRM User Adoption

3.26.15 By: Erica Korer

Implementing a new CRM platform is an exciting step for an organization, but it’s also a period of  major upheaval for that organization’s system users. Change is always a challenge, but with a bit of planning, you can help users embrace the new CRM with an open mind and ease the transition. Here are five tips to make this process as smooth as possible: 

  1. Get stakeholder buy-in as early as possible.

As soon as you start looking into optimizing your CRM, take stock of all of the anticipated users of your new system. For a nonprofit, there may be program staff, development staff, volunteers, board members, and others. If you have a large organization, designate a representative from each group to attend meetings, ask questions, and disseminate information. First and foremost, emphasize how integral technology is to your organization and how a CRM will help you meet your goals through solid reporting and accountability. Remember, by reporting real impact instead of anecdotes, you advance your mission.

  1. Find out what your stakeholders’ major pain points are.

Are your colleagues spending too much time doing manual data entry? Are they attending too many meetings? Through a CRM you can measure these things and set goals for improvement. Ideally, you want to eliminate duplicate efforts and facilitate collaboration. System users should be able to quickly access and share information.

  1. Be as transparent as possible in your decision making.

Provide an overview of your CRM selection and explain the reasons for choosing a particular system. Outline the benefits, but set realistic expectations. A new CRM may be beneficial in many ways, but it won’t be magic.  Underscore that this will be a learning process with continuous improvement. Get used to setting expectations early and often.

  1. Document, document, document.

Once the system is launched, you should prepare a written plan to keep everyone involved. Unanticipated issues will come up, and your system will require tweaks. Plan for this to be a lengthy process and stay involved. Have a process in place for how to log issues and ask questions.

  1. Designate a go-to person.

To make sure your system is optimally adopted, there should to be a go-to person post-launch. If this is you, make yourself known! Develop relationships with your system users, and learn to trust each other. Sit with people while they’re working, and ask them to show you what they do. Note workarounds that develop in the face of system deficiencies so that you can look into fixes. Use Salesforce Chatter to share successes and new reports with your whole organization.

Your organization should have an admin who can support the new system. If it doesn’t, engage the tech support services of your consulting partner or take some training to bring some basic expertise in-house.

BONUS TIP: Look out for Super Users

As the new system is adopted, Super Users will naturally emerge. These are users who are learning the system the quickest and can be its strongest advocates. With their consent, formalize their roles, regularly soliciting feedback and identifying them to other end users as go-to people for questions.

Remember, the process will get smoother with time. In the meanwhile, it’s helpful to acknowledge the bumps along the road and validate your users’ concerns as they arise, letting them know their concerns are being addressed. And of course, remember to thank them for their time!

Want more advice on getting your team on board? 


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