6 Ways To Improve CRM Adoption and 10 Pitfalls To Avoid

by Jim Berkowitz on September 9, 2010

Here’s some great advice from John Paterson, CEO & Founder of Really Simple Systems, CRM Systems, 10 Pitfall to Avoid:

One of the keys to making the most of a CRM system is getting the whole of the company to embrace it. If reluctant staff cannot see the benefit, and only enter the minimum data or simply ignore the new system, then the investment is wasted. Here are some suggestions to improve adoption:

How to get company staff to use the CRM System

1. At the top – ensure senior management use and are seen using and benefiting from it.
2. Choose a lead user in each department – somebody who both has a positive attitude to the CRM system and who commands their peers’ respect.
3. Give sales administrators ownership of the data.
4. Ensure all managers use the system as the prime source of information when it has been rolled out to their teams.
5. Use the system information to manage – reports only work if the underlying data is correct.
6. A CRM system gives visibility of the account manager’s prospects, contacts and opportunities – something some sales people might prefer not to reveal. You can introduce rules as sticks to encourage sales staff, but it may be better to use the new system to form part of a bonus structure.

Ten CRM System pitfalls to avoid…


1. Pick the best system for you, don’t set out to design the ultimate.
2. It’s better for the sales teams to be the lead designers of the system although the marketing department is one of the biggest beneficiaries.
3. Don’t expect everybody to just pick it up.
4. Don’t forget training, even if it is only a short course for sales people.
5. Sales people can function perfectly happily without a corporate CRM system – and many prefer it that way. Use encouragement, carrots and sticks. Motivation is as important as understanding.
6. Get help, even if it is just a day of a supplier’s time to go through the issues.
7. Make it somebody’s responsibility to own the data.
8. Keep the technology as simple as you can.
9. If the CEO and the VP Sales uses the system, and are seen to use the system, then that culture has a chance of permeating the organization.
10. The right choice for you will ultimately be a compromise between price and functionality, versus ease of use.

Only if the whole management team jointly agree that the CRM system is a key part of meeting the organisation’s objectives, and then commit to use it, will the full benefits be realized.

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