The Need of the Hour-CRM User Adoption

David Faye, CEO, Faye Business Systems Group

David Faye, CEO, Faye Business Systems Group

I attended a meeting last week with a company considering the purchase of CRM Software, and specifically SugarCRM software. The big topic is—how they get their salespeople to use it. When meeting with companies about accounting or ERP software, no one ever asks “how do I get my users to use the software?” What is it about CRM that drives this conversation? Why isn’t it just assumed that sales people or support people will use the software, an organization purchases to make them more productive?

I think part of it is that some salespeople believe they can do their job without it. A controller or accounts payable clerk would never think they could do their job without financial software. An inventory manager would never believe he could manage inventory without software. Did it take a long time for accounting people to think that actual accounting software is more effective than Excel? Yet, here we are in 2016 and some salespeople still believe they can manage their prospects and customer relationships without any real software application to support them. Are we, in the CRM industry, doing an abysmal job of promoting and evangelizing what the software does?

I’ve written many articles on strategies for best practices of CRM software adoption, but in this piece I’d rather just pose the question—why do we have to create strategies for this? Why isn’t it self-evident? I think part of it is definitely a management issue. If management goes to the trouble of purchasing and implementing software, they need to expect and demand usage of it. If management purchased some new accounting software, what would they say if their AP Clerk handed them a hand-written check to sign? So, when management purchases and implements new CRM software, why do they allow their salespeople to submit pipeline information in a spreadsheet?

  ​We are in 2016 and some salespeople still believe they can manage their prospects and customer relationships without any real software application to support them  

Maybe those of us in the CRM industry are part of the problem also? Maybe we need to stop talking about user ’adoption’ and instead talk more about user ‘selection’? If you have a controller that refuses to use accounting software to manage accounts receivable, what do you do? Surely, you likely find a new controller who will. If you have a sales rep that won’t use CRM software to manage their pipeline, you know where this is going.

One of the great things about the world we live in today is that the availability of technology to help businesses is greater than ever. There are powerful systems available for demand generation, customer and lead management, and order fulfillment. These are systems that didn’t exist, in some cases, even 10 years ago, and now, not only do they exist, but they talk to each other. These are tools that can help in ways that were unimaginable in the past. Let’s make sure our users know all this and take advantage. And as you think about this, the question can’t be “will my employees use the software?” The question must be “why wouldn’t my employees use the software?”

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