Does this picture look familiar when speaking about your CRM application?
user experience vs design2

Most software implementations, even if initiated by the business – end up in the IT department. While not always the case, this transfer of responsibility for the CRM deployment starts a chain reaction that becomes increasingly difficult to stop.

First, when requirements are gathered and simply passed across to IT departments to implement, key business stakeholders become less involved and their engagement is limited. Subsequently when implemention is complete, user training aims at covering the new system’s functionality – rather than working from the perspective of day-to-day use by the different end users and stakeholders.

And this gets worse. When training is deployed at the end of the project, the budget tends to be stretching thin – resulting in one-off training events. Ongoing change management becomes something that is talked about but not lived in practise.

Subsequently, adoption of the system is not what you were expecting and therefore the business benefit gains touted by your software vendor are well below expectations.

rain cloud is currently the most implemented CRM software. A lot has been written about how to encourage better adoption and according to most articles it boils down to these principles, taken from ‘Best Practises for Implementing Salesforce CRM’ published by

1. Identify and reward the strongest adopters.

For example, reward those who created the most Reports or Activities or added the most new Contacts. One company gave away iPods to the strongest adopters.

2.Communicate about new product features that will help users in their daily work

3. Take the approach, “If it isn’t in Salesforce CRM, it doesn’t exist.

4.Tie adoption to compensation.

5. Mandate both timeliness and data quality.

Reps must enter prospects and early-stage Opportunities immediately, not just before closing the deal. Otherwise, you lose the advantage of early visibility and won’t be able to measure close ratios.

Additionally, it is good practise to measure your adoption regularly and most importantly take actions where necessary such as further user training.

So, if these principles are published and widely agreed upon, why is user adoption still poor in a lot of companies?

In my opinion it is because when the initial euphoria has settled down, there is little replacing it.

For example, most companies will have an initial training programme to train new users. However, there is no budget for refresher courses, further deep dives or new feature training.

To aid adoption, user training has to be an ongoing programme with many companies having great success with pre-recorded video training sessions stored in a central location (ideally Salesforce). This way the user can get knowledge on-demand, when they need it and the functionality they were looking for is likely being used going forward.

Another idea is having a refresher training part of quarterly meetings. This works extremely well for new functionality, especially if it coincides with new Salesforce releases.

Also, if C-level executives are  accepting information that has not been recorded within Salesforce, it opens the doors for lower level managers to continue with their spreadsheets. And ‘hard copy reports’ make it hard to accept real-time data as the way to manage your business – as it’s quickly out of date.


Your change management programme needs to address their concerns and so does your training. Ensuring that top level execs know how to use the system (or at least how to read/interpret it) is crucial to the success of your implementation.

Another aspect often undervalued is the need to make using the system easy and valuable for the end users.

Tools like bi-directional email integration, enabling list view inline editing, having profiles where only the fields used by the specific profile are not optional, are key to your CRM success. And so is getting your super users to engage others about how ‘cool’ the new features are, and how to use them.

In summary, user adoption has to be an ongoing programme of change management with regular training updates. Making the tool valuable for the end-user is as crucial as ensuring that your managers are trained in what they need out of your new CRM.

Westbrook International Limited is a Gold Partner and an expert in CRM implementations. We are passionate about your on-going success and will be available to assist you in a successful training and adoption programme.


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