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Your CRM Cannot Be More Successful than its User Adoption

For sales force automation, the best customer relationship management system is the one that makes users successful.  For that to happen, users must adopt the CRM.  It doesn't do much good to have a brilliant design for a system that salespeople do not use.

This means that you must measure adoption both in quantity and in quality of usage.  How often does your sales team access CRM? Do they use mobile or desktop clients?  You can determine these from the user logs. 

What is the quality of your opportunity data?  Beyond the required fields, how good are your sales team members at filling in details such as lead source, opportunity rating, and other fields? 

How fresh is the data?  Do you see estimated close dates in the past?  That would indicate the opportunity has not been updated recently.  Does the opportunity record become more populated as the opportunity progresses?  

One of the best ways to encourage adoption of the CRM is to use it as the basis for pipeline calls.  Don't ask sales execs to extract data and create PowerPoint presentations to share the pipeline.  Instead, look at the CRM directly.  Create views that highlight opportunities worthy of discussion, such as upcoming proposals due, or delayed opportunities.  Sort opportunities by owner so each sales exec can discuss their opportunities.

If you do not get the adoption you seek, find out why.  Is data entry so burdensome that account execs are put off? Do you need more training to help users become proficient?  Should you streamline opportunity entry to start with only the basics and later switch to a more complete view?

The sales team wants to be successful, and CRM can make their job easier if it fits with their behavior - you can change one or both to increase your performance. 

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