Success with CRM Requires Changing your Understanding & Perspective of Technology Adoption & Training
According to experts, 2020 is “the year of the customer,” making customer experience a top concern for any growth-focused organization. For many this means implementing new strategies and adding or upgrading technology solutions in order to remain competitive. To that end, 91% of existing organizations with 10 or more employees already have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution in place. While this sounds impressive, in many cases it’s not, mainly due to high volumes of CRM platforms that go unused or underused after implementation. In fact, with CRM solutions capable of providing an average ROI of $8.71 for every dollar spent, adoption is arguably one of the largest barriers to growth. Fortunately, it’s also one that can be easily addressed through training programs that hit on key elements.
The Right Data Points for Adoption:
After implementation and training have taken place, stakeholders are primed and ready to see results. They typically begin by analyzing the most readily available metrics to track platform success such as daily logins or amount of time spent on the platform as a basis to measure adoption. The problem with this approach is that logins and time spent in the system are not indicators of adoption or leveraging the technology effective to improve results. Ask yourself this question, who spends more time in the system: Someone who is well trained, efficient and focused or someone who has to ‘click around’ to find what they need before they can take action?
When implemented well, and when team members are well trained, you should see regular logins in CRM, but reduced time in the system. Your team should be spending more time ‘selling’ and engaging with the best candidates within their respective pipelines and less time should be spent making changes within the toolset.
CRM Technology by Itself is Worthless – It has to Drive Measurable Change to Matter
Logging-in to the CRM doesn’t equate to using the platform to your advantage. Adoption should be viewed as consistency of use for actions that effect outcome which can be shown to have an impact or positive change in results. Therefore, the true indicator of adoption is when each role and its function aligns with platform capabilities and results in a streamlined workload. Take a business development team as an example; tracking how many prospects they speak to and move through the funnel in a given timeframe is the true indicator of their CRM adoption. Similarly, sales and account management teams can be measured on role related tasks such as follow ups, meetings, and other scheduled pipeline activities.
Adoption can also be boiled down to a few common KPIs. Here are a few to consider:
1. Pipeline $ added per person in a period of time
2. Prospects, added, qualified and disqualified (an overlooked and important measure)
3. Pipeline valuation by sales stage in a given time period
4. Win Rate – what is actually booked from a sales process vs. just ‘taking an order’
5. Billings + Committed Pipeline (to close) vs. plan
How to Develop Growth Data Points to Measure
Key indicators of adoption vary by role which might make finding the right metrics somewhat daunting. If you’re not sure where to begin, start with answering these questions:
- How is each role measured and compensated? What activities in CRM are leading indicators of success in these measurable areas? What metrics can you define, which come from CRM, that show progress or decline in these leading indicators?
- For example: new leads, pipeline $ & count growth, closing deals, deals reaching a negotiation stage or other late stage in the sales cycle
- How does improving measurable results in these leading indicators improve the employee’s measurable success? What can be automated, or streamlined in CRM to make these key indicators more repeatable, more visible, more standardized?
- For example: compensation, overall revenue growth, certain tasks completed
Once the specifics per role are defined, tracking data points that correspond to the growth goals you’re looking for is simplified. In addition, it will become obvious which team members have not yet adopted the platform. This allows sales leadership to tailor their approach, mentoring and governance of each team member uniquely to create ‘lift’ in each person’s individual performance.
Why Most CRM Platforms Don’t Give Expected Results
A lack of awareness for which roles should use the platform is one of the most commonly overlooked parts of CRM training. While sales is the most obvious user base, every role that touches a customer should be trained to use the platform. This list generally includes customer service, inside and outside sales, business development, and marketing. Needs vary within roles and also organizations; each with a unique mix of requirements, skills, people, products, and services.
Each of these groups influences customer experience through their direct engagements. Each represents your brand and each contributes to every customer and prospects view of your organization. They all need to work together, in a collaborative environment where one group naturally supports and enables the others.
If the CRM training doesn’t trigger adoption, it’s likely because the training is too generic, your implementation didn’t account for some of these user groups sufficiently, or most likely – both
The Foundation of CRM Training is Not the Training
A successful CRM training program begins with examining a day or a week in the life of the attendee and teaching them to work smarter, using the tool sets. If executed well, the attendees won’t be aware of the behind-the-scenes alignment that took place to develop the course. All they will experience is a sense of relief and excitement around adopting a platform that makes achieving their personal goals; driving pipeline, awareness, leads, experiences and other metrics, easy. Therefore, the foundation of a successful training course lies in discovery questions, customization, and an experienced facilitator who begins with the end in mind. And to do this, you need to invest some time of subject matter experts in each respective area to influence what the training should focus on. Yes, they’re busy and highly valuable, but if it doesn’t hurt for them to give a little time to define the approach – they’re not the right people to be involved.
Align Training for Optimal Learning
Ideally CRM training is facilitated onsite, in a lab environment, and over multiple sessions that last no more than two hours each. This allows for hands-on learning with an instructor present for questions and ample time to deliver both role and company-specific curriculums. Those are the mechanics of the training. When it comes to adoption, the win is in aligning a person’s self motivations with outcomes that benefit all. This deliverable that is realized when attendees understand how technology helps achieve personal goals for which they’re already measured.
Using the CRM to its Full Capacity
CRM solutions have robust toolsets for reporting that handle everything that has been historically accomplished through spreadsheets, including tracking pipeline, leads, and revenue. One of the most important aspects of CRM training is gaining buy-in from the group that the act of entering information tied to reports into the platform drives results that benefit each individual, not just the organization). Doing so serves several purposes; it allows transparency within workgroups that aids in motivating the whole team and saves time which increases productivity. Both of which are critical to driving growth and getting measurable ROI on the CRM technology investment.
Most organizational leaders are shocked when they really understand how much time and effort is spent by their sales and customer service teams tracking information, results and progress to goals. Whenever variable compensation measures are in place, those being measured want to be able to see where they are at all times and will go to great lengths to be able to track this. Solving some of these common tasks up front results in your customer facing staff spending more time in customer facing engagements and less time collecting, validating and compiling offline data.
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