One of the most commonly asked questions from our clients is: how do we drive Microsoft Dynamics CRM user engagement?
The answer to this question isn’t always straightforward, but from our professional experience we have seen it all. From users that are excited about CRM, want to be involved, and can’t wait to get access to the system…as well as users that are forced to conform to management’s optimized plan, leaving users frustrated . There are a lot of factors that come into play when implementing a large company-wide solution such as CRM, but how do you get your employees to be excited to use and adopt CRM?
Here are some useful tips that work for our clients:
Early User Involvement
We see better results with user adoption when the end users are involved early in the planning process. By asking the users what they want in a tool, they tend to get energized and emotionally invested. They can’t wait for the release of the tool and the customizations the tool will provide to allow them to do their jobs more efficiently. These users pay attention during training sessions, ask the right questions, and play a key role in being an advocate for the final product.
Despite how many times we encourage clients to get end users involved upfront, some companies think they know what’s best for their users and they want to make all the executive decisions for them, because as you guessed it “They know what’s best for their employees”. This scenario tends to leave the users frustrated with the end solution, left with questions, and they often do not have a desire to use the tool.
If you can’t involve some of your users in the entire process, at least ask their opinion upfront. Getting user buy in early can go a long way.
Ease Them In
CRM can be overwhelming to someone who has never used the tool before. It is important to ease users into CRM with small doses of ongoing training. The reporting features in CRM work the best when data is complete and accurate. Therefore, training is a necessity!
High level group trainings are a good start to getting users up to speed with CRM. We recommend including hands on labs for users to apply what they have learned during the trainings, and that way they have time to ask questions from the experts. However, don’t just stop there! In addition to a live classroom based training, we often encourage shorter web trainings or how to instructions on specific topics. This way users can subscribe to the specific topics that are of interest to them, or reference the instructions later. Finally, power users should be appointed to answer questions and help others with their day-to-day tasks within CRM. Not everyone has to be an expert as long as they know someone who is or where to go to get help if they get stuck.
Some companies don’t want to put a lot of time and money toward training, but we have seen much better results when users are properly trained in using CRM. Upfront investment on training can save time and frustration for both existing and as new users come on board
The Executive Push
Executives need to use CRM themselves. How do you expect your employees to be onboard with the idea, if you don’t use the tool yourself? It is important that executives are fully committed to using CRM, drive employee traffic to CRM, and continually pull reporting data out of CRM.
For example, executives and upper level management should drive the use of CRM by saying things like “I was looking in CRM and did not see….” The important point here being, they should always point users back to CRM. CRM allows for reporting and dashboards that can really help drive business when employees are fully engaged in using CRM. The better the data you put into CRM the better reporting data you will get out of CRM for your strategy meetings.
Make CRM Useful
Be sure to keep the end user in mind when customizing your CRM solution. While reports and dashboards make for great management and data analysis tools, saving users time and grief when doing their day to day tasks will help encourage user acceptance and provide better data at the end of the day. I get that management would love to spend resources customizing CRM to produce fancy dashboards of sales pipeline data or marketing stats, but you can’t get what you looking for if you don’t get your employees to adopt and use CRM. Make sure to customize CRM in a way that saves your employees time, headaches, and frustrations over their old way of doing things. By automating manual processes, creating workflows that route processes, and sending relevant notifications, CRM can quickly grow into a tool that employees actually want to use!
Make CRM Fun
Sometimes you do all the right things in planning your CRM implementation, but you just can’t get that culture push in the right direction. Something that may work for you is to try to make CRM use fun & competitive. Encourage employees to use CRM by making a game out of it. Some ideas include creating badges, leaderboards, a rewards system, or even something as simple as public recognition. Creating weekly challenges or team goals can also be beneficial. There are endless possibilities in this category, but the important thing to remember is driving traffic back into CRM is the goal.
Identify KPIs that are important to your organizations goals and make sure to report on the progress of these goals consistently. KPIs within CRM can help with sales and marketing goals. In addition, after collecting data for a period of time, you can start to analyze trends in the data and begin to develop a more aggressive sales and marketing strategy.
Your employees are a huge part of the KPIs as they user CRM for their day-to-day tasks, and they need the importance of their efforts on the company-wide goal.
Keep it All in CRM
There is a process change or perhaps cultural change that has to happen with using CRM rather than old methods of keeping track of data. It is important to not allow users to hold on to their own data sources. If employees send you a spreadsheet, tell them you can’t look at it until they put it in CRM. If employee email you to get information and you know it is in CRM, point them in the right direction rather than looking it up and answering their question.
Many times we hear horror stories of important documents that get lost when computers crash, employees leave, or the documents just happen to get misplaced. One of the many advantages of using CRM is that you can track and search for those documents, emails, and data points that are important to your business. In addition, if employee roles change or turnover occurs you can still go back and reference their history and interaction with clients via CRM.
Collaborate Across Departments
One final point is that CRM can be used as a central repository across departments to store and locate data. There are also useful tools that can import data from other systems into CRM, essentially linking them together. This is helpful because the then you are consolidating the data into a single point of entry and preventing repetitive work. The goal of CRM is to be the source of truth, and a way for employees to get all the data they need in one place, not just bits and pieces. Encouraging collaboration among departments will drive employee engagement with CRM.
If you are considering switching to CRM or customizing your existing CRM, we would be excited to help you make it a success. And from our experience engaging your employees to use CRM is key!