A CRM is the hub of your organization, streamlining your business processes to increase productivity and sales. Most companies recognize the value of a CRM, and according to CRM Magazine, 91% of companies with 10 or more employees have a CRM.

However, a study by Merkle Group Inc. found that CRM initiatives have a 63% fail rate. So, where is the disconnect? Why is a tool viewed as an important asset for business success failing so often? The primary answer is due to low adoption rates. CRM failure is often the result of team members not wanting to use it, and no one benefits from a tool not being used.

Can You Increase CRM Adoption Rates?

If you have an underutilized CRM, you’re not alone. Less than 40% of businesses have a CRM adoption rate of over 90%. Understanding the reasons your people are not using the tool will help you to determine if you can increase adoption of your current CRM, or if you need a new one that better supports your current processes.

The Most Effective Ways to Increase CRM Adoption Rates

The best CRM implementations are on easy-to-use platforms, have meaningful relevant data, and support your company’s goals and objectives. There are several ways to motivate your team to use a CRM so it becomes a meaningful contributor to your company’s growth. Here are nine of the most effective.

1. Involve Users in the Decision

Involving your team in the decision of which CRM to use or what features they need in a custom CRM increases the opportunity for buy-in. This approach makes team members more likely to see it as a tool to help them, rather than as simply a tool to manage them. Collaboration helps to provide a better understanding of your people’s workflows and also ensures you’re purchasing a system that’s of value to them.

If you have already purchased a CRM but didn’t involve your sales team, all hope is not lost. You have the opportunity to gain insight from their frustrations with the current system to determine if it’s a mindset issue or if their dissatisfaction is due to the CRM not meeting their needs. Then you can decide if there is an opportunity to continue using the system you purchased or if a new business solution is more appropriate.

2. Align to Strategic Goals

Your people need to know how to achieve your company’s goals, and the CRM should support their ability to do so. Communicate how using the CRM aligns to your company’s strategy and how your team can use the system to meet their goals and your overall company goals.

3. Communicate the Benefits

Help your sales team to see how the CRM will directly benefit them. If a team member understands how using the system improves their efficiency, reduces manual entry, and directly correlates to an increase in sales or in customer retention, they are more apt to use it.

For example, a CRM that offers features like integrations with email and document storage provides users with easy access to the information they need throughout the sales process. This will help improve adoption rates and creating loyal users.

4. Simplify and Streamline

For your CRM to be useful, you need to determine what functionality is required for the users to do their job effectively. The CRM should be user-friendly and should fit into your team’s workflow, not require that the current process be significantly modified to adapt.

5. Provide Initial and Ongoing Training

Make sure your team has the knowledge to successfully use your CRM. They need to be able to quickly start using it in their day-to-day work, without wasting time focusing on the technology. Training should be offered before the CRM goes live and should continue afterwards. Provide take-away tools, like a cheat sheet, and store materials in a learning repository for easy access.

Offer ongoing training with live group sessions, recorded videos, Q&A meetings, and even one-on-one sessions for those who need extra support. The key is to answer questions quickly to avoid frustration that might deter someone from using the CRM.

Mini-trainings on advanced topics can help keep power users engaged. Power users can be useful allies when you are trying to increase adoption rates.

6. Offer Accessibility on Multiple Platforms

Sales reps don’t do all of their work in the office, and they need a system that enables them to work when and where it’s most convenient. Mobile access on a phone or a tablet means reps don’t need to wait to enter data or to access the information they need. If a CRM is easy to use and available when needed, your people are more likely to use it.

7. Reward Usage

Go a step beyond promoting the benefits of the CRM and incentivize the behavior you want. For example, you could run a contest with a financial payout or recognition. Also, resist the urge to make exceptions for top performers who don’t use the tool, as that sends a message that usage is optional.

8. Promote Early Success

Encourage early adopters to share their positive experiences to help others understand the benefits of your CRM. This provides the opportunity for users to learn from each other by allowing them to share useful tips and stories.

9. Collect Ongoing Feedback

If you’ve already implemented a CRM and adoption rates are not what you hoped for, or if you’re looking to improve your current usage levels, you can partner with your team by requesting feedback. Ensure that the team is involved in additional customization going forward. Involving your team and implementing their feedback when appropriate will promote continued usage.

Following these steps will help business owners and management improve CRM adoption rates and create loyal team members who understand the value of using the system. Learn how The Scarpetta Group has helped businesses become more productive and more profitable through FileMaker-based solutions.