Engage Users with CRM Training

Ann All

Earlier this week in my post about using software-as-a-service for CRM, I made the point that companies must not neglect such important non-technical tasks as defining their CRM processes and training users.

Because SaaS is pitched as a fast and easy alternative to on-premise software, I think these steps are getting neglected. Why offer training if a few clicks are all it takes for a user to accomplish most tasks? Yet making that kind of an assumption will wreck a CRM implementation, whether or not it involves SaaS. It's a point that merits continued emphasis, as SaaS is an increasingly popular choice for companies of all sizes.

Like most knowledge workers, I can say from personal experience that folks won't use a system if they aren't comfortable with it. If anything, it's worse with systems we're told are simple and intuitive. That just makes you feel stupid if you have problems, and even less likely to want to use it.

So I was pleased to see this post from Richard Boardman on his The CRM Consultant blog, in which he offers eight smart suggestions for training CRM users. Three of my favorites:

  • Training should be tailored to the role a user performs. You'll expect your telemarketing team and your pre-sales team to do different things with the system, so make sure the training reflects that.
  • Training should be geared to your company's specific processes and any supporting customizations. Training should go beyond how to use the software to how to use it in context with your organization. (This reinforces the importance of strong underlying processes, a point I have been been harping on lately.)
  • Training should be an ongoing effort, because new staff will join your organization and new features will be added to the system over time. Refresher training is also a good idea, as folks will forget how to do things. This is especially true for those who use a system relatively infrequently or use only a limited set of features.

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Oct 29, 2008 12:14 PM John Paterson John Paterson  says:
You are right indeed when you say that ...folks wont use a (CRM) system if they arent comfortable with it. The first step should be to make sure that the systems the offending company is using enable ease of use. The second is to ensure that staff are making use of the CRM tools that they have access to.When the major reason for failure in CRM implementations is rejection or disinterest by the sales people simplicity becomes key.Why is simplicity not a fundamental criteria, especially when most products are good enough? Simple products are easier to use and go wrong less often. Easier to use means that people use them more often and with more success, going wrong less often means happier users and an IT department not distracted by fixing problems.Too often companies make purchasing decisions for applications based on features, not ease of use, and then find that those extra features get in the way of usability. CRM adoption has always been an issue and the solution is to make the software easy to use, not more complex. Companies need to make sure that simplicity is as important a factor as functionality when choosing CRM systemsYours faithfully,John Paterson Managing DirectorReally Simple Systemswww.reallysimplesystems.com Reply
Nov 3, 2008 6:53 AM Kees Vogelesang Kees Vogelesang  says:
Interesting topic in which I miss one element that also drives usage. The MANAGER.Training focused on the manager is key to ensure consistent usage. Especially first line management can make a difference in the adoption by sales reps. When people continuously see management using crm and asking questions on content, you will notice adoption rates going up.I do agree with John on the ease of use. Why are so many people using social networks, blog etc.? They are interested (pull mechanism) and its ease of use. When developing applications this is a 'must have' these days.Finally, trainings need to be more geared towards the real benefits for the end user. Too many times it is only about the corporate benefits. Give it some time to come up with ideas that show benefits for the end user. See it as a sales training. Make them enthusiastic and show how things make their life easier. And ... make the customer even more happy. In the end it is all about the customer. Reply
Jul 21, 2010 12:14 PM Intelestream Intelestream  says:

At Intelestream, we take training seriously. If an organization is implementing a new CRM system and requires staff training, the training is tailored to the company's needs and the user's business case. A CRM implementation should not be considered complete until the end users are confident navigating the system. As this article point out, this will greatly improve adoption and success. To learn more about user adoption tips, you can read the following whitepaper at http://www.intelestream.net/en/whitepapers/crm-adoption.html


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