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Engage Users with CRM Training

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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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