December 11, 2015

Increase CRM Adoption Rate: Guidelines & Tips to Follow


The troubled economy over the last few years and growing competition has resulted in companies struggling to retain their customers. Cost cutting measures are the order of the day now. In order to survive, companies have no other option but to outperform their competitors without inflating budgets. All these circumstances have made CRM more important than ever.

CRM has gained widespread acceptance and you can see enterprises and small businesses adopting a CRM system to fine tune their business processes and improve productivity. Having said that, one fact that you cannot choose to ignore is that not all CRM implementations are successful. The primary reason for failure is poor user adoption. Some of the reasons for CRM’s poor adoption are employee resistance, complicated CRM software, insufficient funds and time and lack of planning and preparation. Here are some tips and guidelines to follow, to increase the adoption rate of CRM.

Friendly User Interface (UI)

The user interface of any CRM you select should have a user-friendly interface. Digging customer information should be fast and easy even when dealing with large information depositories. While searching for customer information, it is necessary that the user does not miss any single crucial piece of information or lead that would be useful in the future. Here are a few things to make your CRM’s user interface more user-friendly.

  • The fields should be logically grouped and the most needed fields should be at the top of the form
  • To cut down the clutter on the screen, the less used fields should collapse into Tabs. This will also improve loading speed.
  • Any field that is not used should be removed from the form.


Proper CRM training is an important element to increase CRM adoption. You need to make sure all users are provided with proper training that will help them understand the working and features of CRM. This will increase their awareness and comfort level with CRM. You should not forget the fact that people use systems that they understand and are familiar with.

Consider educating users in the following areas- Navigation and Views, Dashboards and Reports, Query Training and System Administrator. The basic training provided at the initial stage is only a starting point. Continuous on-going training that focuses on highlighting new features and providing a refresher on core functionalities and processes is essential for the success of the CRM project.


The CRM should be available wherever and whenever people in your organization need it. True availability means more than simple support for mobile devices. The system should be available across workstations, phones and tablets. The CRM should be also available to the workforce in the field and beyond the regular perimeters of office. The relevant data should also be available in the Offline mode and the system should sync with updated data as soon as the device comes online. The mobility factor makes CRM easier to use and the adoption rate is bound to increase.


Besides making it mandatory that everyone must use the CRM system, it is also necessary to develop a culture and practice of holding people accountable for their actions. It is a well known fact that a strong culture of accountability encourages technology adoption. In such an environment, people in your organization will understand what they do matters and they will adjust their behavior and performance accordingly. If there is no accountability factor, it sends a message to people in your organization that it doesn’t matter whether they adopt the technology or not, irrespective of what the big leaders of the organization say in their speeches or meetings.

To create a culture of accountability, Managers need to have complete visibility of their team’s activities in the CRM. For examples, the sales manager should be able to view the reports of active leads, active calls and pending activities of all team members through the dashboard. Settings goals or measuring results is a great way of holding people accountable for achieving them. It’s the best policy to define upfront what exactly will be measured, who will measure it, when it will be measured, when the results will be analyzed and what actions will be taken to enforce accountability.


It is a fact that Simplicity drives CRM adoption. If the CRM does not provide easy ways to master, monitor or track, it will only increase dissatisfaction and people in your organization will want to go back to their older systems. The CRM should help users to perform various tasks easily and present simplified workflow logics. The CRM should offer well-defined opportunities and workflow, defining all pathways for different stages and user actions. It should allow users to start with fundamentals and focus on important objectives and set practical and attainable short-term goals.

Instead of using all components of the CRM together (that increases complexity), users should start with using one or more important components and figure out functionality of complex components before implementing it.


The CRM should offer the users a speedy way of doing regular tasks and not the opposite. One of the primary objectives of implementing CRM is boosting productivity which means speedy execution of tasks that helps users to improve business processes and adopt best practices as early as possible. It is good if the servers are located in your own office and the Internet access has a higher bandwidth and lower latency, to enable users to get good processing power from the CRM software.

CRM offers lots of benefits to businesses which also include benefits to people working in the organization. Implementing changes in the way of working is generally tough and higher rate of CRM adoption is only possible when the people of organization see the CRM as a help and not a hindrance.

The CRM adoption is a journey and not a destination. By following the guideline and tips given above, you can remove early hurdles to CRM adoption and ensure your businesses reap the benefits offered by CRM. In large businesses, it may not be realistic to achieve 100% CRM adoption even after following the best practices, as they have independent contractors and outside sales people. It will take time and concerted efforts to reach even a 90% user adoption level.