I am often asked by managers how to improve the user acceptance of their CRM system. In the eyes of the questioner, the answer lies in how to encourage, or even make, users use the platform more, in order for the organization to achieve their established expected benefits of investing in CRM. That’s the wrong focus. The issue is not how do we get the user to use CRM, but rather, is the CRM itself designed to be useful to the user so that they want to use it. Although the difference is subtle it should not be overlooked.
CRM can easily be designed to meet organizational objectives, such as driving more sales or providing a deeper customer engagement. But it can also be designed from the perspective of “how do we help our users save time, be more productive, and have the information they need at their fingertips to deliver a richer customer experience?” Users want to do their job better. We shouldn’t need to coerce them into using CRM. If that‘s necessary then we have the wrong people in our organization, which is a completely different issue. Users want to be effective and have the information they need to quickly and efficiently meet a customer’s needs.
I am always intrigued by the sales manager who starts the analysis & design phase of a CRM project by saying that there is no need to meet with sales team members, that he/she already knows what they need and that the reps don’t need to be bothered or interrupted from the process of selling. Guess what happens if you build a CRM from the rep’s perspective, and make them more productive? Ta–da! They sell more! Is that a good outcome?
To change behaviors (the real and often overlooked value of CRM) you must consider whose behaviors you wish to change in the first place, and who will be involved in the process. There’s a reason for the old saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” has stayed around for so long.
Building CRM from the perspective of, “How do we empower users to be more productive and help them deliver a richer experience to our customers?” will get you to all the other CRM objectives that you have envisioned.