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Effective Strategies in Promoting CRM/ERP User Adoption

Updated: Feb 9, 2022

We’ve all been told, and maybe even seen firsthand, how beneficial a CRM or ERP system can be to our business. Automated processes, deeper customer insights, reduced costs, and faster access to crucial information are just some of the benefits that come from these solutions.

Yet, despite all the benefits, many users are hesitant, if not completely reluctant, to use them. Solutions like NAV, GP, and Business Central are useless if not used. Plus, a lot of money is wasted.

So how do you encourage your team to embrace this technology? What’s the best way to promote user adoption? Leadership at JourneyTEAM will discuss their perspective and offer insight on how to encourage user adoption based on first-hand experience.

Ask Why

Before you start implementation, ask yourself why you’re making the change. Without a clear reason, implementing an entirely new system is just another task. That’s where we start with our JourneyTEAM customers. Why are they spending time and money to implement a new system? Why spend the time and resources on this project instead of something else? How big of an ROI are they expecting? This is one of the most important steps to encourage user adoption.

What’s the Goal?

In order for your team to be more comfortable with a new system, they need to understand the end goal behind it. How will it benefit them? Will it make their job easier? Explaining the reasons why and how it will benefit them as well as the business will increase user’s willingness to be involved and learn the system for themselves.

  • Win Over Your Team - Any team is more willing to embrace change if they’ve clearly seen the benefits of the change. Despite the challenges that may come from changing systems, if you’ve won over your team, they’ll spend more time and effort adjusting to unfamiliar processes.

  • Reduce Costs, Save Time - What business isn’t looking for a way to reduce costs and save time? Whether it’s on a daily, weekly, or even yearly basis, both leadership and frontline teams are always looking for a way to save time and money. Show both sides how much time and money they can save with these new systems. Each side will have different concerns, so take the time to speak to both. Clearly show how adoption increases revenue and meets business goals.

  • Keep Teams Involved - Your entire team should be involved throughout the entire implementation process. From identifying business needs and researching different programs to choosing and testing a solution, they need to be involved. Allowing them to play with the solution before it’s live makes for a much smoother transition because it’s more familiar.

How to Proceed When Changes Don’t Fit the Needs of Some Teams

Every change in the business will affect users differently--especially when it comes to software. While some may benefit significantly from the new changes, others may have to spend additional time manually inputting data. Should your teams encounter this, you’ll want to validate all efforts and keep teams focused on the payoff.

Here are a few more suggestions to follow to encourage user adoption even when teams don’t benefit directly from the change.

1. Use Data

Your CRM or ERP system is going to provide you with a ton of data--and you’re going to use it. It’s important to set aside time to have those discussions. That data will help you explain the need for the system and to help teams rely more on it instead of outside processes. Data should be organized and presented in a useful way to help drive decisions on a management or executive level.

2. Make Super or Power Users Your Go-To Resource

At JourneyTEAM, we’ve learned that in every team or department, there are one or two individuals who are very good at using the solution. They’ve quickly learned what the solution can do and have put it to use. Rather than having team members who are struggling with the system come to you for answers, encourage them to go to these “super/power users”. Not only are they more qualified, but also more available. Make them a team or department’s go-to resources for general questions or troubleshooting.

3. Learn from Failure

Not every team we’ve worked with has had success in adopting these systems. Some haven’t gotten what they wanted out of the solution. We’ve found that many of these failures happen when there are too many people involved. If you’ve experienced a failure, learn from it. Start over. Figure out who your key stakeholders are. Remember, with too many cooks in the kitchen, projects are more likely to fail.

4. Gather Feedback

From the start of your implementation to the end, ask every individual involved what they think about it. Do they have any frustrations? Are there certain features that they love? What’s important to you (i.e. usage, security, time loss, etc.)?

At JourneyTEAM, we encourage our customers to think about business priorities and goals. We even have a few ROI equations to demonstrate the benefits of adoption. Some examples include:

  • (Time lost) + (Cost of the time lost) X (# of employees) =

  • (ERP Usage%) X (Cost of time loss) X (# of employees and increase in adoption) =

Here’s a customer story to better illustrate this. We worked with a specific client who identified the benefit of adopting an ERP/CRM system as transferring all of their inventory to a field team. This would eliminate the need for someone to contact tech support and wait 10-20 minutes to get an answer and processes would be streamlined. With this new system, time and money were saved.

5. Communicate and Market Effectively

One of the biggest reasons customers look to implement these solutions is to create a faster, more efficient organization. So many times failure happens due to a lack in communication between business consultants and those who implement and use these systems. Communication is the most essential part of adoption to ensure its success.

6. Speak Their Language

Tailor your language to whoever you’re talking to. For example, if you’re talking to your accounting team and you know the CFO is going to be there, you’ll want to focus on the numbers. Show how the implementation will reduce costs or increase ROI. If you’re speaking to your sales or marketing team, focus your language to speak to their needs. You’ll want to make sure that each of your teams understands why you’re doing this, why their role is essential to implementation, and why it’s important to your business.

7. Three Groups: Hate It, Tolerate It, Love It

We’ve found that when a new system is implemented, the people who are impacted fall into three groups: those who accept and love it, use it, and encourage others to use it as well. Some will fall into the group that dislikes it and fights it every step of the way. Most people will join forces with whichever group is the loudest. As you’re implementing these new systems, you’ll want to focus on how you can move the most negative people or those who tolerate the solution into the ‘Love It’ group. What do you need to get them there?

8. Recognize Differences

Implementation is a process--a long one too. You have to start by creating awareness about the solution and a desire to use it. Once that’s in place, you can move on to knowledge, then ability, and finally to reinforcement. Every step has to be completed and every team must complete a step before moving onto the next. Some teams may be reluctant to follow the process, but you’ll want to encourage them to stick with it. Help them feel comfortable with each one before moving onto the next. And remember, every team and every company is different and we’d encourage you to tailor the process to fit the unique needs of each team.

9. Promote Unity

Creating unity is a push-pull effort. You have to pass information down from the top while also pushing it up from the bottom. Remember, in order for implementation to be successful, every team needs to embrace the change. You’ll want to ensure that lower-level teams know how to use the solution and encourage them to help others.

Measuring User Adoption

Usage is one of the best ways to measure adoption. These systems are great for gathering data and you’ll have complete visibility as to who’s logging in or out and what they’re doing with the systems. Another way is through productivity. Pay attention to how cases are being solved.

There are so many features and capabilities within these solutions, but we may get so focused on a particular tool that we overlook the others. Make sure that your teams are aware of all the functionality within the solution. This is helpful as it encourages users to formulate their own ideas on how they can use a certain tool or feature.

Look at the Big Picture

As you’re implementing these new solutions, make sure you and your team are regularly stepping back and looking at the bigger picture. Help your team focus on how the solution will simplify their job, how tools can benefit them, and how they can save time or money. Use phrases like: “try searching for this type of information using this tool” or “Here’s how to change the display on your data.” This will help keep your teams focused on the benefits of promoting user adoption.

Get Started with JourneyTEAM

JourneyTEAM was recently awarded Microsoft US Partner of the Year for Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (Media & Communications) and the Microsoft Eagle Crystal trophy as a top 5 partner for Dynamics 365 Business Central software implementations. JourneyTEAM has a proven track record with successful Microsoft technology implementations and can help you put Microsoft Teams to work as the central hub for all your communication, organization, and collaboration.

For any additional questions, please contact Journeyteam at (801) 565-9199.

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