The Value of Communication in CRM User Adoption

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We’re a nation of talkers. We talk all day – or type – on Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, and at the water cooler. Communication has become the crux around which we build our lives – and our technologies.

But somehow we’re still getting it wrong. Our attentions wander, and businesses around the world are failing to communicate in order to engage. Why do people give up on CRM systems around a business, despite repeated communication? There’s plenty of it – there’s plenty of opportunity to talk about it – but it seems we’re just not doing it right.

There are hundreds of CRM User Adoption tactics – many of them seem to stem from implementation itself. Plan, plan, plan – create champions, develop stakeholders, create a steering team… we get so far, and then the champions return to their day jobs, the stakeholders get frustrated at a lack of engagement, the steering team disintegrates…

Change the way you talk…

Many of you will be marketers. Hello, marketers. Many of you won’t be marketers, though… it’s worth sitting down with a marketer and discussing segmentation methods. After all, a marketer would never send out a blanket message to everyone on their data list, because they know that the message would be diluted – less targeted.

They segment their data – and you have to do this within your own organisation. Think of your user base as a market – you would never talk the way you do to an IT specialist the way you do to a sales representative.

Your aim here is a simple one – stimulate your market’s interest in your product (your CRM), and increase usage. So segment your market into easily definable areas, and adapt your messaging.

Change what you talk about…

We’re a nation of talkers – but that also means that we’re bombarded with talk. Chat. Messages everywhere, flying at us – from e-mails and tweets for Facebook streams and meetings about meetings. We’re close to information overload – so frame the CRM conversation.

For instance, demanding that everyone use the system isn’t going to work. Insisting that reports are extracted only from the system isn’t going to work, either.

Underlining the value to the individual, however, will. Talk about successes, and you’ll inspire – talk about potential second, and you’ll engage.

So when you’re communicating the value of your CRM, mention the 20% uptick in sale order volume, or the reduced lead to sale time. Mention the increased productivity, or the reduced IT bill as a result of abandoning a host of unwanted software solutions.

Be radical…

What’s stopping you from ‘doing a Buzzfeed’ and engaging people on an entirely different level? People are still people – they still love to read witty, engaging articles – so get their attention in an entirely different way.

‘The Top 10 Funniest Inbound Lead Enquiries” would be a fantastic way of getting peoples’ attention, and reminding them – by the by – that all of these leads can be viewed in the CRM system, and did you know that since implementing, we’ve seen a rise of 13% in lead volumes?

Conversation is a two-way thing…

The talk never stops – but when it goes one way, it tends to become, well… boring. And how can you adapt your conversation if nobody is responding?

There are plenty of opportunities to sit down with your target market and ‘do some research’. Find out why they’re not using the system. Preact’s Warren Butler mentions that this shouldn’t be a ‘witch hunt’ but an opportunity to uncover gaps in the system that will increase user adoption.

Don’t just listen, though – prove that you’re listening. Report back on your conversations – don’t just plough ahead with the next part of your internal marketing campaign. Once more, you would never have a conversation with someone who only talks about themselves.

Conversation is a two-way thing – and best of all, it’s fluid. You’ll increase CRM adoption and potentially bring about culture change within your organisations if you start to see user adoption in the light of a marketing campaign. Segment your market, talk in their language, be radical and engage with them, and listen to them when they talk back.



And start again.

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