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Is CRM training really that important?

October 17, 2010

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Well I guess not if your goals are as big as “tiny” feature in this week’s blog post.  I have spent most of my life staying active by incorporating weight training and conditioning to stay in shape.  As part of this process I have learned that the results received directly correlate to goals set and ongoing investments put into my conditioning and nutrition plans. Maybe there are some similarities between trying to achieve a healthy lifestyle and delivering successful CRM deployments.

As we examine further, the #1 issue I continue to see surface in failed CRM deployments is the lack of investments and thought put into system training.  I believe a strong training plan is the secret sauce to insure any CRM system meets user adoption expectations and drive true return on investment.   

Suggested best practices that need to be incorporated in a training plan:

  • User return.  Users should know what they will be getting in return for the use of the CRM system which ties back to last week’s blog CRM system end-user givebacks?  
  • Hands-on training.  Provide hands-on training with real-life scenarios and data relevant to your users. 
  • Job aids.  Training should include a cheat sheets with CRM system terminology and step-by-step summaries of the required processes.
  • Mandatory system use.  System use must be mandatory for not only the users but all executives.  I find that companies that tie compensation to the CRM system tend to get the greatest user adoption.
  • Measurement & output.  Clear metrics & dates should be established that define what data elements must be entered, when users must have all data updated and when reports will be pulled.
  • Ongoing investments.  Training should be ongoing not just a one-time thing.  I suggest referring to a write-up by CSO Insights on “3 steps to improved Retention/Results. “Perfect practice makes perfect: receiving feedback/coaching on a consistent basis and continuously improving is how things get perfected.”  Barry Trailer, CSO Insights.
  • Training champions.  Electing departmental training champions can also be good resources for the user community.  This will provide a feedback loop for CRM system process and use case improvement.
  • System usage.  Most CRM systems or integrators of those systems provide a system wide audit by user so that you can understand how frequently users are in the systems.  One good example of this is Control Tower for CRM User Adoption  provided by Sonoma Partners.
  • Knowledge management.  Most CRM systems support KB articles and key topic search.  Incorporate your training materials within the CRM will further exploit the power of the system and provide one location of all best practice sharing.
  • Executive sponsorship.  Executive level support and the importance of everyone using the CRM system must be communicated.

Make training a priority at every turn in your CR M deployment and your organization will generate strong user adoption.  Watch for my next blog on the CRM mobility dilemma.

– Tracy

  1. Connor Marsden permalink


    Great article and important topic. I have also seen companies deploy incentives structures when rolling out new solutions based on overall usage? Have you seen this succesfully deployed and can this be utlized as a carrot to drive quick adoption of a few solution?

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