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5 reasons your CRM is not helping you grow your business

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Barriers to User Adoption and Value Realization


Understanding Why Most CRM Implementations Don’t Work

69% of respondents to a survey stated that End User Adoption is the most critical factor for realizing the value of any technology implementation.

Another survey found that almost 74% of all organizational transformations are unsuccessful.

Our experienceimplementing and re-implementing over 200 Salesforce instances in the last nine years has given us great insight into the causes of failures based on poor user adoption.

Understanding these five issues and preparing to overcome the obstacles are critical for a successful implementation.

#1 Complexity

Many systems are over-engineered and need to consider the user experience. Multiple required fields, too many validation rules, and optional extraneous fields affect user adoption and value realization.

When designing a system, consider Amazon and Apple. You can search and buy anything on Amazon with a click or two. Apple is successful because its user experience is simple. Your CRM implementation should be the same.

Simple is better


After you achieve 100% adoption and your sales team is extracting value from the system, you can introduce additional requirements.


#2 External Systems

A team that has to operate in multiple systems and tools, ERP, MS Excel, external quote tools, external ticketing systems, etc., will impact adoption and efficiency. Your team will always spend the most time in the system they are most comfortable with.

It is far better to have everyone work on one system by building the functionality into your CRM or integrating external systems so they can be accessed without leaving your primary tool, which should be your system of record.


#3 Consider Technology Adoptoin

Everyone adopts new technology at a different rate. If you are one of those people that must have the latest technology, iPhone, smartwatch, etc., you will be an early adopter. If you still have a flip phone, you are a slow adopter. The majority of people will fall in the middle somewhere. They are okay with technology but not overly eager to learn new technology because they think it is cool.

I have five teenage boys. They are early adopters. I am not buying a new iPhone every time one comes out, but they know all about them and the new features. They are my tech support team, and I need a team because my wife is a technology laggard. She struggles a bit with an iPad.

Everyone learns at a different rate, and most people will be between early adopters and laggards. You need an ongoing system to help them become comfortable with the technology.


#4 One-And-Done Training Does Not Work

A one-day or 1/2 day training is a typical strategy for implementing new technology and expecting everyone to understand and begin to use the fancy new technology.

The reality is that within 24 hours of training, your team will remember about 50% of what they are taught. If they use the system very little for two weeks after the training, they will remember about 2%. The training by itself is effectively useless. A strategy to augment the initial training day with additional training and coaching session for some time is more critical than the actual training.

#5 Company Culture and Personal Habits

Company culture and personal habits are the most essential aspects of User Adoption. Every company has a different culture. At both Fortune 100 companies where I worked, most people would pay lip service to new initiatives and keep their heads down instead of learning something new. Most new initiatives fade after six months, and they don’t want to waste time by embracing something new that will probably not last.

You need to understand individual habits and how people develop new habits. Below is a standard change curve. Any time you want people to change how they operate, they go through this cycle.


Think about all those New Year’s resolutions; you’ve decided to get in shape, buy the gym membership, go for two weeks, and regret the investment for the rest of the year. 

It can be challenging to create a new habit. It takes five times more mental energy to do something new than to continue what you’ve always done. It takes a lot of energy and time to build a new habit.

I highly recommend a book called Mini Habits. They performed a study and found it takes, on average, sixty-seven days to create a new habit. Company culture and personal habits are the most essential aspects of User Adoption. Every company has a different culture. 

These are the top five barriers to realizing full value from any new technology initiatives that require user interaction. Understanding these issues and preparing to overcome the obstacles are critical for a successful implementation. 


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