Keys to CRM System Adoption: EASE

Previously we’ve seen that high rates of user adoption maximize the benefit of a CRM system to every system user in an exponential way as every key process in the business; planning, marketing, selling, servicing, and analyzing, is enriched by the increased information and functionality of the CRM system. Are you one of the many companies that have invested millions in software licenses, maintenance, and services to install a CRM application, but haven’t invested the time and energy to create a true CRM Culture – Application, Infrastructure, Employee users, Indirect Channel users, and Customers? While all of the components of your CRM System are critical, your CRM Culture cannot be created without your Employee users.

Earlier articles outline the 5 key areas to investigate and correct if you are having an employee-system adoption issue: executive involvement, pay for play, EASE, commitment, and coaching. We have already discussed pay for play, and coaching in earlier postings. It is time to look at the importance of the EASE formula as it relates to system adoption.

Fear and Love are great personal motivators, but employees can’t be expected to always respond professionally to them (e.g. if they fear for their job, they may find a new one rather than do more work in a current one). The best professional motivators, the ones that encourage employees (and customers as well) to act are those that fit the EASE formula. That is, the new course of action must be: Effective (or more effective than the current course of action); Accurate (or more accurate than the current course of action); Speedier (time to result is less than the current course of action); Economical (costs less than the current course of action). Of course, EASE implies that this effective, accurate, speedy, and economical course will also be easy to follow.   If you have an adoption problem, you most likely have not applied the EASE formula to fix it.   Here is the corrective action we recommend.

  1. Is your CRM system effective in doing what it is supposed to do? Remember that the goal of every CRM system is to get the right person/offer, in front of the right customer, at the right time, with the right information. Everyone’s favorite radio station is WWID-FM (what will it do for me). If your employees use the system are they more effective at selling and thereby making more sales and money while better meeting customer needs and situation? Are they more effective at providing customer service and satisfying the customer? If you have truly designed to the system to make your sales and service channels more effective, has that message been sent clearly to your teams?
  2. Is the data (base and transactional) in your system accurate? Can sales users rely on the territory alignments, the sales figures, the lead assignments, the compensation comparisons, and the pipeline and forecast analysis? Is your knowledge base for customer service current and complete? Do you enrich, standardize, and cleanse the base data for customers. Have you done a complete job of transforming and incorporating data from acquired and sunset systems?
  3. Is your CRM system fast? Is your CRM system performance optimized? Have you minimized the clicks to result? Have you eliminated wasteful cycles that were added in different times and are now obsolete? Are you persisting with complex coverage models that slow down the assignment process? Are you persisting with complex compensation models that slow down reporting on results?
  4. Are you treating your CRM system like a cost center or a selling/service investment? Are you limiting access to the system to only a few employees due to the cost of the user licenses? Do you have success metrics in place to show the return on investment in the system and are you focused on the customer as a way to improving those measurements?

Finally, is your system easy to use? Can it be accessed from multiple devices for many purposes? Have employees been trained and re-trained to use it in the context of their roles? Have you looked at it from both a function and usability perspective?

You can begin to eliminate your adoption issues if you apply the EASE formula – make sure the system is effective, accurate, speedy, and economical and wrap that in an easy to use package. The value of your system grows exponentially with each dedicated user and once it becomes part of your culture, adoption issues disappear completely.


Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant
Jim Lindenfeld, Principal Consultant

This blog was written by Jim Lindenfeld, who has been actively involved in customer relationship management during his entire professional career.  He is a certified sales and sales management trainer.  He has been involved in the implementation of CRM systems since 1987 and is currently a principal consultant in our CRM practice.

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