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Making a User-Centric CRM Investment

CRM Investment - End UsersThe decision to make a CRM investment is an important one for both management for the ultimate end users of the selected system.  Normally, management only decides to invest in a CRM system because they believe the company will receive a positive ROI within a reasonable period of time.

The return on a CRM investment boils down to increasing profits and/or decreasing costs in excess of the cost of the CRM system plus associated CRM services. Some of the contributing factors toward a positive return on a CRM investment are: increased new sales, larger margins per sale, higher customer retention, more management visibility to user job performance, and improved operational efficiency.  These factors are all influenced by a very important factor – end user adoption.

To illustrate the cost of low user adoption, consider the analogy of a person who wants to get in better physical shape, so they join a gym.  Just because someone joins a gym does not mean they will get into better shape.  The person has to actually go the gym, use the equipment and then measure their results.  Similarly, your company can make a considerable CRM investment in software, hardware and professional services. However, this investment will not produce the desired results unless users actually adopt the application.

A CRM Investment and End User Adoption

Here are five ways to increase the return on your CRM investment by considering the CRM system’s end users.

1. Make your users feel that they have a hand in the CRM decision by involving them in the demonstrations and reviews of the CRM applications that are under consideration.  Involving end users in the buying process rather than one day announcing to them that they’re going to be using a new system goes a long way toward user adoption.

2. After making the CRM investment, be sure the CRM system is simple to use and not over-engineered.  Begin by addressing key business requirements within the CRM system and, over time, build additional functionality based on management and end user feedback.

3. Sell end users on “what’s it in for them” if they fully adopt the application.  Demonstrate how their job will be easier if they embrace the CRM application.  For example, sales quotes can be generated and approved more quickly if they are created within CRM.

4. Provide comprehensive, ongoing CRM training. Give end users access to an internal, CRM “super user” who can quickly answer questions as they come up.

5. Make your CRM system a positive coaching tool by generating reports from the system that identify activities and usage. The right reports will help to identify which users may need guidance as to how to perform their jobs more effectively — whether they are in sales, marketing or customer service.

Taking these steps will help to increase end user adoption, which is one of the keys to receiving a return on your CRM investment.

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