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Tim Lynch

By Tim Lynch

Sep 8, 2016

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Marketing Strategy Contributor Inbound Sales
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Marketing Strategy  |   Contributor  |   Inbound Sales

5 Training Techniques to Increase Your Team’s CRM Adoption

Tim Lynch

By Tim Lynch

Sep 8, 2016

5 Training Techniques to Increase Your Team’s CRM Adoption

It's expected that the worldwide customer relationship management (CRM) market will hit $36.5 billion by 2017. To give you some perspective: in 2013, it was forecasted at just $20.6 billion -- that’s over a $16 billion increase in three years.

CRM tools have grown more powerful with time as well. There are a wide variety of softwares available including Salesforce.com, Netsuite, and even HubSpot.

With all of this advancement, the end goal is simple: to foster strong, long-term customer relationships.

Yet, there’s still a problem.

Organizations often purchase an over-abundance of CRM licenses that either go unused or underused, and this lack of CRM adoption is costing companies thousands of dollars a year.

Using CRM licenses effectively helps you collect important data that both your marketing and sales teams will be able to analyze and utilize, but when employees only use the software sporadically, it skews your data and makes it difficult to analyze and use.

This is not only important for sales teams, but for the marketers who are providing those teams with qualified leads as well.  Think about it -- how can you know if you have the right lead to pass on to your sales team for follow-up without proper data tracking?

Why Should You Care About CRM Adoption

CRM data helps improve communication between sales and marketing teams and better align the goals and activities of both departments. It helps ensure that marketing and sales have all of the same information and can in turn, work better together.

So, why do CRM adoption rates not climb to match the growing production of CRM software and so many licenses go unused?

A quick Google search shows that many professionals are frustrated by a lack of user-friendliness hindering their interactions with CRM tools like Salesforce, but like with all software there is a learning curve. These problems may very well have much more to do with the individual (and the approach) than with the tool itself.

For this reason, finding a way to address CRM user adoption issues where they take root is critical.

With a good understanding of the analytics and processes behind the tool you are using, showing your team how powerful CRM usage can be, is a very achievable goal.

Here are five training techniques that will help increase CRM adoption among your team:

1. Hands-On Training

Let’s face the obvious: individuals typically do not learn as well from reading information as they do from hands-on experience and practice.

Use a classroom environment to its full effect by having users practice their CRM skills, as they learn them. The instructor, in a supporting role, can iron out any issues that crop up.

2. Group Training

When first tackling an unfamiliar CRM topic, it can be very helpful to group people into small teams. This way, they can discuss what they're learning about analytics and work through problems with multiplied brainpower.

In addition, having a manager present will ensure everyone that this isn’t “just another meeting” and show how serious the company is about improving its CRM adoption.  

3. Scenario-Based

Training should be comprehensive without being exhaustive. Instead of showing the team every feature on every screen, teach them how to work through a specific problem by finding and implementing the right tools.

Set up realistic scenarios for the small teams at hand. Working through problems or tasks that they’d actually encounter in their everyday positions will help them commit the skills to memory and learn how to truly apply them.

4. Role-Based

Piggybacking off of the previous point, not every member of a team needs to be familiar with every set of tools.

For instance, there’s no need to subject a seasoned professional to a "Conversion 101" seminar before getting to the nitty-gritty. I mean, your team ought to know what "leads," "opportunities," and "conversion" rates are.

Training should thus focus on the specifics of each person’s responsibilities. Start with the managers, as they'll be the ones you teach to teach others. Show managers the value of CRM analytics by pointing them to the data and reports that will serve their role best, then continue with the rest of the team.

5. Hit the Refresh Button

You know what they say, if you don’t use it, you lose it.

In the absence of the occasional refresher, even the best and brightest won't retain skills they’ve learned forever.

One way to help them remember long term is to quiz them or to save time, try sending out a survey checklist to find out what trainees remember and what they don’t.

Use that feedback to structure a review session that can then be followed up with group calls where a specialist shares his or her screen and answers all questions quickly and effectively.

Key Takeaway

All of your sales and marketing team members should be able to take advantage of every part of your CRM software. This can be achieved by holding thorough and frequent training sessions across your organization like those described in this article.

By following these five training techniques, you can work to greatly increase your CRM user adoption rates and ultimately maximize your Return on Investment (ROI).

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