Could Poor User Adoption Cause Your CRM Implementation to Fail?

Customer relationship management solutions, also known as CRM or xRM, give businesses of any size the power to use organisational data to enhance the value of customer experiences.  Contact management is the key function used in the business environment.  However, CRM can be integrated with other business or third-party applications to gain greater business benefit.

But will staff actually use your new CRM solution when it’s implemented?  If not, your business risks wasted opportunity, not to mention investment in the system.

CRM can bring enormous benefits to business, but only if users adopt it. Therefore, achieving buy-in at all levels of the organisation is crucial to the success of any customer management software implementation.

Benefits of CRM

From good value to good service – customer relationships have a major impact on the profitability and success of a business. CRM is therefore a vital part of a businesses’ long-term competitive strategy.

Correctly implemented, CRM can be an invaluable tool for your entire organisation, from marketing and sales teams, to customer service and upper management.  

The return from a CRM solution lies with the profitability opportunities associated with improved internal workflows, better intelligence throughout the organisation regardless of who the customer interacts with, and as a result, greater sales and customer service delivery.

For sales personnel, this means easier access to information about accounts, clients, orders and inventories. Management can easily view sales pipelines through dashboard views.  Customers receive faster responses to emails, calls and enquiries, which contributes to improved satisfaction. 

Challenges facing CRM adoption

But choosing to implement a CRM solution is not the only consideration.  Planning must be given to how the users within your business will adopt and use the new system, and whether cross-organisation integration will be achieved.

According to a study conducted by AMR Research in 2002, 47 per cent of companies faced ‘serious challenges’ with business software change and user adoption of their CRM systems. 

So, what is the basis for these serious challenges?

Expecting staff to update a CRM separately from their day-to-day interactions is a sure-fire way for information to be incomplete or omitted from the system.  This is also a source of frustration for staff who frequently operate away from a desk.  And the benefits of the information housed in the CRM are lost if staff can only log on while in the office.


Key to the success of CRM is engagement of end-users prior to implementation. 

Solicit employee representation and feedback in all stages, keeping in mind that change can be stressful for staff and met with resistance.  Communicate to staff that the introduction of the CRM will require a new mindset, and not just customer management software training.  Include staff in developing business goals for the CRM, not just the implementation.

User adoption can also be increased by ease of access provided by multiple channels or interfaces.  Keep in mind that about 41 per cent of Australian consumers use mobile applications on their smartphone for commercial purposes.  

mobile or online CRM solution is an option that takes the power of CRM and delivers it straight to the user.  This allows staff to check inventory, update price lists, deliver quotes, print invoices, and access customer accounts – all from their smartphone, tablet or laptop.  If your customer-facing staff are increasingly using portable devices, it’s important that they’re able to use the CRM in a way that matches their activity, not just when they return to the office.  

Before considering a CRM solution, think about who in your organisation stands to gain the most benefit from using the system – usually your sales and customer service staff – and work towards gaining their buy-in prior to implementation.  

Your CRM solution is only as useful as the data captured and subsequently accessed, so it’s important to ensure it will work seamlessly with users, not against them.  Ensure the customer relationship solution accommodates the way they work now, and the way you envisage they will work in the future.