11 October 2016

How nurturing your staff can breathe life back into your CRM

Tags:CRM, Culture

Keeping a CRM running well isn’t easy.

We see organisations invest lots of time and money in their CRM solutions, and rightly, they expect bang for their buck. But the reality is that after launch, it’s easy for things to go downhill.

Far too often, companies don’t invest the necessary effort into sustaining CRM adoption.

When the CRM is rolled out, employees are bombarded with excessive amounts of information, from classroom sessions and tests, to workbooks and videos.

Because of this overload, staff often zero-in on the areas of the solution that are relevant to their role today, and miss much of the content that will help them tomorrow.

Over time, this can lead to a disconnect amongst the teams within an organisation. And without an environment of team collaboration, you’re at risk of stifling the growth of your CRM and the success it can offer.

If you already have a CRM, you might be dealing with these issues right now.

So what can you do to make sure that your CRM encourages collaborative discussion, so that you can reap the benefits?

It all starts with building a community.

Identify the champions of your business

CRMs that have been running in a business for many years often have healthy user bases that are well-versed in the technology. You don’t have to worry about training staff in the ins-and-outs of using the product. They know this by now.

Instead, you’re at the point where your staff are curious about how others in the company are using the solution.

They want to learn what other people know that they don’t. Because, while users will often share their CRM experiences with those immediately around them, they rarely get circulated beyond that.

But creating a collaborative culture doesn’t happen overnight.

Begin by identifying the champions for each line of business in your organisation.

By bringing people from different areas of your business together in small, regular forums, you’ll facilitate conversation and the sharing of ideas. Users will discover new features and processes from their peers that they previously didn’t know existed.

And because you’ve entrusted the thought leaders in your organisation to spearhead these efforts, the benefits will naturally trickle down into the various teams within your organisation.

If you start building an internal community of champions today, the rest will follow.

Let your employees do the educating

One of the biggest issues we’ve seen businesses deal with is finding engaging ways to promote CRM adoption amongst their staff.

Adults don’t learn like kids do, and many people have a natural resistance to the regular classroom learning structure.

If you’re only providing very basic training to your staff, with no thought of continued support and guidance, you’ll find that they’ll all eventually struggle at some point.

Think about how you can foster an environment where people can learn and receive support, without feeling like they’re being taught or preached to.

Indirect training is one of the best ways of combating these issues. It can be folded into a ‘day in the life of…’ style session, so that CRM training becomes baked into other employee engagement activities.

Once you have begun promoting CRM discussions amongst your user base, you’ll find that your employees will naturally begin to train one another. Everyone needs somebody that they feel comfortable discussing the CRM with to address any issues they’re having, ideally in the same office.

Once people know that there’s somebody in the business that’s willing to help them, you’ll see the adoption of your CRM begin to grow.

Collaboration isn’t groundbreaking, it’s essential

Making it a priority to investigate and monitor the collaborative efforts of your solution can be a massive plus, not just for your CRM but for your organisation as a whole.

It’s not groundbreaking stuff. CEOs have always pushed the notion of cross-functional teamwork.

But if you’re finding that the success of your CRM has begun to flounder, your staff should be the first place you look. Ask them who finds it invaluable, and the responses will tell you all you need to know.

Identify the CRM advocates in your business today and begin facilitating an open dialogue that promotes innovation, growth and efficiency tomorrow.

You can learn more about the CRM technologies we provide here.

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