How to Address the Challenges of CRM Adoption
About six weeks ago, Salesforce unveiled a new real-time data platform, Genie, that can power a company’s entire customer resource management (CRM) program. Salesforce promises that every company can use Genie to “turn data into customer magic,” thanks to a solution that adapts to changing customer information in real time.
Salesforce Genie holds immense potential to change the CRM platform user experience for the better, making the allure of adopting a CRM solution even more appealing. However, it is also important for organizations to consider how they can get the most value out of their chosen CRM platform, in order to maximize their return on investment.
Providing sales teams with opportunities to develop a solid understanding of the functionality of a new CRM system will help achieve the fastest time to value. But organizations often lack the necessary training on these platforms to use them correctly. Or the CRM system users get overwhelmed keeping up with the ever-evolving platforms. Cumulatively, this leads to slower sales cycles and missing out on potential revenue.
How did we get here, and, more importantly, what can organizations do to improve and maximize CRM adoption? There are several critical best practices that can improve results.
Educating Users to Unlock CRM’s Full Potential
The COVID-19 pandemic changed how people work. Despite this, the usage of CRM platforms has remained largely unchanged. Accounting for higher employee turnover rates as a byproduct of the Great Resignation, many organizations find themselves with powerful CRM tools at their disposal but a lack of educated users to tap their value.
As a result, many organizations face several key challenges that stand in the way of better adoption, including these:
- steep user learning curves, particularly related to available features and common use cases;
- lack of team bandwidth to address application questions from users and provide on-demand support;
- deficient training and no ongoing support to encourage knowledge retention; and
- inequalities in technical knowledge and learning capacity.
Because of these factors, missed opportunities abound—CRM tools can reduce the cost of sales by eliminating time spent on administrative and reporting duties. They can also unlock additional revenue opportunities through process automation across the sales cycle.
Encouraging Digital Adoption
The value of CRMs drops when users lack the ability to use them. As a result, many leading organizations, including Experian, Sophos, and Grifols, have turned to digital adoption platforms, or DAPs. These tools help train team members on the intricacies of a CRM, enabling users to become more confident working with CRMs capabilities, features, functionality, and use cases. Enhancing user knowledge helps unlock revenue and sales opportunities, actions that provide both rewards to the company and the salesperson in the form of improved performance.
DAPs offer support to users during onboarding to address knowledge gaps, encourage knowledge retention over time, and provide users with the opportunity to learn at their own pace in order to realize the full potential of a CRM platform.
Integrating New Innovations into CRM
The continued development of the Salesforce platform is one of many advances that have pushed the technology forward. Genie’s ability to integrate with other innovative capabilities, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), is one of its unique selling propositions. AI is being used across industries to create better and more personalized customer experiences. Integrating AI with CRM will help organizations better understand what customers buy, how often, how much, and their regular support needs. In the coming years, this combination may offer predictive capabilities that companies can use to better anticipate customer needs and create sales strategies to directly address them. To harness this power, however, CRM users will need to be well-versed in all the capabilities of a platform.
Mobility will also play a considerable role as CRM systems expand beyond the desktop platform, creating accessibility from anywhere, anyplace, and anytime, which is especially crucial in a post-pandemic world where remote work and distributed teams are more common than ever. The future of work will evolve, but distributed workforces are here to stay.
These innovations, and others like them, will continue to position CRM platforms as a necessary enterprise tool. With economic uncertainty looming, organizations need to look deeper for cost-saving measures, quick returns on investment, and operational efficiencies. Aligning CRM capabilities with the support of DAPs is one way to ensure an adequate level or return. Together, these technologies serve as the foundation of a well-educated and digitally savvy sales organization, helping onboard new employees quickly and offering training opportunities to existing staff to promote workforce achievement.
As an organization looks to the future, the latest advancements in CRM provide a means to future-proof a sales organization and prepare for scale. However, sales leaders must ask themselves hard questions about the value they are getting from CRM tools and their team’s ability to use a platform to its full potential. In many cases it is not the CRM that makes the difference; it is the abilities and knowledge of those using it. The latest advancements, however, will help sales teams prepare for whatever comes next.
Vispi Daver is the chief revenue officer at Whatfix, bringing a range of experience in sales, partnerships, product management, and corporate development to his role. He leads a team responsible for new and expansion sales, revenue-generating partnerships, sales operations, and sales enablement. Under his leadership since 2018, the company has had significant growth and expanded its footprint across Global 2000 customers, systems integrators, and consulting partners. Daver is also an early investor in Whatfix.