New Sales CRM Solution: User-adoption Challenges and Suggested Best Practices

Low user adoption of a new sales solution can be tricky. Poor data, lack of training, or a bad solution be some reasons. User feedback, training sessions, a project manager, and collaterals can help teams overcome these challenges.

Efficiency in the sales process has always been one of the top priorities for sales executives. Sitting in 2022, it has never been more important. Modern Sales teams ought to have robust sales CRM and automation solutions to run their sales process like a well oiled-machinery. While good technology solutions are great value adds for any business, getting teams onboard and starting to use it has been a pressing challenge. Many famed sales teams have struggled with CRM implementation at one or the other time in their lifetime. According to a study, 2 out every of 3 Sales CRM initiatives fails in large organizations, while a Forrester study indicates 1 out of 2 CRM projects fail. Poor adoption of sales solutions within teams can become a nightmare for any organization, directly impacting customer relationships, revenue, and business growth. Business leaders should be cognizant of the pitfalls of poor solution adoption while they embark on a journey to implement a sales solution in their organization. Just the solution implementation itself doesn't guarantee success to the success of the program.

Why do most organizations falter with poor adoption of a new sales solution?

Less than 40% of the organizations globally have a sales CRM solution end-user adoption rate of 90% or more as per a CSO Insight study. Similar studies that have been carried out point to this not being a singular issue but a series of interconnected problems. Let's try to understand some key reasons in detail.

  • Not choosing the right sales solution: CRM solutions were originally meant to cater to customers of an organization, in managing contacts, engagements, and structuring the overall database to help better manage customer relationships. Over time, sales teams started using CRM solutions for acquiring customers, although it was never the most ideal fit for their use-case. This way the sales CRM solution is now expected to handle 30X-50X volumes, which users find CRMs are not quite suitable with.
  • A top-down approach to sales solution selection: Many teams make the mistake of choosing a sales solution from the lens of sales managers and top management. The objectives in choosing the CRM range from getting to access business performance reports and the ability to track team performance via the sales CRM. There is little focus on users in the decision-making criteria. This reflects poorly on the leadership and exhibits their inexperience in handling such implementation projects. This is a non-starter from the very beginning and is bound to face low to no user adoption of the new sales solution.
  • Increase in manual work by salespeople: While any technology solution is expected to automate and simplify any user's tasks, sales CRMs may add to it for some. According to a Hubspot study, almost 32% of salespeople spent more than an hour daily on data entry-related activities leading to lower CRM adoption. Users have to update contacts and log their activity taking a lot of time away from selling and closing deals leading to poor solution adoption. Any solution where users are not core to the center of the product solution is bound to fail.
  • Users NOT into taken into confidence during implementation: With a new sales CRM solution in place, a lot of users start getting circumspect about the reasons for a solution in the first place. Some of them sense this will add to the control the team management wants to exercise in tracking their activities and increasing digital proof which may be held against them during discussions.
  • Lack of proper training program for users: Sales CRM users get accustomed to their existing sales tool be it an excel sheet or any other sales solution. They find their current system both comfortable and dependable, resisting migration to a new tool. They need to get used to the new user interface, and workflows in the new system. Without proper training and handholding, this can turn them away from using the new sales solution.  There are frequent pushbacks and comparisons with other tools by users. The lack of good training collateral and user guides makes it tough for users to get a fair understanding of the new system.
  • Poor data quality in the sales CRM solution: A vicious cycle is created with poor adoption and limited usage by salespeople leading to poor quality of data being captured by the sales CRM solution. With the quality of data being suspect, sales leaders get a bleak picture of the success KPIs post a new solution implementation. If poor solution adoption persists, it leads to disenchantment in company management reducing focus and prioritization of the program and emboldening the already hesitant sales users from further using the system. It is very essential to break the chain reaction to ensure the new sales CRM solution doesn't fail.
  • Implementation not done right: Many teams start training and user onboarding much before a working solution is in place. Using a silo system with little integration with other associated applications adds to the anxiety of sales team users. This coupled with automation challenges leads to a patchy implementation and poor user experience on the new system. Users start to compare the new solution with the old one, underlining the problem areas.

There are more such reasons that many organizations encounter poor adoption during a new sales CRM implementation, lack of a project implementation manager, query resolution desk, poor customizations, and so on.

Best practices for organizations should follow for better user adoption:

  • Keep users involved in the decision-making process: Working users and team leads should be aware of the reasons and objectives for onboarding a new sales CRM solution. User feedback on the sales process and their paint points will help to build a robust solution leading to strong user adoption.
  • Implementation project Team: A central project team will streamline all communications and also help address any queries arising out of the user's experience instantly. The project team keeps all the stakeholders like sales leadership, users, team leads, vendors, and technology teams aligned for a smooth solution onboarding.
  • Choosing the right solution: Go for a solution that keeps users at the center of the product solution. The ideal solution would strive to make a user's life easier helping reduce manual tasks with automation and auto-capturing activity logging. The solution should be frictionless for salespeople to use.
  • Create noise around the project launch:  Make the solution launch an important and visible event across the organization. Organize a kick-off event, paste banners, make internal communications, a Slack channel for query resolution and collaboration, and other actions to let users feel motivated and emphasize the importance of the new solution for the team. Keep the momentum going for a sustained period of 30-45 days with innovative techniques.
  • Proper training and usage guidelines: Training will play a pivotal role in driving user adoption of the new solution. Schedule training sessions with product/vendor teams routinely over the onboarding period. Prepare detailed yet simple training manuals and videos for end-users to enable quick and easy access to any feature uses. Some examples like "How to upload leads?", "How to add a new contact?", "How to track reports?"
  • Tracking user adoption and rewards: Sales leaders should be aware of the performance and challenges that users might be facing during the onboarding. It is essential to create a daily and weekly cadence and publish the metrics should with everyone. A project team can brainstorm with sales leaders to iron out starting hurdles for swift resolution of issues. A rewards structure is also suggested to encourage users to keep on with the good work. Laggard users can have additional training sessions to understand their pain points and get their adoption better.

Using a Sales CRM can be a big advantage for your team, but it's important to overcome the challenges of adoption head-on. With patience and perseverance, you can get your team on board and start seeing the benefits of using a Sales CRM.

Chakra Sales is a modern sales execution solution to productize your sales process from Lead to Order, eliminating manual activities and multiple data entries. Integrating all the associated tools, Chakra Sales creates a unified interface for sales activities with automated data capture and activity logging.

If you are looking for a customized sales solution for your fast-growing organization, do consider a free demo with Chakra Sales.