Recurring CRM adoption challenges (and how to solve them)

A CRM is the Swiss army knife of customer relationship management. According to a Capterra report, the top 3 departments to use CRM are Sales, Marketing, and Customer service. But it doesn’t end there. Used correctly, a CRM can benefit departments including business development, finance, HR, and management across your entire organization. 

Nearly 50% of CRM projects fail due to slow user adoption, and nearly 70% of project managers expect their staff will be cynical about using a CRM solution.

(Source: Redspire)

Primarily a sales tool, a CRM can automate processes, manage the sales pipeline and provide lead scoring. Marketers can use centralized prospect and customer data to design funnel content and plan customer journeys. With a CRM, users gain a 360 view of relationships, customers, and deals in an instant. Yet despite its popularity and benefits, a study by CSO Insights, found only 40% of businesses with a 90% CRM adoption rate.

Like any new tool, implementation alone won’t drive the success of software or its users. Let’s get to the bottom of the biggest challenges of CRM adoption and the solutions to tackle them.  

CRM Adoption Challenges

Like any complex software, failure to truly harness the capabilities of a CRM can have detrimental effects on a business, including incorrect data, reduced lead qualification and negative ROI. The overarching cause of these failures can be linked to CRM adoption. The numerous features and users of CRM systems mean there are equally many CRM adoption challenges.

Let’s dive into some of your CRM users, the Sales department.

Data entry

According to HubSpot, 35% of Sales representatives spent more than an hour a day on data entry and manual tasks in 2018, an average of 5.5 hours a week. It indicates a consistent loss of time to administrative and low added value tasks linked to CRM adoption

Sales add to the prospect and client data pool every day, including prospect data, insights, meetings, questions, and more. A lack of CRM adoption, resulting from a lack of data management training and best practices, can easily result in: 

  • duplicate contacts
  • manual entry errors 
  • poor activity logging 
  • low customer data quality
  • huge consolidated losses in time

According to Dun & Bradstreet, 91% of data in CRM systems is incomplete, 18% is duplicated, and 70% is rendered stale every year. It’s one of numerous indications that investing in CRM software is only half the solution.

Lack of support

CRM adoption challenges can take many forms. The most common challenge comes from a lack of support once the software has been implemented. After training and onboarding (if there was any at all), users are simply left to their own devices. CRM vendors such as Salesforce and HubSpot regularly release new features and updates. Both have excellent technical support services and support content, but are commonly difficult to locate and understand. These updates without testing, communication, and support for the entire team can facilitate:

  • misuse of your CRM
  • wrong data output
  • time lost on support calls
  • user frustration 
  • reduced CRM adoption

Think of CRM adoption like a windmill. It needs a continuous flow of air to keep turning.

Lack of confidence in the tool

A CRM, like any software, is implemented with good intentions, yet frustration and mistrust are widely known sentiments between Sales reps and their CRMs. 

You might be implementing a CRM for the first time? The key is to expect resistance to change from the start (during any organizational change). Sales reps can easily view a CRM as a means to follow their every move and monitor aggressive sales targets, leading to reduced confidence in the tool, their performance and themselves.

Though not always the case, problems rarely lie with the software, but rather how you implement them. The recipe to success is conveying the true value of CRM to its users, ‘what’s in it for them’ as opposed to what it can do for the company. Failing to convince your Sales reps means setting your CRM up for failure.

Insufficient or a lack of training

Insufficient training is the prime suspect behind any failure. Most companies purchase their CRM, have one person dedicated to the tool, and leave the rest to figure it out or rely on the dedicated person. Navigating a tool without instruction or alignment quickly turns into:

  • lack of confidence in the tool
  • trial and error
  • wasted time 
  • repetitive misuse 
  • time mitigating errors
  • overloading the dedicated user with Support issues

Suppose your new Sales rep is required to create a pipeline, generate a report, or export a call list. The chances are, traditional pen and paper training wasn’t sufficient, and documented processes were not in place. The margin for error is high to make mistakes, blame tools, and revert to trusted Excel sheets – a domino effect. A simple task without equally simple training can cause users to avoid their CRM and its functionalities. And if it happens once, it’s highly likely to happen again.

Common Sales CRM Adoption Challenges

Sales challengesBusiness challenges
Repetitive data entryChecklists and automation
Time-consuming tasksStandardize processes
Lack of supportInternal (company) and external (vendor) support
Loss in productivityTraining in the CRM
Mistrust of the tool (seen as a measurement of performance)Education through change management
Inability to identify the value of a CRMManagement and leadership CRM advocacy

How to improve CRM adoption

Change management

Without change management, your CRM will become ‘just another tool’. Assign change management leaders to advocate and drive change throughout the project. This means:

  • Communicating at every stage (before, during, after)
  • Identifying user pain points and issues
  • Determining solutions and resources needed
  • Personalizing and adapting training
  • Measuring the impact of the CRM implementation
  • Continued support and outcomes based on performance  

The aim is to sell the CRM to your end-users, demystifying any questions and queries around the tool. Provide the added value of change (skills, time, performance) to help reduce resistance to change long-term. Once users understand the added value of CRM, user adoption can considerably improve. 

Personalized training

Training within a CRM is essential to leveraging its full potential! One-size-fits-all training belongs in the past for the simple reason that no one department is the same.

🍋 Personalized training inside your CRM with Lemon Learning

With a digital adoption platform, it’s possible to train all your CRM users in different departments…all at once. With a DAP, you can:

  • Create engaging, bite-sized, interactive content 
  • Personalize and customize training workflows as new CRM updates appear
  • Alert selected users with relevant information using in-app messaging 
  • Provide in-application, on-demand support

Consistent Support

CRM solutions are constantly updating and evolving, requiring some level of support. Tied closely to change management and communication, support can simply mean listening to your users, to establish the support they need. If users feel abandoned after CRM implementation, they can quickly follow suit. Allocate dedicated slots to testing, communication, and feedback to align your team and their performance on the CRM.

According to a study by SoftwareAdvice in 2019, the top requested CRM features were contact management, track interactions, and scheduling/reminders.

These top requested features are a symptom of low CRM adoption and require just one digital solution.

🍋 A Lemon Learning tip: provide on-demand, 24/7 support with a DAP

Use interactive guides to help your Sales team complete their repetitive, daily tasks, enabling them to spend time on what matters most – selling. With the Lemon Learning platform, provide your Sales team with support features that include:

  • Customizable workflows (keep up with software updates and evolutions)
  • In-app messaging (new feature announcement, etc.) 
  • Movable and customizable pop-ups (set reminders)
  • Data Checker (accurate data entry)
  • Push notifications (sent at a precise moment to specific users)
Tags: CRM

Sarah C

Sarah oversees all things inbound marketing, exploring the many business uses and topics surrounding digital adoption. Her previous experiences include B2C and product marketing in the social listening space, uncovering emerging industry trends.