CRM = Commitment Required MAX

Effective CRM takes commitment and discipline. Understanding that from the start is crucial to your success.

Ever since Pat Sullivan and Mike Muhney (ACT! fame) invented customer relationship management (CRM) in 1987, organizations have struggled with low user adoption.

What’s surprising is that this flies in the face of the rapid growth in the CRM category. Gartner reports that CRM investments grew 16% in 2018 to a staggering $48B and is expected to hit $80B by 2025. This clearly demonstrates that company leaders want to take advantage of the many benefits an effective CRM program can bring. The challenge is getting people throughout the organization to consistently use the platforms.

With “Low User Adoption” causing CRM program failure in over 1/3 of program starts, companies have to face the reality that while the benefits can far outweigh the investment (even exponentially), the time investment going in is significant.

The bottom line is that if the people can’t make a real commitment to getting CRM right, don’t even start. Otherwise, we’re wasting everyone’s time – your’s, the team’s, executive leadership, customer’s – everyone.

The ‘reasons’ for lack of adoption run the gamut

  • “I’m not tech savvy”
  • “We’ve always done it this way”
  • “I don’t want someone watching over me”
  • “The data isn’t accurate”
  • “I don’t know how to use it”
  • “It’s too much”

I’m not buying any of ‘em. Those are false objections. We overcome bigger challenges every day – when we want to. And that’s the key. When the desire is there, people embrace CRM as it drives growth and profit, among other things. When the desire isn’t there, it becomes burdensome – just another thing to learn.

As CRM leaders we need to take it upon ourselves to help everyone understand how CRM impacts them personally and then take the ownership of CRM adoption ourselves by fostering consistent engagement. We can be successful in driving that engagement through a consistent series of proper meetings. Once that’s happening, the momentum carries itself forward.

You can boil it down to these key steps

  1. Daily Standups: Short, quick hits with the team with each member top-lining three items to spark relevant discussion in a round-robin format:
    1. What I accomplished yesterday
    2. What I will work on today
    3. What obstacles or challenges I face

  2. Weekly Status: This is a longer meeting and is run by the team leader with one person designated to take notes.
    1. Project status update with workflow KPIs to inform on overall progress of key project components
    2. Priorities should be discussed to let everyone know of any potential changes
    3. Resources (people, technology, training, etc.) are reviewed to make sure everyone has what they need to accomplish their personal objectives
    4. A “Parking Lot” discussion covers items that are not relevant or can’t be addressed in the short term due to other priorities, but that the team agrees should be addressed at the appropriate time. These get tackled over time.

  3. Monthly Planning: This meeting is mainly about planning future work at a higher level.
    1. Remind and review how this project fits in with higher organizational objectives.
    2. Project status update with project KPIs to determine if you’re on/off plan.
    3. Review and discuss long-range goals and objectives.
    4. Acknowledge successes, training milestones, campaign wins, certifications, etc.

You don’t need to overthink these meetings but you must be committed to following through with them. Make sure to get them in motion to start gaining some momentum. You’ll learn plenty along the way and once you have the cycle moving, people will naturally be engaged in the CRM processes which is the key to getting the adoption we’re all looking for.


Dan Dawes

A seasoned digital marketing strategist with 25 years of experience with the past 15 focused on leading the development of digital CRM as the core component to business growth. Experience covers many industries including manufacturing & construction, financial services, medical device manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, technology, CPG, transportation, healthcare, retail/franchise, education and associations. Response Labs is a digital CRM agency enabling clients to share their brands and experiences easily, quickly and with the most relevance. We have a dual focus split between building integrated marketing solutions for our clients, and developing our own products that bridge technologies, platforms and provide deeper user experiences and enhance relevant insights. Salesforce Partner and Solutions Integrator. Specialties: Digital CRM Strategy & Management, Mobile, Social, Search, Data & Analytics, Attribution/ROI/ROAS Tracking Follow on LinkedIn

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