How to Increase CRM User Adoption at Your Company

by Brandon Sellers on April 26, 2016

5 minute read

The key to sales success (and keeping management happy) is properly measuring your sales activity. Focusing on the measurement of quantity and quality inputs such as calls, emails, in-person meetings, and social touches is widely considered the key to building a successful sales team. In order to do this correctly, you’ll have to tackle what has arguably become the biggest challenge facing sales managers today--CRM user adoption.

At a previous company I had the pleasure of taking on CRM user adoption, a challenge in which over 63% of large organizations fail at according to Merkle Group. During the six month project, our team went from 20% utilization to 95% utilization while employing the same team and the same CRM system. Simultaneously, we saw our sales pipeline and revenue more than double. This was a direct result of our team efficiently measuring our inputs, a feat that was only possible because we had acquired a process that worked.

This is how we did it.


Without a solid understanding of your user adoption metrics, how will you know when you’ve succeeded? In order to understand your current situation and your goals, you need to develop and track the user adoption metrics that matter most to your company. Below are some of the metrics our company found useful:

  • User logins per day/week/month
  • Frequency of account, case, and campaign updates
  • Internal Support cases, number and frequency
  • Contacts created by owner role per day/week/month
  • Opportunities created last day/week/month

You can utilize these metrics to establish a baseline for how much your team is utilizing your CRM, what your goals are, and what you consider 100% CRM utilization.

Lead the Journey

Every initiative at your company needs a leader, and CRM adoption is no different. Appointing a senior member of your sales team as CRM Ambassador ensures there will always be someone accountable for the CRM process and establishes a team CRM expert. This ambassador will be the one handling training, creating guides, tracking metrics, and ushering in your new CRM processes.

Keep it Simple

The more complicated your CRM is, especially at the beginning, the less your team is going to actually use it. So keep things simple and customize your CRM and your processes around how your team already works. Attempting to drastically change behaviors that are already working will only lead to a failed CRM project. This means if your sales team doesn’t track information like “Spouse”, “Fax Number” and “Address #3”, don’t make them attempt to fill it out. In fact, just remove the field entirely. There is nothing more frustrating for an employee using a new CRM than to see 50 empty fields and have no idea which ones he or she should attempt to fill out.

Automate and Integrate Everything

The secret ingredient to our teams CRM success was integrating and automating everything we could. We wanted our team to be able to “live” where they had always lived and thrived-- their inboxes. So instead of making them come to our CRM, we brought the CRM to their inbox. Our users immediately benefitted from being able to access our CRM from their inbox in the following ways:

  • Eliminating the need to switch between applications
  • Eliminating all duplicate data entry
  • Relying less on new software and instead, having the ability to use familiar applications
  • Automatically importing tons of data like contact emails, contact information, and calendar entries

In order to ease your team into adopting a CRM, integrate your CRM with your email client so that you can:

  • Automatically sync incoming and outgoing messages to your CRM with one click, so you never have to copy a message into a CRM ever again
  • Keeping track of all of your events, tasks, and meetings with one calendar equipped with automatic calendar sync
  • Automatically syncing your contacts between your inbox and your CRM so you only have one, up-to-date contact list
  • Tracking any and all emails that you’ve sent and instantly knowing when a lead has opened your email or clicked a link, all within their inbox

By keeping track of our adoption metrics, appointing a CRM Ambassador, keeping our CRM fields simple, and integrating everything, we were able to increase our user adoption from 20% to 95% in just under six months.

Today, sales leaders can integrate their CRM’s with their inboxes in less than five minutes using Collabspot for Salesforce, SugarCRM (6 and 7), and Highrise. Collabspot helps teams increase user adoption by seamlessly integrating with Gmail to automatically save and archive emails to your CRM, track email opens and clicks, sync Google Contact and Calendar information, and much more.

Our team was able to achieve nearly 100% CRM utilization, but what about yours? Do you have any CRM user adoption war stories? Tell us all about it here.

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