Full adoption of a customer relationship management system can help your business succeed.

Illustration of the components of customer relationship management.Over 91% of companies with more than 11 employees use a customer relationship management system (CRM).* That means, if your business is larger than a few people, it likely has a CRM. But are your employees actually using it?

As with any new business technology, a CRM can face opposition from employees who are more comfortable with the previous ways of conducting business. But if you want to maximize the value of your CRM, you have to get your people to adopt it. You can start by following these tips.

Make Sure You Have the Right CRM

There are a lot of different CRMs on the market with a variety of formats and features. Not all of them are a great choice for all types of companies. If you’re seriously struggling with adoption, you may not have a CRM that’s well-tuned for what you do. If you decide you need a new CRM—or if you are choosing a CRM for the first time—make sure other businesses similar to yours have had good experiences with the CRM you select. Also, it’s a good idea to get employee input on which CRM they prefer. Doing so can help you get early buy-in from everyone.

Customize Your CRM

Most CRMs include options to customize everything from the look of your dashboard to the types of reports you can run. You should take advantage of this customizability, working with the CRM provider to ensure your CRM is tailored to your needs. The more your CRM fits your company, the more likely employees are to adopt it.

Make Sure Your CRM Is Mobile and Cross-Platform Compatible

In today’s connected world, it makes sense to choose a cloud-based CRM that’s accessible from anywhere. This will allow your employees to access the CRM when they are on the road or working from home, increasing the likelihood they will use it. However, make sure the CRM you choose is fully functional on all mobile and desktop platforms. You don’t want a situation where only one type of device (e.g., only iPhone) works with the system.

Make Sure Your CRM Can Integrate Other Software

It’s highly unlikely you can get employees to stop using their current e-mail program and other daily-use software. That shouldn’t be a problem so long as you make sure your CRM integrates software like Microsoft Outlook and Office.

Explain the Benefits to Employees

For employees to adopt a new technology, they typically need to believe it will make their jobs easier. When speaking to employees about CRM adoption, focus on the direct benefits to them. For instance, point out how having a central location for customer data will reduce paperwork and save employees from the annoyance of digging through files. CRMs can also significantly cut down on the amount of time spent generating reports, as CRMs can create many reports with a click of a button. Plus, when CRMs are used properly, they can increase sales, which can increase the sales team’s earnings and other team’s yearly bonuses.

Provide Training

It may seem obvious, but it must be said: If you don’t train your employees on how to use your CRM, they’re unlikely to ever be comfortable with it.

Start Small

CRMs can do a lot, with many of them designed to be scalable depending on your growth plans. However, you don’t have to use everything immediately. In fact, to get employees using your CRM, you may want to start off with only a few, key functions enabled. As everyone becomes comfortable with those functions, you can expand the CRM.

Include Everyone

Some think CRMs are only useful to a company’s salesforce. This isn’t true. Every division within a company can benefit from a CRM, because every division within the company—from R&D to marketing to warehousing—can use customer data to improve their part of the business. As such, you should make sure your entire company is encouraged to use your CRM, particularly for cross-departmental communication.

Earn an MBA Degree

Understanding how to utilize business technology to streamline and improve business functions is vital to leaders of the future. If you want to be the kind of business manager who can truly motivate employees, you should consider earning an advanced business degree. In particular, you should look into a Master of Business Administration.

Part management degree and part business administration degree, a master’s of business administration can help you gain the skills you need to succeed in management. And you don’t even have to take time off from your career to earn one. Nowadays, many of the best business schools and top MBA programs offer online MBA programs that let you complete the majority of your coursework from home. Plus, when you earn an MBA online, you won’t have to attend classes at times that conflict with your job. Instead, you can attend class at whatever time of day works best for you.

Online education is making it possible for working adults like you to earn an MBA degree. And earning an online MBA can make it possible for you to lead your business to greater success.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Business Administration degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

*M. Taylor, 18 CRM Statistics You Need to Know for 2018, SuperOffice, on the internet at www.superoffice.com/blog/crm-software-statistics.

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