It’s a problem that plagues nearly every IT leader: low CRM adoption.

And it’s frustrating. You’ve implemented the software. You’ve done the training. But despite the clear, convincing promise of your CRM platform, enterprise teams are giving it the cold shoulder.

Sales teams spend 18% of their time in CRM

Fortunately, there are plenty of reasons users will want to adopt CRM. When fully embraced by relationship managers, CRM offers the demonstrated promise of improved customer relationships, enhanced worker productivity, streamlined internal communications, and increased revenue. The benefits of sales team CRM adoption also bring big benefits to other areas of the enterprise. Revenue operations, finance, and business analyst teams work in dashboards that are only as effective as the data on which they’re built. When that data is incomplete or inaccurate, those compromises ripple across the entire organization and hinder enterprise objectives. But when customer-facing teams embrace CRM, the entire enterprise benefits, realizing reduced customer and transaction acquisition costs, enhanced organizational insight, and significantly enhanced bottom-line results. 

While improved CRM adoption benefits the entire enterprise, much of the responsibility for adoption lands in IT’s lap. To help with your efforts, we’ve created a series of steps to accelerate adoption—and realize your CRMs’ full potential. 

Revenue generators spend 65% of their time performing tasks unrelated to selling.

Step 1: Determine and Memorialize Enterprise CRM Adoption Objectives

In industries like insurance and finance, CRM is nearly ubiquitous. But absent clear expectations, its adoption, and use will fall short. So, to ensure CRM adoption and success, it’s vital to develop a clear frame about: 

  • The unique benefits of CRM to each stakeholder’s responsibilities.
  • The high-priority data points are essential to all users (customer name, customer enterprise, role, customer history details, etc.).
  • The nice-to-have data points should be gathered and updated but may not be pertinent for use and maintenance by all stakeholders/end-users.
  • Data that must have additional permissions for viewing and updating.

Step 2: Identify the Metrics Necessary to Measure CRM Adoption Against Desired Objectives—and Track End-User Compliance

Once you’ve established your objectives, it’s essential to develop metrics to measure your progress. The roster of metrics is essentially unlimited and, with most CRMs, highly configurable, but here are a few common examples: 

  • Login rates. How often are users logging into the CRM? Who’s logging in regularly, and who isn’t?
  • Record creation. How often are users creating new records? Consider including the number of opportunities created over designated periods.
  • Record updates. How regularly are records being updated? 
  • # of contacts per opportunity/account. How many people are we working with at each opportunity? 

79% of opportunity-related data collected is never entered into CRM

Step 3: Streamline CRM Performance With Automated Data Integration

While CRM is an essential tool for enterprises seeking to optimize the potential of their customer data, relationship managers and advisors often live and work in Microsoft, Google, and other email and calendar apps. Because data gathered in one platform is collected and stored in discrete silos that don’t interconnect, data integration solutions like Riva bridge critical gaps and improve data quality. 

Through automated, real-time connections between CRM, email, and calendar platforms, data operations deliver on the promise of a Customer 360 experience while eliminating duplicate data entry, platform switching, and the risks inherent in manual data entry.

Related reading: Integrating Customer Data Between Salesforce and Outlook/Exchange

Here’s how Riva’s data operations platform improves data quality through automated data integration: 

  • Riva Sync. By connecting CRM, email, and calendar data silos, Riva Sync makes current, comprehensive customer histories available to relationship managers and advisors in real-time. The benefits are enterprise-wide—ensuring that revenue operations, LOB managers, business analysts, and others can count on good data to project revenue and design products and experiences. And because of Sync’s pass-through architecture, data remains in its secure silos, significantly reducing the risk of a data breach. 
  • Riva Insight. Insight delivers data curation capabilities to end-users in an Outlook sidebar bringing CRM into the inbox and calendar environment. Insight’s robust admin controls and configurable gating capabilities also eliminate the risk of compliance violations resulting in financial penalties and reputation damage.

See how it works:

Step 4: Identify the Reasons Relationship Managers Aren’t Adopting CRM and Address Them 

Change and trepidation are never far apart, no matter how straightforward your CRM may be. And while most people accept the need to embrace new, better technology that promises to (eventually) simplify their work and improve their performance, it often does not deliver on the promise. Some of the reasons users may not adhere to your workflows in CRM can include: 

  • Time required to enter CRM data gathered during customer interactions. If users live in inboxes and calendars, dual entry processes require time, training, and incentive for buy-in.
  • Confusion over proper CRM use. Every CRM process comes with a learning curve, and workers need time and reinforcement to climb them. IT teams can guide workers through new UIs, and workflows to allay anxieties that might hinder progress.  
  • They don’t see the value of routinely updating CRM. Workers are more inclined to embrace technologies when they appreciate the benefits of keeping their managers informed and gaining easier access to better customer data. 

Step 5: Develop and Implement Custom Fields and Processes to Increase the Relevance and Utility of Collected Customer Data to End-Users

Relationship managers are far more likely to adopt CRM when they understand the rationales behind the customer data they’re tasked with gathering—particularly when it’s relevant to their success. When setting objectives and expectations for CRM, enterprises can incorporate custom fields and processes to increase the value of the data users collect to both the enterprise and the users themselves: 

  • Custom fields. Primary fields like name, address, phone number, email address, and others are self-evident—but customized, enterprise-specific objects can provide deeper insights that can improve end users’ customer interactions, inform product and service development, enhance marketing efforts, and guide enterprise initiatives. 
  • Custom processes. Learning enterprises evolve, taking lessons from experience to embrace and integrate successful behaviors into the ordinary course of business. CRM processes can leverage that kind of learning to guide the course of customer engagements—and increase the odds of achieving desired results. 

Step 6: Use Metrics to Evaluate and Improve Data Quality. Measure, Validate, and Improve Business Outcomes Tied to CRM Use 

For IT teams and administrators, the ability to utilize CRM data to measure its use and impact is critical to gaining budget, staff, and buy-in. Using the data gathered in the course of everyday CRM use, you  can determine: 

  • If stakeholders/end-users are capturing the right data in the right places. This is an essential, ongoing data hygiene process that provides actionable feedback on how your CRM users are using your CRM. It offers the opportunity to catch adverse trends early and take steps to resolve them. 
  • If there are areas where stakeholders/end-users need additional training or clarifying changes are necessary. A periodic review of CRM user trends is a simple way to spot both positive and negative use patterns. When multiple users routinely make the same mistakes, it usually signifies a need to provide additional support or rethink the ask to make it more intuitive. 
  • Whether gathered data points are achieving objectives or whether they require rethinking. Over time, enterprise objectives can shift. When they do, it’s worthwhile to evaluate whether your CRM gathers the right data—and makes any necessary changes. 

Step 7: Establish Practices and Protocols to Measure and Build Stakeholder/End-User Satisfaction With CRM Use and Results

CRM and data operations platforms aren’t set-it-and-forget-it technologies. Because both are highly configurable, the enterprise can improve performance and results over time—making them more powerful and effective as they mature. End users live on these platforms every day, so they can provide valuable insights on how to improve them. To gather their feedback, consider: 

  • Implementing regular stakeholder/end-user surveys. Anonymous surveys offer the opportunity for end-users to express their experience with CRM and data integration tools freely. 
  • Scheduling periodic in-person user groups to encourage open discussion of what’s working and what’s not. Like surveys, group discussions tend to loosen tongues—and encourage open dialogue on end-user satisfaction with the CRM and data integration tools they use. 

Step 8: Incentivize and Enforce CRM Adoption 

Even after you’ve exhausted efforts to educate relationship managers on the importance of routine CRM use, you’ll encounter holdouts who simply won’t fully adopt CRM. For the benefit of the enterprise (and of those who do adopt CRM technologies), picking up stragglers may come down to rewarding and enforcing adoption with tactics like: 

  • Implementing adoption incentives. Recognition and reward for satisfactory CRM adoption go a long way toward improving user compliance—and healthy competition can raise the bar for model CRM use.
  • Establishing baseline adoption metrics that all CRM users must achieve. While the carrot is always preferable to the stick, it’s crucial to articulate CRM adoption expectations clearly, clarify baseline metrics—and enforce them. 


Even when its potential has a massive impact, organizational change takes time, consistency, commitment, and help.

If you’re tasked with jump-starting CRM adoption efforts for your enterprise, Riva data integration can play a big part in the solution. Learn more about Riva platform and how it can help your organization.

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