CRM user adoption is a lot like a healthy lifestyle. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. But it’s not that simple. Improving CRM adoption takes planning, focus, and commitment. It also takes the right set of tools to support your success.

For the average business, the expected CRM ROI rate is 5-to-1 (a $5 return for every $1 invested). Why is it, then, that many CRM projects fail to achieve this ROI resulting in a loss of resources, time, and money? What steps can you take to ensure your team embraces your CRM implementation?

What can you do if you have implemented CRM in your organization and do not see the adoption and ROI you’d hoped for? If it’s a new CRM implementation, what are the principles, metrics, and tips that can help bring your CRM vision to life, increase user adoption, and create a customer-centric culture in your organization? Read on!

4 key principles to increase CRM user adoption

  • communicate the vision;
  • get employee buy-in;
  • define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and how you will report on them;
  • implement CRM “edge” applications that make using CRM easier.

1. Communicate the vision

You’ve done your research and understand the value of implementing CRM in your business. You’re clear on what you want CRM to help you achieve. Now it’s time to communicate that vision and value to your customer-facing employees. Ultimately, it’s your users who will drive your CRM’s success. Ensure that all CRM users can see your vision and realize its value to the company.

2. Get employee buy-in

Merely getting your employees to understand your vision is not enough. They need to embrace the value – from their perspective. Help your team understand what’s in it for them and how this new CRM and cultural change translates into direct value for them personally. They need to know how it will help make their job easier and better, help them do more in less time with less effort, and help them serve their customers better – a win-win-win solution. Learn more about the importance of employee buy-in and suggestions on how to get your whole team on board.

3. Define KPIs and how you will report on them

Identifying which metrics are important to track for your organization can be overwhelming. Here are three that we consider vital to understanding whether your CRM implementation meets your organization’s user adoption and ROI goals. We recommend establishing a regular frequency to pull and review these reports, weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

  • Usage

Is your team using CRM, and if so, how? A primary indicator of success is understanding who is (and isn’t) logging into CRM. You’ll also want to understand how your team is using CRM. Are they actively and consistently updating data and creating new opportunities, contacts, cases, depending on their role within your organization?

  • Data quality

CRM data quality is one of your company’s most valuable assets. High CRM data integrity translates into higher user confidence and adoption. Because the amount of data in CRM is continuously growing and degrades quickly, every business is at risk of suffering from low data quality over time. Track prospect accounts with missing fields, accounts with key fields populated, accounts missing rating fields, and the number of key non-required fields filled out to gauge data quality.

  • Business performance

To better understand your CRM user adoption and how it impacts your business, you’ll want to measure usage and how well your CRM is utilized. For example, measuring things like pipeline, sales trends, activity type, win ratio, and leads can help you measure your CRM’s impact on your business and how to help you visualize how well your team is embracing the new technology.

4. Implement CRM “edge” applications that make using CRM easier

Part of the reason that CRM projects fail is the lack of incorporating supporting applications that ease the pain of CRM adoption for your team members – including flexible CRM and email integration.

These applications are critical because they allow your team to experience the least amount of disruption in the way they work, making it more likely they will embrace CRM. While “free” CRM integration plugins and options may meet limited needs for some organizations, many find they are unreliable and end up causing additional work for your users. Requiring users to enter the same data in multiple systems detract from your CRM implementation’s promised vision.

When your team is forced to work in a new workflow if they aren’t comfortable, it can put your CRM implementation at risk – resulting in low user adoption and data integrity. Incorporating tools that allow your team to continue working in the applications they are used to working in – like their email inbox, contacts, calendar, and tasks – can make or break your CRM project’s success.

Our tip? Research and identify “edge” applications that support a successful implementation while researching your CRM platform. Look for applications that:

  • are easy to implement and require little to no maintenance and support;
  • work across all mobile devices and email clients used in your business today and for the foreseeable future;
  • have proven success across a wide variety of industries and organizations of all sizes;
  • share your company’s requirements and goals for security and privacy.


Forrester Study of Riva’s Transformative Impact: 352% ROI, less than 6 months to payback
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