Successfully implementing a new customer relationship management (CRM) software or fund management platform is no small feat – it requires planning, foresight and strategy. Once the implementation is complete and users begin to access the platform, the real work begins: adopting the technology and integrating it into your day-to-day work.
In fact, the majority of capital markets firms we’ve worked with agree that a “successful” roll-out is entirely contingent upon user adoption of the platform. After all, the data is only valuable if it can be leveraged to make more confident decisions and can be used to derive meaningful insights.
In order to derive this value and get users into the platform regularly, a behavioral shift among the team is required. With over 600 successful CRM implementations under our belt, the team at DealCloud have compiled the following list of quick tips for a successful CRM user adoption strategy at your firm that, if followed, will pay dividends for years to come:
“Emphasize the value of clean data.”
An honest data cleanliness assessment is a critical first step of implementation. Once implementation is complete, however, it will take buy-in from all levels of the organization to keep that data clean.
Since your firm’s efforts to cleanse data can easily be undone with a few short weeks of careless use, the value of clean data and good data governance needs to be stressed from the very beginning. If the team values clean data from the get-go, user adoption will be higher.
More specifically, it’s important to communicate the long-term ROI of diligent data entry to the average user. Power users and leaders should paint a picture of the future, where the team will be able to quickly and easily see the full picture of a transaction, a relationship, or a fundraising process.
“Set up de-duplication rules right away.”
All entries like contacts, companies, and deals can have their own de-duplication preferences. De-duplication preferences are rules that you can set to identify duplicates.
For example, a person named “Joseph” or “Joe” will not be universally searchable using traditional tools. But DealCloud’s solution allows you to set preference such as: if 80% of a persons’ name is the same, and they have the same phone number, this will be flagged as a possible duplicate.
By establishing these rules and fields that are important to you, the system lets you flag, and potentially merge, duplicate records without preventing people from adding data to the system which could have a negative impact on user adoption.
“Get into the habit of tracking user and team adoption of the technology.”
To face low CRM user adoption head-on, the DealCloud team encourages our clients to get into the habit of talking about the importance of user adoption during team meetings.
Surfacing user feedback and a general sense of how often users are logging in can also be used to give the firm’s leadership team the ability to know who is struggling with adoption to the platform, as well as if users are using it incorrectly.
“Get to know the value of real-time data through notifications and workflows.”
Your CRM software should not be thought of as a place where data is simply stored and accessed on an as-needed basis. Instead, it should be used as the living, active, and centralized hub for all decision-making and insights.
One way to make the platform feel more like a solution, and less like a repository, is to set up notifications and workflow criteria. For example, you may want to set up notifications based on active deals (these can be configured when a deal moves into the next stage or when a status changes). You can also leverage workflow criteria to automatically assign tasks and trigger notifications for team members based on your specific deal stages and criteria.
“Get top-down buy-in.”
Perhaps most importantly, the Principals and Partners at your firm need to make it clear to everyone that integrating the CRM and leveraging its power is a firm-wide initiative. Just like in post-acquisition integrations, everyone will be looking to the leaders for excitement and for confirmation that the investment will have a big, positive impact… so there needs to be support from the executive level in order for implementation to be successful and CRM user adoption to be high.