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Usability is Key to Solving CRM Adoption


The changes to your business can be dramatic when you make the move from spreadsheets, pad and paper, your own memory, or whatever it is you’ve been using to manage your customer base to a CRM platform like Salesforce.


Suddenly, all of your customer information is organized and stored in a central location. You can access and update your records from anywhere. Your entire team can finally read from the same page and work as a cohesive whole. Best of all, you can maintain the personal relationships with your customers that have been your hallmark while you scale your organization. And by gathering all of this information about your customers, you gain insights into your business that will make you more responsive and profitable.

Or at least that’s what you hope will happen.

Reality Sinks In

After you’ve pulled the trigger and settle in to start using your new customer relationship management system you realize it’s not as sexy and glamorous as you had envisioned. It begins to set in that what you really have is a big complex database.

The central challenge becomes getting your team to use this fantastic tool when, to them, it represents mind numbing data entry? If your sales team is properly motivated, they want to spend their time selling, not entering customer information into a database. Couple this with the fact that 65% of an average sales rep’s time is spent doing things apart from selling and you can understand why many sales reps balk at the proposition of using an addiitonal tool.

This is why adoption is the primary hurdle to these deployments, and why 74% of organizations report poor adoption. Even worse is the fact that poor adoption quickly becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Without valuable, up-to-date customer data, there is no reason to look up records in it and no incentive to take the time to update information.

Solving the CRM Adoption Riddle

There are volumes written on how to drive adoption. Many focus on using carrots and sticks to incentivize utilization. More recently, companies have begun employing innovative approaches to encourage adoption, such as gamification like our friends at LevelEleven have done.

However, the problem with these approaches is that you’re focusing on ways to prod salespeople into doing something they really don’t want to do - namely interrupt their workflow, stop what they’re doing, go into the CRM, and manually update records. You can goad users into working with the tool through rewards or punishments, but it will be done grudgingly at best.

Instead of trying to force people to do something they don’t want to do, focus instead on what makes your users so reluctant to use your customer relationship management tool in the first place. For most users, the barrier lies in the disjoint between the tool  and where they do most of their work and the need to interrupt workflows.Prialto CRM Management Toolkit  Ebook

Meet Your Users Where They Are

If I’m correct that it is the interruption of their workflow that is the primary challenge to driving adoption, then, armed with this knowledge, what can you do? The answer is to bring your CRM to your users and knock down the barriers between where they’re working and your new system. Since most of us live the majority of our day in our inboxes and this is where the bulk of our customer interaction occurs, bringing your customer relationship management tool into the inbox would be a powerful way of achieving this goal.

The belief that you need to meet your users where they live is why we built Cirrus Insight. Our goal has been to create a seamless integration between Gmail and Salesforce. I’m happy to say we seem to be doing a pretty good job of achieving our goal. Many of our customers report that they rarely, if ever, actually go into Salesforce anymore. For all intents and purposes, we have truly brought Salesforce into the inbox for these users. They create and update records right from Gmail as they open emails and respond to customers. Even better, they’re equipped with powerful contextual information about these customers as they interact with them. So the value of having all of that data in Salesforce is immediately available and constantly reinforced. Suddenly, the barriers to adoption have been lowered to the point of being negligible while simultaneously dramatically increasing the value of your customer relationship management tool by unlocking the data stored in it and automatically displaying it when it’s most needed.

The Results Speak for Themselves

User reports following the deployment of Cirrus Insight have been remarkable. On average, our users have seen more than a 5X increase in Salesforce adoption and usage following integration. Even more, by streamlining workflows and eliminating the need to leave your inbox, look up the pertinent record, create or update it, and then move back to what you were doing, the average salesperson is able to free up more than an extra hour a day to focus on what they really want to be doing, i.e. selling.

Those are just the easily measurable results our users have been able to report. What is harder to quantify, but no less important are the soft benefits of having your customer information constantly at hand. How many deals were closed quicker (or at all) due to the information that was automatically displayed as you’re interacting with a customer? Did you realize there was an open case that needed to be resolved before you asked for the sell? Was there a crucial piece of information that a colleague had logged, or an open opportunity you didn’t even realize was associated with the person you’re talking with? It’s hard to say which of these deals closed that would not have otherwise or would have taken more time and effort to get there, but that doesn’t make this kind of intelligence any less valuable.


Save time with a Prialto Productivity Assistant

This post was authored by our friends at Cirrus Insight, the #1 app for integrating Salesforce with Gmail and Google Apps. With Cirrus Insight, users can streamline workflow, boost productivity and increase sales quickly and efficiently. Launched in 2011, Cirrus Insight is based in Laguna Hills, CA. For more information, visit www.cirrusinsight.com

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