User Adoption in CRM Software Implementations

User Adoption in CRM Software Implementations according to the experts. With industry studies reporting high failure rates of up to 63% due to low digital adoption, Ney and hosts emphasize the responsibility of Microsoft partners to provide tailored guidance and introduce tools like ClickLearn upfront to ensure successful implementation. The value of data is too high to ignore, and businesses must address the challenge of user adoption upfront to stay competitive. The challenges and importance of user adoption in CRM software implementation are explained in this episode with the help of guest Jeff Ney, President of New Dynamic, LLC. Tune in to learn more about digital adoption and its impact on business success.

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user adoption in CRM software implementations

Jeff Ney on user adoption in CRM software implementations


Low user adoption can lead to incomplete or inaccurate data, bad reporting. And ultimately a loss of faith in the CRM system. You wind up in scenarios with spreadsheets off to the side. And unfortunately, this lack of adoption can continue to spiral down, spiral downward.

As new users are introduced to the system, they can receive poor training and overall lack of direction when it comes to the benefits that the CRM system can offer. 

I think that’s where a tool like ClickLearn can come into play and and be a great benefit to an organization, especially when you’re introducing new users to a system.

Jeff Ney

Jeff Ney, President New Dynamic, LLC on user adoption in crm software implementations


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User adoption is vital to successful digital transformation

Digital transformation is about leveraging digital tools to improve business processes, culture, and customer experiences. However, even the most advanced software solutions can fall flat without widespread digital adoption. By following best practices for increasing user adoption, the chances of succeeding with a digital transformation project can be increased. 

User Adoption In Digital Transformation Featured Image

6 Best Practices for Better User Adoption

Start solving the user adoption puzzle today and increase your chances for digital transformation success. Enable your users to use software to its fullest potential.

The full transcript

[00:00:00] Advice on user adoption in CRM software implementations from Jeff Ney

Rick McCutcheon: Hello everybody. My name’s Rick McCutcheon. I’m a Dynamics 365 MVP, and I want to welcome you for joining us on digital adoption talks. Today there are over 300,000 business professionals with digital adoption in their job titles on LinkedIn. So on this show with my co-host, Joachim Schiermacher, CEO of ClickLearn, we talk to some of the leading digital adoption experts in the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem. Today we’re thrilled to have Jeff Nye, the president and Microsoft Partner, New Dynamic. Jeff. Introduce yourself and tell the people.

Jeff Ney: Thank you, Rick. Happy to spend some time with you and Joachim today. I’m Jeff Ney, president of New Dynamic.

We are a Microsoft partner, solely focused on the Dynamics 365 customer engagement platform. Based in Kansas City, we serve clients across North America. Our services include engagements at range from very strategic in nature, such as envisioning workshops and CRM road mapping exercises to implementations, customization, work integration, training, and support, all related to the Dynamics 365 CE platform.

Rick McCutcheon: Do you have a football team in Kansas City too? We do.

Jeff Ney: We do. Okay. Pulling, for them. Very strong right now.

[00:01:16] Avoid failure. Don’t ignore user adoption in CRM software implementations

Rick McCutcheon: All right, great. So let’s get right into this Jeff, because I was looking on your website and you’ve got a big statement out there and it says, ´Avoid failure. Don’t ignore user adoption.’

Then it reads, ‘Low adoption occurs when your D 365 user activity, or your users actively resist utilizing the components of the system. Amazingly, multiple industry studies claim failure rates between 47% and 63% for new CRM software implementations.’ Jeff, what is this all about?

[00:02:00] Success in CRM is defined by user adoption

Jeff Ney: Rick, if you think about it, success in the CRM world, more so than any other type of business application is defined by user adoption.

Business executives, business owners, they set off on CRM initiatives to achieve certain outcomes. These may be higher sales team productivity, better visibility in the sales process or the pipeline, better communications between marketing, sales, and customer service, or a more streamlined quoting process.

In all of these cases, the objective has little chance of becoming a reality without high user adoption.

Rick McCutcheon: Okay. Joachim, would you like to add anything about what it says on the new dynamic?

Joachim Schiermacher: No, I think that is just wonderful that a partner actually puts it on the front page of their website because this is what we’ve been preaching and obviously with Jeff, we are preaching to the choir. But I think that part of this is it’s, really great and I think that you are absolutely right when you say that more than, more so than any other application area.

[00:02:46] Customer engagement side is important

I think that the customer engagement side is particularly necessary because we’ve had salespeople that we put through devastating tasks of getting more information from the market and put it into our sebel system, if you remember that platform, right? Which was a horrible processes to put on top of someone that actually wants to close.

[00:03:08] Who’s scared of user adoption in CRM software implementations?

There’s a certain resistance in the sales force out there. Whenever someone says CRM everyone looks a little scared, right? It’s, not necessarily a positive thing for them. So I think that the idea of bringing the right user to adopt is really the difference between being successful in a customer engagement process and not being successful.

So I, I applaud that.

[00:03:30] Failure is still a big word

Rick McCutcheon: I’ve done a few CRM projects, probably over 200. Failure’s a big word. And when I see failure I think we have to be clear that because we’re in the cloud now, we don’t have the technical failure we used to have like synchronization problems, mobility problems. I think we’ve got that piece sorted out.

[00:04:00] 25 years of CRM in, and we still have a digital adoption problem in sales

But it’s amazing that we’re like 26 years into the CRM journey from when we’re talking about Siebel. The first time I saw them in New York at a trade show that said, we’re a CRM company, and we were all Salesforce automation companies and we all looked at each other. What the heck’s a CRM company?

We soon found out, but we’re 25 years later and we’re still talking about sales, digital adoption being a problem. So I think it has a lot to do with the design of the system. Not made for not made for the salespeople, but I think they don’t engage the salespeople enough.

When they’re building the system and then there’s no digital adoption program put in place at the end to make sure that they’re coached through the process.

Joachim Schiermacher: I agree on that. And I think that the idea around utilization, I mean imagine that this was a server is that didn’t run.

[00:05:00] User adoption in CRM software implementations does matter

Alright. Our system is down. I don’t think that any project would last more than six seconds without having that server kicked off again, right and ready to function. But for some reason, when we are talking utilization from a Salesforce on, our CRM, Ah, doesn’t really matter, right? It’s exactly the same thing.

It’s just the people side of it. And we’ve, actually, and it’s, taken us this long to get to the point where we value the the, actual adoption of the users as high as we do on the server.

Rick McCutcheon: And when it comes to sales not having that data, Which really is the point here, right?

Because if we have a low user adoption, the data’s in a spreadsheet. This I guarantee, like when we’re doing a study on sales productivity for a company, and I’m looking at the CRM, I don’t see the data there. I just turn around and say, okay, show me your spreadsheet, and you’ll see some of the best spreadsheet applications you’ve ever seen in your life that these salespeople have built for themselves, or in some cases the manager built it and his whole team or her team’s using this spreadsheet and yeah. Yeah, we use CRM. You’ll see the phone numbers have been there.

[00:06:00] So Jeff, let’s talk a little bit about the ripple effect of low digital adoption.

Jeff Ney: Think about all the different kinds of business processes companies have the ability to manage now and enhance through the use of a CRM solution. But no matter how automated we become, most of these key business processes will always, they’re going to continue to require some element of active human participation.

[00:06:27]   What does low user adoption in CRM software implementations lead to?

Low user adoption can lead to incomplete or inaccurate data. Just like you mentioned, Rick, bad reporting. And ultimately a loss of faith in the CRM system. You wind up in scenarios like you just mentioned, with spreadsheets off to the side. And unfortunately, this lack of adoption can continue to spiral down, spiral downward.

[00:07:00] Digital tools can help realize benefits of CRM systems

And think about it as, as new users are introduced to the system, they can receive poor training and it overall lack of direction when it comes to the benefits that the CRM system can offer. I think that’s where a tool like ClickLearn can come into play and be a great benefit to an organization, especially when you’re introducing new users to a system.

Joachim Schiermacher: No, I think that’s pretty much why people are at, least investing with us. And, we are investing with our clients. That is obviously on the onboarding journey and the idea of getting everyone on board in a safe way and that. I can tell you that first impressions do last in the sense that if you get off to the right start, that’s a very high likelihood that you will succeed on your implementation. Have a high user adoption. So getting that right the first time is really important. Not the second or the third time around, but the first time.

[00:07:39] Digital tools help with performance issues

And then the second thing is the performance support issues, right? That even though you go through all this training and You, spend a massive amount of resources on training people.

There’s still those infrequently performed tasks that you’ll just never learn, right? Doing your time, expenses stuff like that where you need a different methodology than traditional training because we just can’t train it for you because you’re going to forget it. Because it’s going to take a month before you actually get into the experiment around that process.

[00:08:08] Drive digital adoption with virtual assistance

And that there’s, the room for, actually driving some sort of digital adoption solution inside your space with virtual assistance that guide the user through those types of processes. I think that it’s, really on the spot that, that serving them inside the application, making sure that they get the best possible onboarding experience.

[00:08:28] Continuous training is key

And after that, making sure that you’re actually continuing the training with, an a positive digital option solution.

Rick McCutcheon: And when we start talking about the ripple effect I, was thinking probably, I’m going to say at least 10 years ago I, did a lot of work for Microsoft Canada.

I’m in Toronto, and I I was working with the CRM lead for Canada and we put a workshop together that talked about what’s the ROI for CRM. So I built all these calculators. Right from, what’s the value of a lead? What’s the value of a lead conversion? What’s the value of the an opportunity conversion?

[00:09:06] If users aren’t putting data into a system, it’s a problem

And I spent weeks and I had all these calculators, and then it just dawned on me after I, I built the course and facilitated it was it’s just, what’s the value of the data, right? What’s the value of data? And you can turn it and twist it any way you want, but if the users aren’t putting the data in the system, or it’s taking too much time, or it’s a problem.

[00:09:30] The data is valuable for user adoption in CRM software implementations

I think that becomes the ripple effect from the ROI perspective, from the users. They’re not happy and they may leave you right. But from a business perspective, that data is worth hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars. And when we start talking that way to organizations about CRM, it changes.

And I remember we were in one sales meeting and I brought this up and the CFO is sitting there and she’s going, You’re right. And guess who started showing up for every sales meeting every week? The CFO. Because she’s sitting there going, put the data in the system type of thing, right? So I think it’s the way companies look at it.

[00:10:10] The responsibility of the Microsoft Partner to get digital adoption right

How valuable is this and what can we do to, get it right? So Jeff, our next question, we’re going to lead back to you being a Microsoft partner. What’s the responsibility of a Microsoft partner to really get digital adoption right for their customers?

Jeff Ney: good Microsoft partner will provide tailored guidance based on past experiences.

[00:10:30] Partners need to identify potential hurdles clients will face

I think an honest, upfront discussion about the challenge for user adoption in CRM software implementations includes identifying the potential hurdles the client will face early in the journey is the best thing for both the client and the partner. I know New Dynamic makes a practice of this, and when it comes to ClickLearn in particular, we introduce the tool upfront and typically include the recommendation in our initial proposal.

Rick McCutcheon: So I think you’re right. I think that a partner’s got to go into a project not only looking toward bidding the work to get it done. They have to say ‘I’m going to do the work for you’, but need make sure you’re this works for them and becomes part of their business.

[00:11:13] Microsoft Partners need to build trust with clients

Joachim Schiermacher: I think that’s really the idea of bringing up. That it’s about building trust with the client as well. If you’re not bringing up the potential client problems that the client does not see now, then you’re not a very good partner, even though it’s, it might not be the most positive news you can bring along, but we are not there to bring positive news.

[00:11:31] Tell clients that the biggest challenge they will face is user adoption in CRM software implementations

We are there to make sure that we solve the pains that we are going to see ahead of us. And I think bringing up exactly that user adoption is, which is by far the, biggest challenge in the, in the CRM projects that you’re going to see. We can create all the technologies. It’s fairly easy to customize the processes.

We have fantastic tooling around that. But driving the actual people to utilize this, making sure that they know what to do inside the solution, making sure that their every day is not changed. And if it’s changed, then we actually have that information chain going, that we are changing this because we think we can do better.

[00:12:00] Bringing up challenges for user adoption in CRM software implementations builds trust

I think that’s something that will bring up a lot of trust from the client in, a partner that brings that agenda up at the very forefront. So I think that we are seeing that more and more that, the issue is being brought up and that’s really positive.

[00:12:30] How it started versus how it’s going – the CRM version

Rick McCutcheon: And, I think it makes business sense for a partner because back in the good old days of CRM where we’d sell you a license for $2,500, get out and we’d sell you your initial project for $300,000.

Once you got that check from a customer, they’re not going anywhere, right? We could take six months to implement this thing and have all kinds of problems. That customer’s not going anywhere? No.

We’re in cloud computing now, right? They turn on a $59, $69 license or a power platform license for $10 and they say, can you help me get started?

[00:13:00] Microsoft Partners should have digital adoption professionals to aid user adoption in CRM software implementations

So the partners that know how to do this now really look at say, okay, how do I onboard them? How do I get them up and happy? But this project will go on for three or four years now as it starts to expand out, and especially now when we’re sitting in this Microsoft cloud environment where we’re bringing in teams, we’re bringing in, now Viva, we’re bringing in marketing automation.

Those projects go on forever. So they’re going to stick with the partner that can really get this thing implemented. And it just, I think, makes business sense for a partner to have digital adoption professionals working for them. Okay, I want to thank you both for joining me today because we could talk about digital adoption and salespeople for a long time. But Jeff, do you have any closing remarks?

[00:13:44] Deep dive into user adoption in CRM software implementations

Jeff Ney: Just want to thank you for allowing me to join the conversation with you and Joachim today. And Joachim I can’t say enough good things about ClickLearn. I appreciate that. The team at New Dynamic love what you and your team are doing.

And I’ll say if anyone would like to take a deeper dive into CRM, user adoption you can check out a recent blog post of ours about addressing CRM user adoption issues before they occur. The whole concept of like we just discussed, is knowing that they’re going to be there, they’re going to happen.

Having that honest discussion up upfront and addressing early.

Joachim Schiermacher: Pleasure having you, Jeff, and congratulations on driving one of the very few CRM businesses that actually take user adoption very seriously.