CRM software selection

So you have implemented the savvy new CRM system for your business. This is a great step in the right direction to help you manage your customer related data. But have you assessed whether your company’s staff is geared up to adapt to and adopt the new system? CRM is after all just a software tool for managing data and its real effectiveness will lie in the willingness and the proper usage of the capabilities of the system.

Just buying a CRM system will not guarantee success and business growth. It is equally important to get your staff to be familiar with the tool. Most of the CRM vendors will offer you training support- you must make the most of it.

Steps in CRM Training

The best CRM training needs to be well designed and executed. Else all the effort will be naught! Some CRM training best practices listed here could help you leverage more benefits of CRM training for your organization:

Personalization is the key – dig deep!

Where generic CRM solutions often need to be tweaked to match the unique scenario for your company, similarly the training will also need to be tailor-made for you. For this, it is very important that you thoroughly understand the skills of your staff. You can conduct a survey or get the teams to fill out questionnaires to help you gauge their existing skillsets. This will also help you identify the areas and teams that need specific training. All teams may not require knowing all the features of the CRM solution in the same depth. You may also create skill level groups and batch similar ones together for training.

Make plans that work, and not only look good on the drawing board

A training plan is a must. It can have a broad level schedule for generic training, and even smaller sessions as well as individually customized sessions.

The plan can include training sessions from the developers, product managers and the experts of CRM can help your staff get well-versed with the same. They will help you get what you desire – getting more acceptability for the users to adopt the CRM. You need to get their buy-in – after all, it is the users who will ultimately use the system.

Plan to have a few CRM champions within the organization. This core group can have people who are all charged up; make sure that they get all feature training, and they can lead the training and adoption within internal teams.

Keep the message clear and simple

A good training is the one that not only ‘familiarizes’ the future users of the CRM platform, rather ‘inspires’ them to move on with times for their own betterment. Hence, the training should not only focus on ‘how’, but should try and answer the ‘why’.

The teams must understand how the new system will help them save time and efforts, and increase their sales and productivity. This can be done with an attitude to regard your staff as customers and try and aggressively sell the CRM idea to them!

Once the teams are on to your side and feel comfortable with the philosophy behind the CRM implementation and methodology, you will find them more open to change their ways of working. Otherwise, no matter how much training is conducted, most of them will fall back to their old ways.

Train users how to enter customer data into the CRM software. They should be familiar with adding, editing and removing data. Equally important is to know how to query the system, generate reports or use available reports, use dashboards and map them for marketing campaigns, customer issues or customer tracking trends.

Focus on not only the sales reps but also on how the CRM system is a pure ecosystem around the customer over which the entire business ethos of the company can be built. Hence, the staff should be able to appreciate how CRM can help set business goals, based on the satisfaction of its customers. For example, you can have dedicated sessions for new opportunity creation from the CRM.

Track it through

Let the training not go waste. Track the usage of the CRM system in various teams, and link it to their goals and even performance if needed. Use your champions to drive the adoption within teams.

Be all ears

Have a system wherein the employees can send unbiased and true feedback about how they found the training. Both after the sessions and more importantly, after they have put the learnings to use. Use this as a direct visibility to improve the training.

Once more… and then again!

CRM technology innovates and churns out new and better variants. The product itself may undergo a number of upgrades and the new look and feel may be totally different from the initial version that you acquired. Hence, retrain your staff periodically, to keep them up-to-date with the changes.

Attrition is a stark reality. Your personnel may have changed since the last time you conducted the training and may have only a passing familiarity with the system due to on-the-job learning. A fresh round of training shall ensure the in-depth knowledge of CRM remains an asset for all and hence overall for your company!

The above is not an attempt to be a CRM training guide, but can certainly ensure that you get more bang out of your training. It aims to increase the awareness of the software, its features, functionality and applicability to unique needs within the various teams. Training shall help boost the confidence in the staff, and this should be the first step in building a business that centers on its customers.