CRM Adoption: Design for the Human Experience

It may be time to take a step back and consider how well your CRM system is designed for the human experience.

by Chris Snyder

Microsoft Dynamic CRM Business Process Flow

Are you finding it difficult to keep your sales team consistently using your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system? Has your team lost faith in the numbers and data that are already there? It may be time to take a step back and consider how well your system is designed for the human experience. Like a sink full of dirty dishes, it’s never fun to get started with the cleanup, but the longer you wait, the bigger the problem grows and the more your company risks losing its technology investment.

Designing CRM for the Human Experience

1. Eliminate Clutter

There is one thing that almost every modern CRM platform has in common: an overwhelming number of standard features. That is what makes them so powerful and easy to rollout quickly. But careful attention should be paid to reducing the noise in your system. Many of the standard forms and fields may not be applicable to your organization, so get rid of them.

If you’re not sure which fields to eliminate, review the important “outputs” from your system. In most cases, reporting needs and automation features will dictate what to leave in, and what to get rid of within your system.

Consider the timing of your required fields as well. Data entry needs increase over the life of an Opportunity, so your users will appreciate not having to enter too much data too soon. Highlighting and gating the sales stages makes it clear to users which fields still need attention. For instance, Microsoft Dynamics CRM has a powerful Business Process Flow feature that allows you to specify what data is important at each stage of your sales process.

Spend time working should-to-shoulder with your team to gain their perspective. You may find there is confusion about how a certain field or form is supposed to be used. You’ll discover many potential improvements as you watch users working in real-life conditions.

When you reduce the clutter that users have to navigate around, and place importance on having a system that supports your employees at each step of the sales process, you’re making the system far more applicable and easy to use. That’s designing for the human experience.

2. Does Your Process Flow?

Consider the various businesses you encounter in a given month. The really successful ones likely have a great customer experience, right? If you’ve shopped at Whole Foods, made a purchase at Amazon or sipped a mocha at Starbucks you have seen how well a carefully refined process can work. On the other hand, if you’ve waited hours for a home service, been 10 carts deep at the grocery store, or lost your confirmed seat on a flight home, you appreciate the power of customer experience.

If adoption of your CRM system is suffering, your process may need some refinement. Your system design should optimize the most often used processes, a.k.a the “happy path”. Spending time with users to watch their interactions with the system will give insight into needed optimizations. Once you’ve done all that you can to make working with “the 80%” efficient, take a look at how well the system supports the remaining “20%”. If users are resorting to various manual one-off processes to handle exceptions, you should look for ways to bring them back into the CRM system.

3. Make It Easy to Find Data

After reviewing the flow, you will be in a better position to gauge how accessible your information is for the users. Are their searches for records productive or frustrating? If you are tracking tasks and activities, is it easy and repeatable for your team to find the next item to work on? Do your Opportunity and Account lists provide the data needed to segment and prioritize work for the sales team? Many CRM systems feature customizable dashboards that can help users navigate the vast amount of data with drill-through charts. Being able to visualize data and find items needing attention based on a click of a bar chart is efficient and rewarding.

Make sure the lists of data you use have the best combination of fields to provide sorting and filtering for all of the different needs. Many times, this will mean having several versions of the same list or report. In that case, you may want to make visible to employees only those versions which are applicable to them. This helps a great deal to reduce noise, clutter and confusion. It will take extra time to make these kinds of adjustments, but users will appreciate the attention paid to fit and finish of the systems they are working in.

4. Be a Champion

Driving adoption for your CRM investment has to come from the top down. Your organization has made a sizable investment in process improvement and automation. You have moved beyond each individual team member having their own spreadsheets that are emailed from inbox to inbox. Demonstrate to your team how valuable the data in your CRM system is to the leadership team, and to the company as a whole. If it’s not valuable (yet) then demonstrate that, too. An old adage is: “You will get what you measure”. If you are measuring your team’s performance by the data in your system, then you will get adoption of something. Just make sure to measure what is most important.

Your vision for your sales automation software should be grander than just, “It’s easy to use.” Having the data that your organization needs, when it needs it, is powerful. Sales is the lifeblood of your business, so the software supporting sales should be in top condition. If you don’t have the expertise in-house to perform a thorough checkup, you owe it to your future self to bring in someone with the right experience to help. After all, no one suffering from a circulation problem should ignore warning signs, and trying DIY remedies is often more harmful than helpful.

If your CRM system needs some spring cleaning and you are interested in improving the Customer Experience for your users, check out our article, Customer Experience Transformation: Three Ways to Get Started.

Learn more about our Customer Service solutions.

Chris Snyder
Chris Snyder
CRM Solutions Lead
Contact Chris