Build a Strategy to Improve User Adoption
Humans love their routine—it’s just one of the basic facts of life. Once we have found a way we like to do things and we become comfortable with it, it’s near impossible to change our approach without some form of pushback and frustration. With that said, it’s easy to see why the implementation and subsequent user adoption of CRM and ERP software can be such a huge task within a business. The enterprise-wide systems represent a huge change for every employee, both in respect to their day-to-day tasks and the wider business processes.
It’s no surprise that a large percentage of employees will resist change on such a large scale. This kind of resistance will translate into poor usage of your costly new system as employees fall back into their old ways of tracking and management (see: the too-common Excel spreadsheet). The software requires full input of company data to be successful, and that requires full acceptance from your team. Low user adoption is one of the biggest enemies to a new CRM or ERP project and an easy way to guarantee that you won’t be seeing the results and ROI you planned for—an all-out project failure. That’s why a structured CRM and ERP change management strategy is necessary in any project you embark upon. Read on for four tips on how to ease your employees into new enterprise software—and make them happy about it!
Communicate your intentions and your strategy for the project as early as possible. Employees will feel betrayed if you spring such a big change on them late in the game. A heads-up will also give them time to start preparing the transition out of their old methods, be they paper notes or Excel spreadsheets. Your team will always be more receptive to change if they know what’s coming. Plan a company-wide announcement and meeting to discuss how the new CRM or ERP software will change your processes and best practices.
This is also a great time to reach out for employee feedback. Since they are the people who will be operating within the system daily and who will be crucial to its success, they should have a significant say in how the project develops. Try and identify the employees who seem most resistant to the new system and see if you can get to the root of their apathy: is it a certain factor of the new software they feel can be improved, or is it a miscommunication of value? The employees holding out the most determinedly are the ones you need to focus on convincing—they could be your greatest allies going forward!
Make Change Management a Priority
CRM and ERP change management should never be an afterthought. Assign the administration of it to a specific person within your project team rather than just having everyone "keep it in mind." Making the task a specific employee’s priority will build accountability into the project, but that doesn’t mean every step should then be given over to that worker. Careful change management should constantly be on your project team’s minds from the day the software project gets approved right through to go-live day, and beyond!
Your team’s job is to ensure that every employee within the company, no matter the role, is jumping headfirst into the system, not just expecting everyone else to participate while they skate by on their old methods. This kind of attitude will eventually spread throughout the company (especially if one employee sees another getting away with it), obstructing your software project before it even gets off the ground.
Get a High-Level Sponsor
Once you have a plan in place for CRM and ERP change management and an outline of all the benefits the new software will provide for your company, you need to find a high-level employee within your company to be the project’s champion. Your executive sponsor will be one of the most valuable tools in your arsenal, inspiring confidence in the new system throughout your whole organization right from the get-go. Their job is to help you and your project team demonstrate the true value of the CRM or ERP to the entire company, not just the C-Suite.
Build an Immersive Training Strategy
Going into a CRM or ERP implementation or integration without a concrete, written training strategy is simply asking for your project to fail. Training shouldn’t simply be about teaching your staff; it should be about showing them the value of the software. If they are presented with a user-friendly interface that encourages thorough data entry and will improve their day-to-day operations, it goes without saying that they will be more likely to adopt the software post go-live. An accessible and intuitive user experience will go a long way towards easing the sting of leaving the old methods behind. Make your training specific to each user, their role, and how they will interact with the system during the functions of their job to maximize the value of training hours and keep employees interested and engaged throughout the change.
A proper CRM or ERP change management strategy is one of the most vital parts of the engine driving the success of your software implementation. The plan must be thorough, but also flexible. The software implementation process can be a long and often unpredictable road, and you should be prepared for the speed bumps and unexpected turns along the way. If your change management strategy can’t accommodate for those factors, it will not succeed.
For help with your upcoming software selection and implementation or advice on building out your own CRM and ERP change management strategy, contact an expert at Datix today! A certified partner of Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 as well as an Epicor Platinum Partner, Datix has comprehensive enterprise software prowess. We have 20 years of experience helping countless businesses implement new enterprise software: let us help yours.