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Six steps for CRM adoption with staying power

November 09, 2021By
Two women working

Implementing a new CRM is a big undertaking, and getting buy-in from your team can be challenging—we understand. To increase the likelihood of a successful CRM adoption, you must integrate your business objectives with your digital transformation efforts.

A key part of every efficient organization is having the tech to support it, and having technology that is streamlined is more important than ever. If your organization is looking to enable your team through technology, you should aim to align your digital transformation with your business goals through a new CRM. When adopting Salesforce, or other new CRM, you want to ensure you have a strong roadmap to guide your team through the process and maximize your investment.

Here are our six steps for successful CRM adoption:

1. Have a change management plan

It’s important to have a strong vision and plan for your implementation in order to build a platform that users will benefit from. First, start with a digital transformation checklist. Then consider outlining your implementation’s goals, milestones, and obstacles from the outset. This will prepare you for any resistance you may encounter and allow you to amplify the voices of those championing your plan.

When building out your plan, it’s key to ensure your CRM adoption will be working to support your business goals. Today, digital technology sets the foundation for achieving your mission. Without alignment between your digital transformation and business objectives, your team will struggle to understand the importance of the implementation and the two directives will clash.

We recently sat down with Bobby Cameron, Vice President, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research to discuss how some of North America's top organizations are aligning their technology to their business objectives.

2. Know your end-user, and involve them from the outset

It comes as no surprise that users are more likely to embrace change if they feel as though they’ve had a seat at the table. By sitting down with team members to get a strong understanding of their role, the more likely they’ll embrace change. Start the conversation through interviews to discuss the day-to-day processes of their role, followed by context understanding and co-design.

These discussions shouldn’t stop early on. Be sure to allow for regular feedback, address uncertainties, and provide the necessary support.

3. Demonstrate leadership buy-in

Working with your leadership team to ensure they understand the value of your Salesforce implementation is key as they can either create roadblocks or become drivers of the adoption. If your leadership doesn’t see the importance of a digital transformation, you will struggle to set budgets, create project timelines, and sign agreements. Plus, employees look to the executive team to communicate business objectives, and if the goals don’t align with technology overhauls, your project may not get off the ground.

Leadership buy-in doesn’t end at signing a contract; executive support should be present throughout the CRM adoption process. First, build executive reporting requirements into the design to ensure executives see the value first hand. By making information easy to access, leadership is likely to reference that data in meetings rather than previous locations, further demonstrating the day-to-day impact of the CRM.

Finally, don’t forget to set realistic expectations. This should be around both the resources needed to implement and maintain Salesforce as well as when benefits from the CRM can be expected.

4. Ensure sufficient training and support from the start

While generalized group training is helpful, also plan to hold specialized training for each team to answer role-specific questions and ensure proper use from day one. By breaking down processes by role and giving employees manageable and measurable steps, you’ll help create positive momentum.

Additionally, provide opportunities to ask questions as they go and have follow-up training to reiterate important user information. While Salesforce is easy to use, it still requires time for training, learning, and repetition. In the long run, you want to ensure clean data, and that requires a tailored learning program that can be adapted to a variety of learning styles.

5. Make the CRM your single source of truth

One of the main goals of digital transformation and CRM adoption is to get out of technical debt and siloed data. In order to maximize your Salesforce investment, set up the necessary integrations right away. This will help you avoid manual entries and duplicate data that could frustrate and deter your users.

This is another reason why proper training is so important to a successful CRM adoption, as you want to ensure your team is using your CRM as the single place for data entry and not falling back on old systems. Plus, the more simple the CRM, the easier it is to use and the more adoption you’ll have.

6. Have follow-up conversations with your users

Throughout your CRM adoption, create touchpoints to gather feedback, answer questions, and share success stories. It’s important to show users that your digital transformation is not just being implemented, but that it’s contributing to the larger goals of the business. Having regular conversations around how many users you have and where it has helped the team save time, close deals, or improve customer relationships will show your team the ongoing benefits of your CRM.

Making your digital impact

Introducing Salesforce into your organization is a big undertaking, and we know how important it is to maximize your investment. At Traction on Demand (ToD), we use a Digital Impact Framework (DIF) that was built around a future fit strategy and takes the complexity out of strategic design. This helps our clients with their digital transformation and allows for success at every stage of their Salesforce project.

Digital Impact Framework Pyramid

What’s the DIF?

At ToD, we use this Digital Impact Framework to ensure a successful CRM adoption:

  • Take the lead: We take the business’s organizational vision combined with our step-by-step plan to empower its people, processes, and technology. These core pillars are what make each organization thrive, and a digital transformation that’s aligned with business objectives can do that with efficiency and purpose.
  • Defining the path forward: Our team helps avoid disruption with clear tasks, goals, and measurable outcomes. We enable a smart delivery and add continued strategic value.
  • Enabling the organization: At ToD, we work with customers to establish the right approach to build a sustainable model with an emphasis on adoption and generating long-term business value from a Salesforce investment.

People, process, technology

The success of your technology relies primarily on your team’s adoption and your digital transformation’s alignment with your business objectives. By having a solid change management plan and continuously communicating with your team, your organization will be set up for a successful CRM implementation while maximizing your Salesforce investment well into the future.

Looking to create a future fit strategy?

Get started on your own digital transformation; check out our “Why future fit is right, right now” webinar.