CRM 2011 – Learn It or Lose It – Why CRM training is vital for success

I read a great article today in the CRM strategy section on the Crmbuyer website

The article had the title – Why does CRM Training get the Short Shrift?

This article made an excellent point which I have seen many times, companies often think that just by a new CRM system that it will magically fix all their problems, they believe not only will it fix the problems which made them buy the new CRM system but it will also fix other problems they didn’t even know they had.

I think this is the same kind of thinking where people think Social media will generate new sales by the bucket load and by creating a blog, getting a few people in the company to tweet a few random things, suddenly they will be fighting customers off.  Unfortunatly it isn’t that easy, creating your blog and twitter account is just the start of a long journey where you learn to use them.

CRM is a huge topic with a vast scope just plonking users in front of CRM, even CRM 2011 with it’s fancy dashboards isn’t going to help them not only know how to use CRM but importantly what CRM can do and how they can use it to solve their CRM problems or just increase efficiency of the companies CRM.

I think if a company doesn’t give it’s employees training in the capabilities of CRM then how can it expect the users to know how to use CRM and know what parts of CRM will help them solve certain problems.  I think it would be similar to buying someone a fancy sports car but then not showing them how to change gear so they just spend all the time driving slowly in first gear wondering why this car was so expensive.

The article has some fantastic quotes

Good training should inspire as well as inform; by seizing the opportunity that training presents, you can get your employees thinking not just about how to use the application but about new ways to use data. Remember that CRM is always a work in progress, and it’s always good to have help with that progress from the people who are closest to the customer.

This highlights one of the most important points of CRM, it’s about people taking control of their data.  CRM 2011 allows you to report and analyise all the data you put into CRM.  This allows people to start looking at their data in different ways, reporting on information they haven’t reported on before.  To do this you need to be taught how to manipulate the information in CRM you would find it difficult to get the most of CRM 2011.

These two paragraphs are very persuasive as to why companies should not look at CRM training as an extra cost they avoid paying, in the end it is costing them because they are not maximising their CRM software or getting the most out of their employees.

How and Why

First, training not only allows your employees to be competent in using the application — it also offers an opportunity to demonstrate exactly how the application will help them do their jobs.

Adoption is the big CRM killer, and without an understanding of both the mechanics of the application and the reasons for its implementation, users will be less likely to embrace the technology.

Second, good training should inspire as well as inform; by seizing the opportunity that training presents, you can get your employees thinking not just about how to use the application but about new ways to use data. Remember that CRM is always a work in progress, and it’s always good to have help with that progress from the people who are closest to the customer. That’s going to include a lot of folks who interact directly with the CRM application.

Finally, training needs to be an ongoing thing, at least for managers or people who can serve as internal trainers for your organization. CRM vendors introduce new features on a regular basis — especially in SaaS applications — and expecting employees to unilaterally catch on to how these features work and how they can help them do their jobs is rather presumptuous.

Learn It or Lose It

Without a bit of training to update them every so often, the amount of CRM horsepower you’re paying for that goes unused will grow over time. From the simple perspective of maximizing your investment, training is an important part of your CRM strategy.

This all seems clear in the right context. Why is training such an issue? I think the vendors are somewhat culpable. How many times have you heard about a SaaS application that was installed, up and running in a weekend, or less? When you hear such tales, you assume that the application’s actually being used by employees — so clearly, training is of minimal importance, right? Well, no.

Vendors ought to be more realistic in how they frame these stories. More importantly, they need to function increasingly as consultants to their customers, helping them with the soft-skills parts of creating a CRM strategy. That includes people and processes. Training fits neatly into that mix.

2 thoughts on “CRM 2011 – Learn It or Lose It – Why CRM training is vital for success

  1. Mike Ames April 15, 2011 / 1:05 pm

    This is a great article and its message lies at the very heart of all successful CRM installations; namely training. Not only is Interface training (where you show people how to use the system) crucial but so is Adoption training (where you show people how to make use of the system).

    Adoption training is carried out before the system even hits the users and is all about changing the way in which they do their Business Development. You can always tell if the Adoption training has been done properly because at the end of it they are screaming for a decent CRM tool!

    Like

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