CRM User Adoption Tips



A common concern when evaluating CRM is user adoption regardless of whether it is Dynamics 365 or another tool. Here are some of our best CRM user adoption tips. “When small to medium size businesses evaluate CRM – the thought of going through the process and investing in a solution that employees won’t use is a scary thought. More important than the technical requirements of an implementation, your partner plays a large role in the success of your CRM implementation. They should guide you away from doing things that will result in poor adoption and work with you to develop an exciting way to introduce CRM” – John Posan, Director of Business Development.

Poor user adoption has become a prominent factor jeopardizing the success of a CRM implementation. For a system with such vast functionality and extended features, a poorly strategized project could lead to a system that won’t meet the expected user adoption and eventually lead to project failure.

1) Top Down Buy-in

Implementing a CRM system shouldn’t be just the decisions of few individuals, but rather, the company as a whole. Situations where the daily end users of CRM have not been consulted or heard that the business was looking for a new tool until go-live training must be avoided. This creates a natural resistance as users feel like their opinion wasn’t valued. Which forces them to focus on the bad instead of being part of the solution!

Top Down

Our recommendation for any Dynamics CRM project is that the momentum of change is driven from top to the bottom. Starting with the executive buy-in, further carrying that synergy down to middle management and finally to end users. Everyone in the organization should be focusing on the same goal and follow the same standards. It is not practical to have everyone within the organization heavily involved but developing a user or two in each business unit can make a drastic difference. Have each of those users get the feedback of the rest of their team and suddenly everyone has a voice. The system needs the strategy of the executives/management but also the practicality of the end users.

2) Phased Approach

Often organizations want to immediately have an end to end, fully integrated solution with every business unit on the tool. It is very easy to get carried away and bite off more change than an organization can handle. Often times what an organization thinks they want is different than what they actually want as they “don’t know what they don’t know”.
It is typically not wise to tackle more than one specific module or entity per project. We always recommend a phased approach when implementing Dynamics CRM, with the initial phase to deliver core functionality that will improve current processes and generate excitement. There are few benefits of a phased approach:

  • Easier to accept by users as it’s only one change
  • Shorten the learning curve of new functionalities
  • Easy to recognize benefits and improvements
  • Build the next phase off of the lessons learned
  • Start recognizing ROI quicker as the project is smaller

In an example where an organization wants to implement Dynamics 365 for Sales, Dynamics 365 for Service and integrate with an ERP system – we might suggest an approach such as the following.

Phased Approach

Planning your long-term CRM strategy is an essential part of a successful implementation. Do not just rush into a phase until you know where you want to end up and when.

3) Customized User Experience

CRM systems are capable of doing a lot of different things and some of them usually aren’t the focus of why an organization is implementing a CRM tool. A common mistake is a “one size, fit’s all” user experience where everyone is served the same form layouts and menus.

What you end up with is users having to dig through fields or modules of the system they don’t care about which is a tedious and time wasting process defeating the purpose of a CRM tools efficiency.

Let’s look at a practical example in sales where you have front line business development representatives(BDRs) and then more seasoned sales executives working within the same tool. If the job of the BDR is to collect all the data and assign the lead to the correct sales executive with everything they need to know. A common mistake in this process is giving both the BDR and Account Executive the same form and opportunity process flow as they care about different things. The process bar for the BDR should only contain information they are required to gather and the form arranged in a way that only shows what they care about. This ensures they aren’t focusing on the wrong fields and forgetting to gather the important data.

Involving both the BDR’s and Account Executives in the design of their forms is a great way to build user adoption and make everyone feel “part” of the solution. Otherwise, you run the risk of complaints at go-live of a system without practical user input.

custmoized user experience

4) Training

If it is a struggle for users to do what they need to within CRM, they will instead do it in a familiar tool such as Excel. An important aspect of a CRM implementation partners role is the strategic training plan on two different levels: administrator and end user.

The administrator training must provide enough knowledge that the organization can make changes internally without having to go to a CRM implementation partner for small changes. If an organization doesn’t have the knowledge to make required tweaks quickly, the system will not transform alongside the business and will become antiquated. Once the system has been running for a month or so, there is usually some tweaks that are required – it’s important to have the knowledge of how to do this in-house.


The end user training can be more challenging as it has to be done in an exciting way. It is not practical to put 20 people in a room and expect them to pay attention on how to use CRM for 7 hours. The sessions must be extremely focused on only the areas of the tool that the group of users will be using. The training should entice them to configure their experience unique to them through personal views, charts, and dashboards. At the end of a successful user training, there should be an excitement about the new tool – not resistance. Make the sessions fun, practical, informative and show the value/time-saving. Always use real world examples that will really resonate with your user base.

5) Strategy and “Big Brother”

Many companies implement CRM hoping their customer relationships will be perfectly managed. Although Dynamics CRM is a tool that manages customer relationships, it must be driven by business process and strategy in the backend. In today’s world, the term “CRM” no longer refers to any particular software or tool, but rather as a business notion or a strategy. When implementing any CRM system, the organization must first develop a CRM strategy and apply that throughout its business processes. Then embed those processes into CRM tools such as Dynamics 365 where they can be exposed to users on a daily basis. Once these are achieved, the gap between system and end users will close and user adoption rate will rise. Many organizations that try and implement CRM without a partner fail because of the lack of strategy put into the implementation. Your partner is an integral component for success so choose wisely!


Occasionally employees view CRM as giving “big brother” access to every minute of what they are doing. It is imperative that everyone understands CRM isn’t about capturing what employees aren’t doing – it’s about capturing what is working and what is not. If your employees are currently not entering information into a system, you must show them the value in that data. A CRM system must be a perfect blend of business automation, data capture, visibility and tool that everyone sees the value in.