CRM Blog

3 Ways to get more out of your CRM system: #1 Training

April 11th, 2012 | Posted by Peter Dijkema in CRM

A lot of companies have either implemented a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or are thinking about implementing a CRM system to take advantage of the customer knowledge that is either captured in your staff head or in numerous notebooks, spread-sheets, emails and other programs that are not accessible to anyone else. This is just one of the reasons that organisations started to use CRM systems over the last decade. However there is a multitude of other benefits to implementing a CRM system (e.g. streamline processes through workflows, more informed decision making through better analysis of the captured data, etc.).

Although there are so many benefits of using a CRM system it all falls down if there is a lack of user adoption. All the perceived benefits will disappear like snow under the sun if the users don’t put the (right/complete) information in the system because it is too hard to use.

How often haven’t you heard the excuse of it is too much work to put all this information in and I don’t get anything out of it myself?

There is a number of key constraints that need to be met to get the most out of your CRM system.

  1. User adoption
  2. Executive support
  3. Focus on gaining business value, not on improving business/IT systems

Training is key

In this first instalment I will cover one of the ways to improve user adoption: training, training and training!

Users will only use the system effectively if there is something in it for them.

Make sure it is clear to them:

  •  How the system can make their job easier.
  • How the system will help them sell more, close more cases, communicate more effectively with their customers, etc.

Without proper training most users will find learning a new system or figuring out your current system too hard. Because of this they will not be able to take advantage of the benefits and efficiencies that your CRM system can offer to them.

To put it dramatically: “Without well trained users you might as well flush your money down the drain!”

Now we have established that training is essential to make the most out of your investment let’s have a look of who you need to train, what you need to cover, when to train your staff and when to retrain them.

Who to Train

Although every user needs to be trained it is recommended to start with the staff that are using or are going to use the system the most.

To start of you can train the Power users. These users are the internal champions of the CRM system and on a day to day basis will be able to answer simple questions from other users. This will help with answering questions from end-users in a timely fashion and will take the burden of the internal helpdesk or provides you a good position to negation a better support arrangement with you CRM partner/vendor.

Most organisations use a software partner to implement their CRM. It is imperative that the power users are involved in the design of the system and are an integral part of the roll out. Sharing knowledge between your power users and the partner is paramount so that you have internal knowledge on how the system works and what to do when issues arise (trouble shooting). This will help to make their job easier and will ensures that the problem is address instead of being thrown in the Too-hard –Basket.

What to cover during the Training

Training for the end-users should be short and simple. It should cover all the tasks that they need to perform in the system and the potential benefits it will bring to them to make their job(/life) easier if they use the system.

Start with the basics first:

1.    What is a CRM system?

2.    How does it work?

3.    What do I do when I have a problem?

Get your user familiar with the user interface first. So they know how to navigate through the system to the most common used functions.

After this you dive a little bit deeper into the functional areas of a group of users (sales, marketing, customer service, stakeholder managers, etc.) to address how they can use the system in their job. If it is possible make sure to split up your users in groups of functional users. Especially in training people tend to lose interest in the entire training program if they have to sit through a part of the training that is not applicable to their job.

Start off small and keep it to the point and simple to avoid information overload. CRM systems generally have a lot of functionality and for the everyday user it would be impossible to take in information of all the available functionality.

Make sure you provide cheat sheets to the users so they can refer back to functionality they have learned during the training and can find short-cuts easily. This will greatly enhance the user adoption.

What is the best time to Train

My recommendation is to train people the day(s) before you go live if possible. There is no point training users two to three weeks before they can start using the system as by that time they will have forgotten 95% of what they have learned. Make sure they can put what they have learned into practice straight away.

Refresher Training

It is recommended to perform Refresher Training on a regular basis. Depending on the audience you can cover areas that are not fully utilised or address functionality that users don’t understand.

With new functionality being released on a regular basis it is also a good opportunity to train users on new functionality that has become available after they had their initial training.

These refresher training sessions don’t have to be full day sessions. It is often more effective to run shorter sessions more frequently so the users can focus on a couple of new things they have learned and do them well instead of overloading them with information again.


If you are using Dynamics CRM we are happy to help you with defining a great training strategy to get the most out of your Dynamics CRM system.
Our training courses range from $500 per day for classroom training to $5,000 for a 5 day onsite RampUp course. We can customise the training to your needs.
For more information please visit: Dynamics CRM Training @ Organon Consulting

Click here to request our Dynamics CRM training brochure.

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