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Switching CRMs and Looking For A Hassle-Free Transition?

In this blog, we’ll be covering how to change your CRM solution. There are a few things that you need to know when it comes to finding the right system for your company.  We’ll cover what you should do before making any decisions, as well as some of the best features and benefits that each CRM has to offer! 

Switching to a different customer relationship management platform can be quite a challenge for small businesses. You have to gain your team’s buy-in, transfer customer data and implement new workflows. Here are four ways to approach this process and make it a less daunting transition.

The best way to do this switch successfully is by taking into account both the human and technical side of things. It’s easy for any company to simply change over from one system to another – but without considering what users need and how their data will be transferred between systems, they may end up losing months’ worth of information!

How to ensure your CRM switch is a smooth process.

Before making a switch, you need to determine whether the software itself is the problem. Businesses switch CRMs for various reasons, but in my experience, the decision often comes down to poor user adoption. 

If it’s not clear to your staff members how – or even why – they should use the CRM, then don’t expect them to be eager participants. Perhaps that’s why failure rates for CRM projects hover around 33%, according to a 2017 analysis. When CRM installations take a nosedive, they not only fail to deliver profitable growth but can also damage long-standing customer relationships.

There are many reasons to switch your CRM, but you need to pick a program that promotes customer relationships and connections instead of severing them. Get your staff on board and ensure they understand how a CRM program can be useful.

Should you switch CRMs in the first place?

The main job of a CRM is to organize leads and keep communication flowing. If leads are slipping through the cracks and miscommunication is constant, you’re not getting your money’s worth out of the software.


CRM Software Considerations

Before trashing your existing CRM, investigate the source of the issue. Audit the CRM software and setup. Then, before you switch, take the time to understand your old one’s issues and what you lack so you can find one that helps your business’s customer relationships. Sometimes there is room to make changes to your old CRM before switching to a new one, but if you can’t, it may be time to find something more user-friendly and affordable.

Is the issue of user adoption or lack of standards for data entry? Perhaps the system is missing key features your company needs, which is a common reason companies switch CRMs, according to a survey from Capterra.

After identifying the problem, you can decide whether you need to retrain your team, tweak the system’s setup or look for a new platform. For example, if you’ve already tried every onboarding technique you can think of, and your staff members are still struggling to use the CRM, it’s probably time to start over.

Involve your end-users in the CRM selection and implementation process. Look for something user-friendly. Salesforce found that 72% of CRM users say they would trade complex functionality for usability in the software. 

If you can’t afford your current system or are paying for features you don’t need, it might be good to cut your losses and find a system more suitable for your team and budget. Leaving your current CRM provider can be expensive, but making the switch is worth it if you’re paying more for a system you don’t use.

Get your team on board from the beginning.

Your goal is to find a CRM system that meets management’s needs and makes your team members’ jobs easier. Ideally, everyone should be enthusiastic about switching, and the best way to drum up excitement is to involve your employees in the process from the beginning. Designate a few CRM evangelists to spearhead efforts in each department. 

Start with higher-ups. If executives and managers lead the charge, the change will feel more official. Then, in each department, explain how the switch will benefit everyone.

Consider setting up a practice account first. Let users get creative with a demo or free trial before you initiate the switch; this way, they can see how it will impact them directly.

Keep the data accurate by transferring it with minimal loss.

CRM Data Transfer

Once your new CRM platform is ready to go, it’s time to transfer the data from your old system to the new one. The goal should be to transfer it all efficiently and lose as little information as possible while training your staff on the new system. The more accurate the data is, the quicker they can get up to speed.

Create a game plan that allows ample time for both data transfer and training. Have your CRM’s support team take the lead on exporting and importing the data, preferably before training begins. You’ll also need the team’s help setting up customizations and integrations and training employees to use them.

If the system is ready to go with your data intact, you’ve eliminated many barriers before you even start. As a result, you can focus on inputting new contacts, reporting new sales, and following new rules and policies during training.

Don’t just encourage the system’s use – ensure it.

Making sure your team uses the new CRM system is the most crucial part of the implementation process. Once everyone is on board, set a changeover date. Make it clear from the beginning how users will be evaluated on their use of the new system. For example, if leads aren’t entered correctly, or follow-ups aren’t recorded, managers won’t recognize the work, and your small business could lose sales.

Schedule regular meetings to review CRM reports and make sure everyone is developing good data entry habits. Ask your team how they feel about the new system now that they’re using it every day, and brainstorm ways to use the CRM to make their lives even easier. Most importantly, make sure users in each department have a designated expert they can go to if they have questions or need help navigating the system.

Trade up for a system filled with features you’ll use

Avoid getting a program with too many tools because that can make the program harder to navigate. When switching CRMs, remember quantity is not quality. Extensive options can be overkill. Instead, make sure your CRM has just the right features to fulfill your business needs.

“When choosing a new CRM, you can go into this one knowing what you need or don’t need based on your use so far,” said Eric Sachs, CEO of Sachs Marketing Group. “Don’t feel pressured to get one that does the absolute most. You just need the one that does everything you currently need. Switching to an overkill tool will just make your transition more difficult.”

If your CRM system isn’t performing the way you expected, you must first determine why. If retraining and more customizations don’t do the trick, switching to a better system may be the best way forward. Doing so will be challenging, but with a renewed focus and by following these tips for getting everyone on board, it can be a smooth transition that’s well worth the effort.

How to Increase CRM Adoption Rates

CRM Adoption

We have found that the best way for organizations to “boost” and then “sustain” high CRM end-user adoption is to develop and implement a comprehensive user adoption strategy. 

Many CRM failures occur when organizations only focus on the “on-time” and “on-budget” delivery of the technology but neglect the necessary actions to drive and maintain user adoption over the system’s life.

It is important to recognize that CRM end-user adoption is about changing user behaviors; it is not about technology. The skills and methods you use to change behavior differ from those required to build and deliver effective CRM systems. This means that the people who lead and manage your CRM implementation may not be (and probably are not) the right people to lead the user adoption program.

Here are some (though not all) key elements of a CRM end-user adoption program:

1. Involve users from the start

As we mentioned above, people resist change. It is a common instinct in human nature. Reasons can be fear of the unknown, of more work, of unwanted changes in daily tasks. 

If you can make the unknown known, then it takes out all the uncertainty. So, involve the end-users who will use the system. Demonstrate to those involved how the new system will benefit them. Ask for user feedback. Be sure to listen to the feedback, and incorporate suggestions when appropriate.

Remember, you purchased the CRM for the users, and therefore it’s important to consider their opinions. By doing all of this, you can reduce uncertainty, clarify misunderstandings and promote support for the decisions made.

2. Choose a CRM ambassador

Appoint a person in your company who is an ambassador for CRM. This person can create routines and guidelines, ensure data quality, and follow up with users if they have questions or are doing something wrong. When needed, this person can facilitate a workgroup with best practices and document the results. This person needs to be an expert in the system and have a certain authority in the company to carry out the CRM initiative. The CRM administrator is a good choice for this role.

3. Create a routine guide

A CRM routine guide outlines what information the users should capture in the CRM system, how, and who is responsible. It also reinforces the actions and behavior you want your end-users to take to achieve business goals.

Be sure to update this routine guide continuously to reflect changes in the CRM due to upgrades or new routines you have decided on. The guide should also be easily accessible for the users. A few good places to keep it could be on your intranet, in a central project in your CRM, or a shared drive.

4. Make sure the system is easy to use

CRM Training

The CRM should make life easier for the users, not harder. Therefore, the CRM administrator in your company should tailor the solution to reflect the way your users work and not the other way around. Users hate interfaces cluttered with irrelevant information, so leave only those choices your team will need today. You can add more later if needed.

5. Train your employees

Set aside time for training your employees. You might even want to create specific training for the various business processes. For example, a marketing professional should learn how to register and follow up leads, whereas a salesperson needs to know how to create a sale and follow a set sales process.

Administrators should be able to answer user questions and should receive more extensive training. Administrators should also learn to configure the solution and other administrator-related tasks.

Keep in mind that a CRM system holds many features, and learning them all in one go can be hard. Therefore, an ongoing process with more frequent and shorter sessions is better than one long training session. Offer repeated training as time passes; when the basics are in place and well known, move on to more advanced features and processes.

6. Reward users

Review how your employees have used the CRM system and think about rewarding those who use it well. The reward system is a great way to get everyone moving in the same direction.

For example, you could look at how many outbound sales calls a person has registered in the system, how many leads he or she has converted into a sale, and how accurate their data entry is. Then you could reward the best ones, and make known to others what they did to achieve this reward.

7. Practice, practice, practice

The best way to improve CRM user adoption rate in your organization is to encourage everyone in your CRM chain to practice the new tool regularly. Even though this advice is more behavioral than technical, this doesn’t take away its significance.

Just 40% of all the enterprises have a 90% user adoption rate, and this statistic has to do with the regular use of their newly launched CRM products.

8. Plug holes

If you are in the business of selling a product or service, you must integrate your lead capture process with your CRM tool. Unfortunately, many companies miss out on this last mile connectivity and lose vital leads in the process.

Plug this hole immediately while rolling out your CRM adoption program.

Many customer relationship management programs come with APIs that make lead capture a smooth process. Drive-up your business profitability by following this strategy.

Several marketing organizations collect their leads manually and then add them to their CRM tool manually again. The end-user who does this task doesn’t feel enthused by this process. Moreover, add to that the constant probability of human errors!

Adding Leads Manually

When you integrate your lead capture process with your CRM software, you are essentially empowering your end-user, eventually driving up your adoption rate.

9. Drilling down the process

If your CRM system is geared around sales and marketing, you need to pay close attention to this advice.

Ensure that all your salespeople follow the same CRM process to the T, else your CRM adoption strategy would be messed up big time. You will have to drill down this process within your sales team, no questions asked.

When you follow this strategy, your entire process will be documented. Then, if one of your executives leaves your organization, the new hire can quickly pick up this process.

10. Getting the right training

An added challenge to your CRM adoption strategy is controlling your training costs. Plus, you also need to figure out the right training program for your users.

Having champions in your CRM implementation team helps. You only need to train these ‘evangelists’ who will work later on coaching the rest of the team during its CRM adoption journey. Alternatively, you can also go for a Certified SugarCRM Partner who can help you in your CRM adoption by customizing your system to your business needs.

11. Personalize and simplify your CRM

You don’t need to use your new CRM tool the same way other enterprises have used it. However, since your business is unique, so should be your customer relationship management tool.

And who doesn’t like a healthy dose of personalization at work?

Personalize this tool by creating fields, titles, workflows, etc., in sync with your business processes. Relevancy should be the watchword while rolling down your CRM adoption program.

Secondly, make your CRM tool as simple as possible. Keep the end-user and his work environment in mind.

Remember, this tool is meant for your last mile user. So don’t complicate your tool with features that confuse him.

12. Mobile and social tools friendly

As our workforce becomes increasingly mobile, it makes sense to develop those business processes in sync with this new human behavior.

Mobile CRM user adoption can be speeded up by making your CRM processes mobile and smartphone-friendly. Empower your end-user by letting him operate his tool remotely with the help of his mobile device, laptop, or smartphone.

Similarly, you can incorporate modern social tools like the ‘Follow’ and ‘Like’ buttons to make your CRM adoption program interesting and effective.

Many modern businesses have found this approach quite interesting when it comes to positively affecting the end-users. For example, team members can share sales opportunities, and business alerts can be set whenever something new happens.

Through Social CRM, modern businesses can convert their social networks into valuable lead listening and capture funnels.

13. Make CRM adoption fun

Make CRM Adoption Fun

There is nothing better than having clean and healthy competition in the workplace. And business owners can drive up their adoption rates by organizing regular competitions within their companies.

For instance, you can identify the top performers in your outbound call process (who used this new tool) and reward them for their performance. Similarly, you can incentivize your other employees working in departments using your CRM tool.

Make this competition a regular affair and announce the winners’ names; you’d be surprised at the positive resonance it creates in your company. Create happy sales reps!

14. Make your CRM scalable and flexible

As your business evolves, your customer relationship tool should also change and grow in size.

Does your current product have that kind of scalability and flexibility? If it has, it means your user adoption rates will remain high in the future. In short, make your CRM future-proof.

15. Make your CRM the only repository

If your team members still hold back their critical customer data and don’t put it in your CRM database, then it would be a bad investment.

Convince your team that the new CRM tool has all the features they need. Tell them that this new tool is the only thing they will use for a long time.


Implementing an effective CRM adoption program is not easy, and it does take time and resources.

But, with a commonly reported CRM failure rate near 63%, it is clear that organizations need to take action to protect their CRM investments. By following some of the tried and true best practices above, we are sure that you will come far.

Do you have any tips on how to increase CRM end-user adoption?