CRM Rollouts Are Easier when You Start with the Big Winners

Fortunate or unfortunate, the fact is: Few stakeholders will enjoy learning how to use a CRM. That does not mean CRM is evil, or any more evil than the construction site down the street. But it does transform planning a CRM implementation from a technical quandary into a human-design challenge. Knowing that rollout will face

Fortunate or unfortunate, the fact is: Few stakeholders will enjoy learning how to use a CRM. That does not mean CRM is evil, or any more evil than the construction site down the street. But it does transform planning a CRM implementation from a technical quandary into a human-design challenge. Knowing that rollout will face a steep, uphill battle for widespread adoption, there are a few key considerations to take in mind during the planning stage, and these will level the playing field.

WORD OF MOUTH WILL MAKE YOU OR BREAK YOU.

Underneath the surface of every transformation is a social war. And this social war is often a decisive factor in adoption, dictating whether the new tool spreads like wildfire, or whether half your licensees never once click that shiny icon on their desktop, throwing your $80 a month out the window.

So what forces govern these social scales, and how can you manage them? We like what Mark Murphy’s very practical perspective on this issue. A New York Times bestselling author, Mark has identified what he calls “Champions” and “Antagonizers” to your cause. In the realm of social judgment, these are the key players. Champions will forward your cause; antagonizers will work against you.

Many great leaders have had the instinct to speak with antagonizers first – possibly in the effort to put out fires before they start. But without doubt, in the case of CRM adoption, this is the wrong way forward.

It is critical to identify and support your champions first, so that they can build momentum around your cause before the antagonizers have the same chance. Prioritize your energy toward the winners, set them up for success, and you will give success an edge.

We absolutely agree with that, but we would take that a step farther.

CREATING CRM CHAMPIONS

Champions and antagonizers are dynamic in a project like CRM – particularly when preconceptions meet actual usage. As real sales reps, managers and executives touch these different sections of the elephant, they communicate their experience and come to a holistic judgment. Early adopters will predispose entire groups to see the new tech as a “winner” or a “loser.”

It really does not matter as much where employees think they stand before they try the CRM, as where they stand afterward. When planning a CRM implementation, you want to introduce the tool first to the people who stand to gain the most from using it. The more Champion-like these users are beforehand, the better, but naysayers who change their opinion can be extremely influential, as well.

Adoption gains momentum as employees communicate positive reports to the rest of the team, and the implementation has a much greater chance of success.

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