CRM User Adoption and Weathering the Economic Storm

Ala Martin’s blog below, I found this article, “The Future State of the CRM Market,” courtesy of It outlines how CRM vendors could confront rough times in the face of harsh economic conditions.

It’s loaded with an abundance of interesting points (based mostly on a recent AMR Research report and resulting interview), and among other topics, points to the fact that CRM is continuing to experience double-digit growth for the first time since the dotcom burst; a time when many CRM projects were IT flameouts for enterprises. Since then, vendors and customers alike have heeded these lessons, and as a result, have created what I like to call the 2nd generation of more flexible, user-friendly CRM solutions focused on usability and elasticity.

But as the article notes, just because vendors have a renewed focus on the aforementioned issues, it’s important not to forget them, as funding for CRM systems could be tight in the coming year(s). In particular, I found the following comments spot on:

Although vendors are improving user interfaces and technologies to combat this problem, it only puts a bandage on the situation. To fix the problem, CRM vendors need to find ways to create sustainably high adoption rates. If success rates don’t continue to improve and total cost of ownership doesn’t come down, buyers will find CRM investments harder to justify, especially if budgets begin to shrink.

I couldn’t agree more, because the fact is, in the mind of the business user, CRM solutions are a necessary evil. Everybody wants to make their customers happier but nobody wants to deal with the headache of using a CRM solution, or the costly expenses of customizing one. That said, the Google-like, point-and-click functionality is exactly the sort of user interface the next generation, and current generation, has come to expect. To that end, being able to deploy easy-to-customize and integrate software will be equally important, as CIOs look to keep cost of ownership down while maximizing ROI.

In the end, poor end user adoption has been, and will probably always remain, the #1 road block to successful CRM deployments…or at least until humans are eliminated from the equation all together, but lets all pray that never happens.

Excuse me sir, would you like to supersize that meal?

2 thoughts on “CRM User Adoption and Weathering the Economic Storm

  1. Wait! Wait! Lets not even suggest humans be eliminated from the sales process. I need my job and the nickels and dimes I earn to pay my mortgage!

    Rather lets call on CRM vendors to leverage technology to develop a CRM system that helps sales people sell. A draftsman doesn’t have to coaxed and prodded to use his CAD software because he knows when he uses the software he’ll do more in a shorter period of time and with greater consistency and quality than he could possibly do on his own.

    Until CRM vendors develop an application that helps sales people sell just as a CAD system helps draftsman draw, adoption will remain the single largest stumbling block on the pathway to CRM success.

  2. CRM systems do help sales people sell. The biggest problem is people don’t use them like they should. A sales person’s job is to find out what motivates the people they are trying to sell a product to and to customize thier sales pitch to market directly tp that user. The same sales pitch isn’t going to work on every person. Thats where CRM can help you track your interactions with each person, to deliver a more individualized sales approach. In order to get sales agents to use CRM, it has to be easy to use, and integrated with the applications they use to actually contact those customers (the phone maybe?)

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