Gartner predicts the market for CRM software will reach $23.9B this year. They go on to suggest it will reach $36B by 2017. Those are staggering figures considering it was an $11B market in 2012.  The growth is being fueled by companies of all shapes and sizes implementing CRM systems. But research shows that only 40% will achieve a meaningful user adoption rate. The majority of companies that deploy a CRM will struggle with low adoption rates. Are you one of them?


Nothing will kill a CRM deployment faster than slow user adoption. In fact, half of CRM projects fail every year. So how do you keep your CRM from becoming a statistic? Start by downloading our annual research report. You’ll see how successful CRM systems are extensions of a well-defined sales process. 


Increase your adoption rate to protect your investment.

To guard against failure you must strive to achieve an adoption rate above 80%. The most successful companies achieve adoption rates above 90% by following these best practices:


Don’t make it optional.

Users need to understand that using the CRM is not a suggestion, it’s expected. Start by eliminating ways to go around the system. Make the CRM the system of record for critical tasks. People who try to go outside the system to get things done aren’t helping anyone. Don’t enable it by continuing to support those processes.


Focus on ease of use.

Listen to users. This will ensure that the CRM isn’t a system for system’s sake. The CRM should exist to make the company successful. In doing so, it should make user’s jobs easier, more intuitive, and efficient. If not, why not? Make ease of use the goal. If the CRM is easy to use you won’t have to demand adoption. Users will adopt it willingly and enthusiastically.


Gamify the experience

Apply game mechanics to increase engagement and introduce competition among users:


  1. Identify the behaviors or actions inside the CRM that you want to encourage.
  2. Create the tracking mechanism and reporting structure.
  3. Create an incentive that is meaningful.
  4. Keep the game fresh by introducing different challenges each month.


Regarding incentives, they don’t have to be monetary. A client recently awarded the winning team with a private sit-down with their CEO.  Another client found a trophy at a garage sale. A big obnoxious 4-ft tall trophy. The winning team keeps it for a month before awarding it to the next winner.


Adapt the system

Implementing a CRM isn’t a “one and done” affair. Like any enterprise system it needs constant care and attention. The most effective companies adapt it with frequent releases to respond to user feedback. By regularly releasing enhancements or new features they encourage user engagement.


  1. Usability: Make sure there is someone who is conducting usability testing and gathering user feedback. Don’t assume the CRM vendor will take care of this for you.
  2. Bugs: Maintain a bug-fix list that users can see and contribute to. Take it seriously and resolve the bugs that are brought to your attention. Nothing bugs users more than bugs in the CRM.
  3. Don’t force-fit: Make sure you adapt your CRM to satisfy the different modes of your users. Are some users behind a desk all day while others are mobile? One size doesn’t fit all. If you force-fit everyone into a single CRM interface you’ll likely alienate some users.


Is your CRM adoption rate where it needs to be to ensure long term success? Low adoption is a predictor of failure. Protect the investment that’s been made in CRM by focusing on boosting user adoption. Make adoption a key measurement of your success for 2015.


We’ll even give you a head start. Sign up for our free 90-minute workshop. We’ll help you identify some quick ways to increase user adoption. It’s a collaborative, no-obligation working session with one of our experts. And an easy way to make sure your CRM investment doesn’t come up empty next year.