Managing your CRM rollout part 1: System presentation & training

29 September, 2017


Your CRM system only delivers commercial wins when everyone commits to learning it, using it and improving it. This doesn't happen automatically. Rolling out a CRM requires a defined plan, and the commitment to execute it.

Some project teams have experience with training users on new technology, whereas others prefer to defer to a change management specialist within their consulting partner's firm. Regardless of who leads the rollout effort, the below process needs to be delivered to ensure users adopt the system:

System presentation, demo and training workshop

Team buy-in from the outset is critical. The initial workshop to enable your team must sell your users on the benefits of the new system, teach them how to use it and clearly explain the road ahead. Your product owner will typically craft the commercial aspects of the presentation (accompanied by a slide deck), with your super user or consulting partner running the demo and training aspects of the session.

If the system covers multiple user roles (for example, sales and service reps), separate workshops should be developed for each team to keep the content relevant for the best outcome.

Below is our recommended structure for this critical session:

System presentation

1. Why we've decided to run with CRM - (product owner)

This is where you make the business case to the wider team. The key is to begin by "meeting the audience where they're at," building credibility by acknowledging any preconceived notions about CRM. You might reference general reservations they may have about adopting new technology or frankly address where previous attempts at deploying CRM haven't succeeded. The goal is to connect the introduction of the new system to the wider goals of the organisation and to the empowerment of end users in their roles.

2. Key outcomes for you, the company and our customers (product owner)

We've found, the best way of framing the system's desired commercial outcomes, is three-fold - the impact on the individual user, the company they're a part of and the customers they serve:

Individual user

How will the new system help them to excel day to day? Consider ways the system will save them time, give them easy access to customer information, improve collaboration and serve them insights on the best next action.

The company

How will the new system contribute to the success of the company? The implications can be wide-ranging. Consider ways the system enables your business to onboard new employees faster, enable processes to be standardised and improved, get real-time access to customer data to make smarter decisions or speed up time-to-market for new product or service offerings.

The end customer

When prospective customers are buying a complex or high-value product, the experience they get matters. Customers equate an exceptional sales experience with the likely quality of the product or service they'll get after they've made the purchase. Once a customer, if they receive first-rate onboarding, account service and customer support, they're likely to buy more of what we're offering and become a brand advocate. How does the new system enable your company to compete and win on customer experience, not just product or price?

3. System demo (consulting partner or super user)

The demo is the first time most users will actually see under the hood of the system. To state the obvious, first impressions count. A botched demo can cause negative sentiment to catch like wildfire amongst users. If your super user takes this on (versus your consulting partner), here are a few tips to help them nail the demo:

  • Replicate the general structure of the "big reveal" system demo your consulting partner gave to your project team
  • Make sure your super user has had a dummy runthrough in front of a small audience (with feedback provided) so it's smooth on the day
  • Begin the demo with an orientation, including logging in and an overview of the home screen and navigation tabs
  • Next, take a liner journey through the core business process end to end
  • As you go, be sure to reference any automation and areas where the process has been enhanced to improve the lives of users and customers
  • Finish with reports, dashboards, the mobile application and any custom development

4. Keys to system adoption (consulting partner or super user)

It's a good idea to touch on some system adoption best practices to get users in the right frame of mind before they get stuck in. Remind them that the system they're using is not the final version and will evolve based on their input. Make sure they're aware of the format they should be providing their feedback, as well as when they can expect to see changes reflected in the system throughout the iteration cycle.

5. User Q&A (open discussion)

Finally, finish the presentation with an open Q&A to give users a chance to share their thoughts on what they've just seen in the demo and on their journey ahead.

System training

Following the presentation, we'd recommend users break out into small groups of 3 - 4, with super users and/or change management consultants rotating through each group, drip feeding users each piece of the process. Each round, they're able to answering any lingering questions before showing users the next part of the system. Small groups also encourage users to support and learn from each other, which is a behaviour you want to embed as the system is used going forward.

What users need for the session

Make sure users come to the session ready to go. Ask them to bring their laptop (charged), mobile device (with mobile app downloaded) and provide them with their username / password. Also ask them to login well before the session to ensure there's no issues standing in the way on the day.

You've now got a system in the hands of end users and a successful CRM deployment is in sight. But you're not there yet - the next 2 - 4 weeks will be the most critical in determining the project's success.

Continue to the next post in this series: Continuous improvement: the CRM iteration cycle