Role Based CRM Training Strategies That Improve Buy-In Among Users

By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant,

Many companies acquire Customer Relationship Management (CRM), quickly train users how to use the system, but neglect the role the software plays in the performance of each individual job. Training independent of their jobs means failure. The problem with this manner of roll out is each user users CRM differently according to their job. Unless they see how CRM enhances what they do, they are not likely to use it. The best way to roll out CRM is to first train on job roles, then train on the general software system.

Every Employee Uses CRM Differently

Since each type of employee will use different parts of your CRM system, training must be customized for each job functions particular usage. Show your users how to use CRM to make their particular job easier, faster, or produce better quality. Build professional proficiency in the job and use CRM to support those skills.

Do this by selecting three key results desired by a customer when they work with a particular employee, plus three key skills that employee must have to serve that customer. Show each user how to achieve those results, how CRM provides information they need to support those skills, and how to work with the system to achieve this desired outcome. CRM training with direct relevance to the job role an individual performs improves the impact made with your CRM software while upgrading other skills.

Invite CRM software trainers to work directly with your internal job specialists. Putting together the best in house talent with outside experts provides focused efforts that customers will appreciate. While this may cost a little more up front, this investment in your employees� individual skills will payoff by improving their ability to use the product, performance gained in job proficiency, and a CRM implementation with less resistance.

You will become more "customer centric" when you integrate CRM as a tool to enhance job performance. Remember, not all functions of CRM are software related. Use CRM to show each user how to provide for customer needs and improve the part they play in business objectives. A transparent tool, CRM should serve as a backdrop supporting data collection.

Use CRM as the tool to enhance how you currently do business, not a restraint to change your current processes. Train your employees to use the software this way -- help them do a better job. Do not drop the software on them.

Integrate the System as a Tool to Assist

Most CRM packages allow you to map software work flow against current business processes. Take advantage of this flexibility by bridging familiarity with the manual process to the new system, even if this means you are not utilizing ?new? features available in the CRM software.

It is critical that CRM improves existing processes, not replace them. Your business must be doing something right to have gotten this far. When many companies get CRM they feel compelled to change what they do, instead of using the software to automate, enhance, or speed up their existing process. People still need to know how to do their jobs first, with CRM second. Teach people how to use CRM as it supports their job requirements and you will achieve the best results.

One key CRM success strategy is to train around an employee�s function of performance as it supports customers� expectations. Show users how to provide what is important to customers that through their role and the CRM system. Treat CRM as a tool to improve what you already do, not something in addition to, what you are already doing. If you can show users how CRM can simplify their jobs, you increase buy-in and provide a better value to your customer.

Enhance the Individuals by Training around the Job Function

An example of training with emphasis on improving job performance over CRM proficiency is the sales agent who goes from paper files to a CRM system for tracking customer information. In training demonstrate how the CRM system can improve customer profiling, documenting opportunities, and improve scheduling.

Use examples relevant to the sales activities instead of the CRM functions. Demonstrate the existing paper process, then how the CRM software simplifies the same process. Once the individual understands the enhanced process, review the benefits of the new system.

You are migrating existing proficiencies to use new tools instead of replacing existing processes. Show sales agents how CRM software helps them have relevant data available when working with customers -- instead of just training on how CRM works.

The sales agent would continue to train on scheduling and forecasting, how to use the history records to identify new opportunities, and automation to reduce time in repetitive tasks. This customized training by job role shows the users how CRM software enhances their job, resulting in a faster rate of adoption (reduced resistance to the news system.)

This method of training requires a different emphasis for each job role instead of a packaged training for everyone. It will require a greater investment with outside trainers, but will establish a more effective implementation that improves return on investment.

While generate software training has value, training to improve individual job performance produces the greatest return on investment. Train by job role and get better results.

This is a stark contrast to how many companies barrage users with software specific training, which leaves associating job relevance to the bewildered end user. General CRM software training is important, but only after individuals sees how CRM can improve their own work.

Help your users embrace CRM. You will improve individual job proficiency in the work at hand with CRM software enhancing each user�s ability. Instead of the perception it is something else they have to learn. How can you customize CRM software training by job role?

© 2002-2003 Justin Hitt, All rights reserved.
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Justin Hitt is a strategic relations consultant and the author of "27 Ways to CRM Return on Investment" (Tool Kit) available on-line. For more information, visit

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