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One of the challenges that occupies anyone planning a new CRM project is how to guarantee adoption. To get the best possible return on investment from your CRM project, you need everyone to trust the new system and to enter all the relevant data into it. If half of your colleagues are still keeping most of their data in Excel workbooks and other scattered repositories, that won’t happen.

So how can you maximize adoption from the very start of your CRM rollout? Here are our top tips, based on Zoho’s more than a quarter of a century of experience with technology development and implementation:

Make it relevant and useful

    Your CRM will only yield return on investment if it contains relevant information that is valuable not just for the business as a whole but also for the CRM’s users. To make this happen, it’s important to design the CRM—the data it captures, the modules you use, the reports you configure—in a way that aligns with the real needs and goals of users and gives them insights they can instantly use to hit their targets.

    Manage change with sensitivity

    Don’t introduce your users to the CRM for the first time when it’s ready to deploy. Involve them in the development and rollout process. Explain the benefits of the system to them. Listen to their feedback and, where necessary, make adjustments to the system and to the way you expect people to work with it. Doing all this will help promote engagement from the start, something that is absolutely crucial to ensuring rapid and successful adoption of the new CRM.

    Respect customer and colleague privacy

      Good relationships are based on trust. Your salespeople, account managers, and other colleagues have to know that the data they enter into the CRM will be safeguarded and will only be used in ways they understand and can justify to their customers. In some cases, these users spend years building customer relationships. To enter data into the CRM, they have to be confident that doing so will support and enhance those relationships. That’s why it’s crucial that your CRM prioritizes privacy.

      Build to scale

        To ensure long-term success, you need to build from the start with scale in mind. Your CRM design should allow for flexibility, so that as your company changes, grows and evolves, the CRM can keep up. If you do this, users won’t find they suddenly hit a barrier to continued use as their role and their goals change. This ensures continued acceptance and continued return on investment.

        But also keep it simple and move fast

        With the right partner, and the right CRM technology, you should be able to do all of these things and also move at speed. Ideally, no implementation process should take longer than three to four weeks. This keeps momentum on your side, and allows you to rally colleagues and get the CRM to a point where it makes a measurable and positive impact on the metrics and goals it was designed to move, quickly. As the old saying goes, nothing succeeds like success. And nothing is more likely to encourage adoption than showing that the CRM can rapidly fix the pain points that prompted the business to decide it needed a CRM in the first place.

        “Trust is really the key to encouraging adoption,” said Gopal Sripada, Product Marketing, Zoho CRM. “Your users need to feel listened to. They need to understand what the CRM is and how it will help them achieve their goals. They must feel confident that it is secure and that they will still have control over the data their key accounts give them. With the right approach and the right technology partner, these things are entirely feasible. You can deploy your new CRM at speed and still get precisely the tools and technologies you need to solve your business challenges and maximize acceptance.”

        Zoho offers a suite of intelligent enterprise business software, including an award-winning CRM suite, the industry's only comprehensive analytics and BI platform, and a powerful low-code development ecosystem.