Best Practices: Increase User Acceptance of Your Implementation of Microsoft CRM Part I

User acceptance should be the single most important focus of any implementation of a Sales automation system such as Microsoft CRM. User acceptance, demonstrated through consistent use by sales people, is very important if you want to realize the fantastic benefits of a CRM system. Absence of user acceptance has single handedly contributed to failure of most Sales Automation implementations more than any other factor.

This posting is part one of a series of best practice recommendations to ensure high level of user acceptance.

Most companies don’t give much thought to their sales processes until they are faced with implementing a CRM system. Or if they do, the rules are fairly lax and not consistently enforced. Then comes a system, such as Microsoft CRM, which implements and enforces policies and procedures, and stops sales people from bypassing the sales process. Most sales people consider this loss of capability/freedom and view Microsoft CRM as an enemy rather than an ally. I see lots of companies do this and alienate their sales people and never know what went wrong.

Best practice

  • Separate announcement (and possibly enforcement), of new policies and procedures from the introduction of Microsoft CRM. This approach helps position Microsoft CRM as a friend that will help make the digestion of new policies and procedures easier. This of course is the “good guy bad guy” strategy. Microsoft CRM being the good guy and new procedures/polices the bad guy.
  • Introduce the policies and procedures in small portions.
    • First introduce high level ones
    • Then as your sales people get used to those, add more detail and layers.

In Microsoft CRM, rules and guide lines can be added later using workflows and Scripts. This allows you to go live with a much simpler implementation and add complexity in stages.

In general, change, even the best kind, more often than not, is a source of stress for majority of people. Introduce change in digestible chunks instead of dishing it all at once. You will be much happier with the result, more successful with your implementation and save yourself and your team lots of unnecessary stress.

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If you have had user acceptance problems and overcame it, please share it so that everyone can learn from your example.

Microsoft CRM Consultant
Unitek Microsoft CRM Services