A CRM solution is a major investment for most companies. Nevertheless, today it’s also highly needed to keep up with competition. But a CRM solution is not a magic wand that when you implement it, it automatically boosts your sales and customer satisfaction. It requires strategic implementation and above all: training of the employees. Only when they are using the solution as it should, it will give the maximum return of the investment.
The challenges when training employees
When implementing (or upgrading / changing) a new CRM solution, in most occasions the employees who use the solution run into questions and possible obstacles. They need help learning how to work efficiently with the solution, even though they don’t explicitly ask for it. Don’t ignore their ‘scream’ for help, otherwise it will take a lot of time getting things done in the system. Leaving the employees without proper training, things gets worse and they will use the solutions in the wrong way or even want to stop using the system at all.
To avoid many of these issues, you can arrange a training for the users. This will give you the opportunity to get a good (fresh) start and even learn some things that were possible before but were forgotten. And yes, it doesn’t matter if you are a large or a small company. Dave van der Heijden, trainer at Efficy CRM, gives you two cases that underlines the need for proper training for employees.
Small and large companies, training employees is in practice
The big ones
For this case we take a look an implementation of a CRM solution that will be used by 70+ employees. Many of these users did not like using the CRM solution because of the multiple old systems that they had to use that were way to complicated for them.
The challenge was the sceptic users, that are used doing things their own way and stopped using the old CRM solution, get to a state of using the new CRM solution. Hardly any information was shared and was stuck in people’s heads and lots of other places like network disk, local disk, excel files and mailboxes.
We gave as advice to setup a project team that at least one key users per department. This project team was trained up front and they were the ones testing the new solution and provided the changes to make the system fit their needs even more.
In the training sessions we made sure that the new system was explained step-by-step. Starting with the Essentials and explaining the people that as time goes by, more and more things would be added as soon as they are ready for it.
A short company specific manual was created (by the customer) explaining some guidelines, rules and ‘do’s & don’ts’ so that the user can easily find what to do in the new system. By having a key user per department, the users knew they could ask this person for help but also give suggestions to tweak the system even more.
The effect was that users that got trained became enthusiastic about this new solution which they noticed to be much more user friendly then the old one. They knew what to do and that this system would save them time and will help them right from the start and in the future.
By using the solution, they were more willing to share information (notes, e-mails, documents, etc.) with all their colleagues, so the whole company benefits.
The ‘small’ ones
For the smaller case we use a company that needed an upgrade to a newer version of the solution and a refreshing of the knowledge for the 10+ users.
The main challenge was that some employees were already familiar with the CRM solution, others were new. The new users did not get a training for the CRM solution, but learned themselves “on-the-fly” and with some help from their colleagues. Some colleagues from their department had left the company by the way.
The ones that did have training in the past were not using the solution as it was supposed to be used and ‘developed’ their own ways.
We advised a couple of days “training on-the-job” with on specific needs of the user. Some users had their own list of questions, while others told about their day-to-day work. By literally sitting down next to the user and together with their manager we could address many items and give tips and tricks to help the user. In that way we discovered for instance that some computer and browser settings were wrong for some users and could be fixed on the spot.
The effect was that new users learned a lot of valuable functionalities and were very happy to hear from a professional how to do things. They also learned things that they were not made aware of by their colleagues. The people that did have training before also learned new things and were “back on track”. And the most important thing: They are happy to continue working with the CRM solution.
Make training your employees your cornerstone
Training employees is an investment. They are not productive for one or more days, a trainer needs to be hired, or they need to go to the office of the provider of the CRM solution and you don’t see an immediately a return of this investment. In the long run, the tables will turn, as all employees work with the solution as it should and all in the same way. The investment you did in the past will be nothing in comparison in the time you gain.