5 KPIs to Drive CRM User Adoption & Success

Congratulations! You have this bright and shiny new CRM system. You spent lots of time working on design. You have customized the system to make it a fantastic reflection of the manufacturing industry’s best practices for sales and marketing. You worked with a Dynamics Partner who lives, eats, and breathes manufacturing (ahem!) and executives throughout the company are convinced it is THE thing that is going to drive sales and marketing into the 21st century and beyond!

Just one problem – how will it do anything for you if you can’t be sure people are using it?

Or to restate this with a bit more depth, if you can’t, with a couple clicks, know whether or not key pieces of your CRM system are actually being used as expected, then how do you plan to reap the full benefits of your investment? Experience has shown us that one of the primary predictors of success in implementing a CRM system is USER ADOPTION. In the simplest of terms, if people ain’t using it, the system ain’t benefiting from it!

And yet… And yet, we often see the monitoring and tracking of adoption as an afterthought. As something that is a nice to have, but not necessarily a top priority. Quite simply – many organizations think the investment in CRM ends after training. The truth is, a small amount of additional investment into Adoption should be a core part of every planned CRM investment.

This is true for new CRM projects, and this is just as true for existing CRM investments that are potentially not reaching their full Return on Investment. In fact, and I realize this might sound controversial, a mediocre CRM implementation that is fully adopted and monitored will likely return MORE value than a perfectly designed system that has mediocre adoption and poor monitoring.

Well, this blog post (and its insistent and not overly reticent author) is here to offer a solution! Let this be an open declaration that tracking adoption should actually be a top order priority for every CRM implementation. To help spur this along, I’ve compiled a list of the five KPIs you most need to understand if you want to drive adoption.

5 KPIs to Drive CRM User Adoption (& Success):

1. Login and Active Usage Rates –

This is the bread-and-butter of all metrics around adoption. If you don’t understand who is and is not using the system, it is hard to drive any more sophisticated behaviors. And merely tracking logins is not enough. You need to know how people are using the system, and whether or not their usage is commensurate with their position and how they should be using the system. Here’s a big hint – this is not found in Auditing Logs!

2. Key Record Creation –

While there are going to be some differences from organization to organization, generally speaking there are a handful of records that you want your users creating. E.g. accounts, opportunities, etc. In order to drive the most effective usage of the system, you will need to understand specific behaviors around creating and managing these records. And again, due to role by role variance, you should not expect identical behaviors amongst all users.

3. Lead and Opportunity Qualification and Disqualification, as well as Lead Abandonment –

For starters, let this serve as my open declaration of loyalty to Leads! I think the average manufacturer could actually benefit tremendously from the usage of Leads. But that’s a topic for another time. For organizations that are using Leads, as well as Opportunities, it is imperative that you understand whether or not leads are being used effectively. Qualification, Conversion, and Close rates can give some insight, but you also need to know when salespeople are walking away from Leads and Opportunities instead of managing them on a regular cadence, and closing them as a way to keep the backlog and pipeline clean and honest. The last thing anyone wants is a polluted CRM system.

4. Clean Records –

At this point, we are monitoring logins and key elements of system usage. In addition, there are other key entities where we want to track if users are doing what they were intended to do. For example, there might be key information on a record that, while you do not want to make the field mandatory (not always practical), you do want to set up those fields as gates, though which a record passes as part of a natural progression. Think adding estimated revenue to an Opportunity. By tracking behaviors around the maintenance of these fields, you can be sure your users are using the system as well as possible.

5. Change in Pipeline Over Time –

I know at least some of you thought we should have started with pipeline. But I actually think pipeline is not a leading indicator of successful system usage. YES IT IS IMPORTANT! Crucial! Necessary beyond even smallish shadow of a doubt! But as an Adoption metric, pipeline is a trailing indicator – important, but not an initial area of focus. Still, successful usage of CRM should lead to a healthier pipeline. And actually, fully monitoring pipeline health, viability, and accuracy for forecasting is a whole other discussion. So suffice to say, I advocate for a small amount of Pipeline tracking for adoption purposes, and a whole truck load of it for other reasons – ones I’ll discuss in a future blog post.