Has your organisation implemented enterprise software such as a CRM system and there are questions as to whether you are getting “value” from your investment?

This is something I hear almost every week when talking to various organisations.

The value of the SaaS enterprise software market is over $100B annually, so if organisations are not getting value, that’s a lot of wastage.

Don’t get me wrong, the benefit is absolutely there, and organisations that leverage enterprise SaaS software such as Salesforce to the fullest extent can absolutely transform their businesses and hold an advantage over their competitors.

The challenge is many organisations are not receiving the benefits outlined in their original business case, and unless something is done quickly, a new cycle starts and fingers are pointed towards the software.

It’s a journey, not a destination

With many enterprise SaaS solutions, such as CRM solutions, what many organisations fail to understand is that it’s a journey not a destination.

In my 20 years experience in the industry, no single business case focused on “a single financial year” that I have seen has comprehensively articulated costs and benefits that create long term value for the organisations from the enterprise SaaS solution. Only a multi year approach can work.

Like training the body at the gym, it takes time to create muscle memory, time to lock in processes in an organisation and time to add capability and value on top. Trying to do too much in one go will lead to adoption issues – the biggest issue in CRM software today. 

Complexities of process & tools

Adoption is absolutely affected by complexities in processes. 

Too many data fields, too many steps and poorly worded fields all make for a challenging user experience which affects adoption.

Quite often screens are designed and configured without direct involvement from key groups of users, then missing the point of adding value to the people that use it.

Something that is often overlooked is business process re-engineering, instead of simplifying a sales or customer service process, the process is implemented as is, which may have worked well in a legacy solution, however may not work well in a modern CRM system such as Salesforce.

Organisations should make sure they are simplifying the process, which will ultimately benefit end customers.

The switch to SaaS

In the past enterprise software was purchased on a perpetual basis, organisations would derive value over a period of time then they would depreciate the software. That was fine for the first few years, but if adoption dropped off and people were not using the solution in future years, it wasn’t necessarily material if the solution paid off.

Executives and boards have been slow in adjusting to thinking about subscription based software, which means costs keep rolling in future years. Once adoption drops off, value drops off and subsequently questioned.

This has led to the rise of roles in vendor organisations such as Customer Success Managers, who are responsible for ensuring you are getting value. Enterprise software organisations look at metrics such as how often your users log into the system as key KPI’s to analyse if you are getting value, or if you are likely to cancel your subscription in the future.

The problem is by the time the customer success managers get involved, the damage is done, and your teams may already be feeling negative about the software.

Ineffective initial training programmes

A very common occurrence is poorly planned training programmes.

As much as you may be led to believe that enterprise software doesn’t need significant training for users, remember that enterprise software is not consumer software. It’s not designed to be completely intuitive, it’s designed to be flexible, functional & configured to your processes.

Training needs to be multi-channel and knowledge embedded over many months. Access to knowledge and training needs to be suited to the different ways people learn, yet companies still roll out one hour training and throw the keys to their team.

Slowly building knowledge and getting time to practice is key to a winning training programme. Advancements in technology have also allowed personalised coaching such as video content, and interactive material such as Salesforce’s Trailhead.

Lack of ongoing refresher training

Just like Doctors and Lawyers need to do constant ongoing learning and training to keep their practice, the same applies for users of enterprise software.

Key messages and reasons for how or why a process should be followed gets lost overtime. Processes get shortcuts taken leading to gaps in data and information affecting the overall data quality.

Another point with enterprise SaaS software, part of the value of your subscription is the constant improvement of the solution. As these improvements are made, your team needs to be made aware of what new features and capabilities are and how they can simplify their daily work.

This highlights the need for regular ongoing refresher training. Refreshing knowledge enables your team to stay connected to the core purpose of what the solution is looking to achieve as well as delivering new messages as things change. Again, multi-media is key, video, quizzes, face to face all keep it interesting.

Lack of progress beyond Phase 1

Early on in a project’s scoping, stakeholders from various teams are often involved. Each group of users have key needs and wants that will provide value to their role and everyone is excited about the possibility of what the solution will deliver, the vision is set and people are ready to live the dream.

Then the costs roll in, and the wish-list doesn’t fit into the budget that has been allocated by the board.

What happens next is that stakeholders hear things like “That is pushed out until Phase 2”. 

The challenge and reality is that Phase 2 never comes, however the expectation has been set. And once it is set, the damage is done.

It comes back to the journey, when you think about your commitment in that way, you can ensure you budget for a future set of enhancements to keep your users happy and adoption up.

No strategy alignment or alignment to KPI’s

One of the key issues I see affecting the adoption of CRM software focused on sales is a complete misalignment on the business strategy with what the software is looking to achieve.

An example is sales team members performance plans. Typically these include sales targets, revenue targets etc. But when that employee leaves the company and hasn’t used the CRM system appropriately, all the information about their customers are gone.

This is in direct misalignment with the company strategy of gaining customer intimacy through data and capturing that through the CRM system.

Looking at KPI’s around utilisation of key business systems such as the CRM solution, aligned with the business strategy can help with successful adoption.

How to get back on track

If adoption has dropped, a re-position, step change or intervention is absolutely required. Trying incremental changes is slow and from my experience doesn’t light a fire for change sufficiently.

This is about getting on the front foot with users and realigning.

ClearPoint has a Salesforce Adoption Health Check packaged approach to improving your Salesforce adoption through a “re-launch” initiative.

We start with a short and sharp discovery phase with business stakeholders, technology stakeholders, and a Salesforce solution review to prepare for what’s next.

We then create an action plan for your Salesforce “re-launch” 

In summary, if you have recently seen usage of your enterprise systems including your CRM system drop, or users stating it doesn’t help them with their job, an adoption audit will help you get on track with a re-launch plan to ensure the original vision and benefits can be realised.

Happy staff, happy customers, happy shareholders – everyone wins.

We can get your user adoption back on track, start by reading our white paper on Salesforce adoption.

Talk to us about how we can help you with your adoption journey today.

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Paul Scott

Paul is ClearPoint’s Chief of Platforms & Partnerships. He is an award-winning, globally experienced leader with a career focused on business transformation, driven by software, integration, business apps, cloud and SaaS.