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Spicing Up Training to Get More Out of CRM Applications

Training is frequently looked upon as a necessary evil by all involved, so it is no surprise that training programs too often seem like drudgery, and are less effective than they could be. For companies looking to get more out of their CRM software, there couldnt be a better time to turn this around by adding some extra spice to the training process.

The slow economy may be a perfect opportunity to try some additional CRM training. Besides giving employees something productive to do during slack periods, it could pay off in the long run in the form of improved return-on-investment (ROI).

ROI and CRM Applications

ROI is a key metric of any IT expenditure even in good times, but especially so during a recession. By expanding usage of a CRM system beyond the sales and service operations, a company can get more for its CRM investment.

In turn, usage of CRM systems for accounting, inventory control, supply chain, and other functions--on top of greater utilization by sales and service personnel--can lead to efficiencies that improve firm-wide ROI.

CRM Software: Beyond Basic Training

Getting more out of CRM software depends on improving employee adoption throughout the firm. To do this, a firm would do well to go beyond basic CRM training, in which employees with customer contact learn a set of CRM applications related to their day-to-day jobs. The following are some ways to spice up CRM training for better results.

  1. Starting with a vision. Before jumping into step-by-step functional training, it is best to set a broader context by explaining the companys vision for CRM utilization. This should include perspectives on how the company can benefit, how it might serve customers more effectively, and how life could be easier, better, or more secure for its employees. Employees who understand the bigger picture are not only more likely to grasp individual training tasks readily, but they are also more likely to come up with new applications for the CRM software, to further increase its usage.
  2. Incorporating games into training. Often, training is no more than a dull process of having employees repeat the steps an instructor just showed them. If these steps can be incorporated into games which test speed, accuracy, and thoroughness, training becomes more fun and employees are more likely to internalize the information.
  3. Structuring incentives and recognition around goals. Setting goals gives employees a clear picture of managements expectations for what types of data should be entered, and how much data they are expected to produce. In turn, basing incentives and recognition around those goals--especially if it is done in a team-based format to get employees rooting for each other--helps make follow through more likely.
  4. Being inclusive. Casting a wider net to include more employees in the training process does more than just increase potential usage of CRM applications. It also gives more employees a sense of involvement, and can be an opportunity to bring separate departments closer together.

Two things employees need when business is slow are ways to stay productively occupied and morale boosting activities. Creative training to expand CRM applications within the firm can accomplish this, while ultimately helping the company shore up its ROI.


New York Times

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