Strategy•Oct 24, 2012
A Leader’s Guide: How Not to Fail at One of Your Company’s Most Significant Software Investments – CRM Part II
Training – It’s never truly finished
Just as the cutover to the new CRM tool does not mean the end of changes to the tool, the final new user training classes do not mean the end of company training. In fact, the training at cutover is only the beginning of what should be a long and deliberate process of continuous education. The CRM was selected and implemented to support a critical business need—whether that was lead capture and qualification, customer project management, or any one of a whole host of other mission-critical reasons. And you no doubt conducted the initial training to ensure that the tool would be used, successfully, for its intended purpose.
However, if you want the tool to stay relevant, then there is no greater driver of success over time than effective continuous education. On the job training can get new users up and running, but it will never be enough, as technology-related OJT rarely covers the full scope of any tool’s functionality. New users only learn what old users have managed to retain. In fact, failing to sustain formal training is to doom your hard-won CRM implementation to ultimate failure.
Over time, your company will make enhancements to your new CRM tool. Not only is this inevitable, but also it’s desirable. Users will use the system and identify ways to improve it, which is exactly what should happen. The CRM governance committee will prioritize those changes and then roll them out. As a part of these rollouts, your organization must develop and implement ongoing training that lets users know how to use these new features and what, exactly, they do. If it is worth the effort to develop the enhancements, then it is more than worth the effort to train the users on them as soon as possible. If you can teach them to use the new features, and they will actually use them well!
Reinforcement training is also critical. New users will be rolled on to the system, and existing users will not remember everything in training. They will only remember what they need to use on a daily basis. Providing further training on a regular, scheduled basis. However, training in this sense does not necessarily mean classes. E-learning, leave-behinds from initial training, and follow-up calls are all effective ways to reinforce the concepts and roll out some new functionality. Some functionality, if it is complex enough, will require classes, but others can be explained in a simple email. Use the CRM governance committee to help determine what the training needs are and how they should be addressed.
After having spent so much time and so many resources on rolling out CRM and developing ways to change your organization towards customer-centricity, it would be a shame—not to mention a wasted investment—if the all of the hard work goes to naught as a result of ineffective training. Do not skimp on training. For too many organizations, training is an afterthought of the efforts, but should be the focus. It is the lynchpin to success. Allocate the resources you need to effectively train your organization in Customer Relationship Management.