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Why You Should Not Overlook CRM Training

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When companies are evaluating CRM vendors for their projects there are many criteria that need to be examined to ensure they make the correct decision.  A lot of the low hanging fruit that gets addressed (and rightfully so) are vendor experience, CRM features/functionality, pricing, implementation methodology, and post-sales support.  Training is often an afterthought and should garner more attention.

Why Manufacturers Need CRM Training

Every company (no matter the industry) needs to be trained effectively to have a successful CRM application.  Manufacturers are no different and one could say because of their complex business model, their need for training is higher than most.

Manufacturers typically incorporate many facets of their business into their CRM.  Besides Sales, Marketing and Customer Support, they often include the Accounting, Engineering and Supply Chain organizations to leverage the information to optimize revenue and reduce costs.  Being able to rely on all this info supplied by others in the company to provide a 360-degree view of the customer is dependent on the training they receive and how they use the system properly and consistently.

Providing accurate forecasts to Supply Chain and Management are critical to the success of manufacturers.  Specific training designed to ensure the forecast data is inputted properly and easily by salespeople is paramount to loading the factory correctly so their customers will receive their product in a timely manner.  The best CRM solution for manufacturers will be able to incorporate their unique processes and then train all of their teams accordingly.

What Should Training Consist of

Let’s talk about CRM training and what it should consist of in simple terms.  Training can be either in-person or delivered via web conferencing which is typically the default method used due to its lower cost and deployment flexibility. Training Services should be role-based and provided in several different formats depending on the customers need and the complexity of the usage of the system. CRM Training sessions can be designed for the following types of users:

  •  Administrator training contains technical content, configuration options, and troubleshooting techniques.
  •  Advanced user training for the “power end-user” who may train others, set configuration options and perform advanced queries and searches.
  •  End-user training focused on the remainder of the users who use the system as part of their role in the company.   They typically perform repetitive steps as part of a business process and rarely takes advantage of the advanced options within the CRM system.

Post-implementation training is extremely critical to the success of a CRM deployment over time.  I often refer to the following analogy when discussing the importance of post-implementation training. When building a new deck for your home you have a choice on its construction…do I use nails because it’s quicker or do I use screws because, in the long run, it will hold together better even though it may take more effort and incur more cost?

Ongoing or continuing education should be offered (and included in the monthly charge as the cost of doing business) as the company’s business model and application evolve.  This also holds true for new users that are added at a later time. This ensures your CRM will maintain a high user adoption rate.

In conclusion, CRM training should have the same level of importance when evaluating CRMs as some of the other more popular attributes that are often looked at.  Without the proper training and the corresponding methodology, improper usage of the CRM will eventually tear away at the fabric of the implementation causing mistrust in the integrity of the data in the system. User experience is key to your overall CRM adoption. Your entire company of sales, marketing and customer support teams will all enjoy using the CRM system and it will reflect in your ROI.


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