Customer data are not updated, opportunities are not managed or log-ins decline? Those are just a few indicators that a CRM system is not broadly accepted and used as intended.

To successfully induce sales to accept and use a CRM system is one of the greatest challenges for companies in the course of digitizing sales. But only if the entire sales team uses the CRM system, the full potential of that tool can be exploited.

How to ensure this?

Emphasising the benefits of a CRM system for daily work

By conducting trainings, sales has to be familiarized with the CRM system. But it is not sufficient to provide only training material or considering it as a pure software training. It is important that sales agents understand the benefits of the CRM system for their daily work and for the company. In other words, the CRM system needs to be sold internally.

Amongst others, one possibility is to integrate best practices into trainings in order to explain the tool in the context of real practical examples. Furthermore, trainings have to be designed in an interactive way focusing on tearing down usage barriers.

Benefiting from the sales team and their expertise

The functional dimension of a CRM system needs to be taken into account too. If a CRM system is functionally limited with regard to their application possibilities (e.g. lack of mobile use of the tool) or if it has a complex user interface, it will have a negative impact on the perceived value of the sales team.

Therefore, very high usability, great user experience and intuitive interface design from a sales agent perspective are extremely important. This needs to be achieved by an appropriate design of the user Interface.

In order to ensure this, companies have to identify power users in sales, who are convinced of the tool. Those users need to be integrated in the process of adapting the CRM system to ensure an optimal usability and user experience.

CRM systems tend to have more and more functions. Companies (especially IT departments and their suppliers) are tempted to make all of them available without considering that this might overwhelm sales agents. Therefore, it makes sense to carefully consider which ones are really beneficial for sales and to release new functions gradually in order to allow the sales team to get used to them.

Increasing motivation by gamification

An additional measure to increase acceptance and usage of a CRM system is the implementation of gamification elements. Gamification refers to the implementation of playful elements such as awarding points or rankings in a different context in order to positively influence the behaviour of user regarding motivation and usage.

In relation to CRM systems this means that a sales agent, as an example, receives award points for entering relevant customer information into the system. This can be combined with a competitive element through a transparent ranking within the sales team.

The example of the security company GS4 shows that gamification can be very effective. GS4 was able to increase the usage of their CRM system from 75 percent to 98 percent after the implementation of gamification methods. [i]

Mobile availability of a CRM system is a must-have

Having a mobile version of a CRM system has several advantages – especially for field sales. This includes the ability to enter and update customer information anywhere and at any time – before, while or after a customer visit. On the one hand this leads to improved data quality, and on the other hand to increased user Adoption.

Philips, as an example, has increased the effective sales time of its team by 20 percent and the employee satisfaction by 40 percent after having introduced a mobile CRM application. In addition, key performance indicators, including success rates of opportunities, have improved significantly.  [ii]

There is no “one-size-fits” all success formula

One single measure is not sufficient to ensure high acceptance and usage of a CRM system. This is mainly due to the diversity of reasons to why a CRM system may not be adopted and consequently used ­– driven by each individual sales agent. Some sales agents do not understand how to efficiently use the tool. Others expect a higher quality of data or are not used to work with an IT supported solution.

Accordingly, a combination of diverse measures is required to ensure user adoption in the long run. Therefore, we have developed a specific “CRM Adoption Program”, which supports companies in increasing user adoption. If you want to learn more, please feel free to call or write us.

With regard to this, we have developed a specific “CRM adoption program”, which supports companies in increasing user adoption. If you need to get more information, please feel free to call or write us.


by Daniel Meidl & Nikolaus Bremerich



[i] Greenwell, D. (2014). Shall we play a game? G4S finds winning formula with Sumo. Retrieved on March, 20, from

[ii] Salesforce (2015). 5 Stories of Customer Success with the Salesforce1 Mobile App. Retrieved on March, 20, from

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