The Expert Guide to Successful CRM Training
This is a guest blog post by Victor Rosado, Senior Consultant, 'Salesforce Change Management and Training' at Valintry360
When a company is ready to adopt a new CRM, picking the right technology is only half the battle. Even the most advanced platforms can hold teams back if they don't know how to use them — which is why effective CRM training is so important.
Without proper CRM training, companies risk low utilization rates, longer onboarding times and avoidable errors. To put it another way, effective CRM training could be the difference between a positive ROI, or an expensive, failed implementation.
Ensuring successful CRM training doesn't have to be hard — you just need the right strategies and tools to augment your existing process. To help get you started, we've compiled a list of expert tips that will empower your clients to become CRM experts.
Know your audience
Before you even start planning your training, it’s important that you know who your audience is. CRM training isn't one-size-fits all, so different audiences will have different needs. For example:
- C-suite executives need training on how the CRM can create revenue and forecasting reports
- Managers need training on how the CRM can help them measure their team's performance
- Salespeople and service providers need training on how to use the CRM to do operational tasks
Researching your audience beforehand can also help you determine organizational buy-in. Getting more people in an organization involved with CRM training will help increase overall adoption and boost the CRM's perceived value.
Ideally, you'll have buy-in across the entire organization, from marketing, to sales, to service, to finance and management. The more stakeholders involved with your training, the more impactful it will be.
The best way to create high-value training is to hone in on what your audience doesn’t know. One of the easiest ways to identify specific gaps in knowledge is to send out formative assessments to your clients.
By quizzing your participants on what they know — and more importantly, don’t know — you’ll be able to tailor your presentation to better meet their needs. Maybe your audience is really proficient in finding contacts, but they need help generating forecasts. Or maybe your clients have been using their current CRM for two years and they need your help to take their reporting to the next level.
For even richer planning information, you can ask managers, salespeople, and anyone else involved with the project what their weaknesses and challenges are with their current CRM software. This will not only reveal knowledge gaps, but paint a bigger picture of what they would like to achieve from their CRM beyond day-to-day functionality. This information is crucial in making sure your CRM training aligns with the overall strategic goals of the organization.
With the right planning in place, you'll know your end game before you start, and deliver the most impactful CRM training possible.
Use training time wisely
What does the first ten minutes of your CRM training currently look like?
If the answer is, "Everyone takes out their laptops and learns how to set up their password," then you're not using your time wisely.
Formal CRM training time is precious, so don't waste it by using it to teach simple aspects of the CRM architecture. Instead, you should create tools like videos and articles that walk clients through these low-value exercises before they arrive at your training session.
Using these training tools maximizes the value of your training time and allows you to jump right into addressing your clients' knowledge gaps.
Leverage scenario-based training
We’ve all been to boring training sessions where the presenter just reads off their slide deck. If this is how your current CRM training is structured, it's time to reevaluate — stat.
The negative consequences of this type of training are two-fold:
- Your audience will be disengaged, and therefore they won’t soak up as much information
- When your audience sits down at their desks after training is over, they'll be emailing you with questions
Instead, create scenario-based training modules to address those knowledge gaps you identified earlier.
For example, you can demonstrate how your clients would use the CRM to review contact activity before meeting with a prospect. By having them go through those steps in response to a realistic situation, you'll keep your audience engaged with the content and they'll be better prepared after training is over.
We're not saying you have to ditch your slide deck completely, but you do want to make sure your training sessions balance knowledge with application for maximum impact.
Follow up and follow through
You can have the best training session in the world, but unfortunately that doesn’t guarantee your CRM will be perfectly adopted. The best way to ensure your training sticks is to follow up and follow through with your participants after the training is over.
- Check in with your client to see who is excelling with the CRM adoption and who still needs help
- Ask questions that uncover which tasks or functions are being underutilized, or which problems still aren't getting solved
Armed with this information, you can create documentation that will support the ongoing implementation of your training. It's critical to organize this documentation in an online knowledge base, which can grow over time to include all of your clients' frequently asked questions. Having a searchable database will allow your clients to access the information they need in real-time, enabling them to keep training themselves long after your formal training is over.
Putting it all together
When it comes to CRM training, small tweaks can make a big difference in your clients' outcomes.
By investigating your audience's unique needs beforehand, you can create scenario-based training sessions that deliver more value and align with the overall strategy of their organization.
After the training is over, you can keep adding value through the use of an online knowledge base. This tool will not only increase CRM adoption, but also help trainers anticipate future questions over time.
Hungry for more? Download our Salesforce Training Playbook for more actionable tips that will take your CRM training to the next level.