CRM Adoption Best Practices: The Top Ten Reasons Why You Can’t Adopt a CRM

January 25, 2024
9 min

While there could be a host of reasons why some CRM adoption strategies fail or succeed, we have discovered some common culprits. In this post, I am sharing my CRM adoption best practices and providing tips on how to help your team start getting value from your CRM software.

Before we jump to our list, we read some statistics about CRM adoption on HubSpot:

  • 22% of salespeople don’t know what a CRM is. That’s basically 1 in 5 people.
  • 32% of sales reps spend over an hour on data entry every day. That’s 260 hours (or 10.8 days) a year spent on data entry, per person!
  • 64% of companies rate CRM tools as impactful, especially if they are implemented under CRM expert guidance.

17 CRM Adoption Best Practices Checklist

Get the list of the best-working tips on how to increase CRM adoption in your company.

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As Director of Customer Success at AscendixRE CRM, the very purpose of my role is to ensure our clients incorporate our solution into the daily fabric of their workday to manage their prospects (cold calls to potential tenants or owners) and track their deals.

It means abandoning those spreadsheets and never looking back.

It means collaborating and catching fire, telling other colleagues that they found something that has made a material difference in how their days are structured, time is used more effectively, and so on.

However, not all clients are alike, much like students are different in their approach to learning.

Generally, the likelihood of CRM technology adoption increases as age decreases.

There are generations in the workforce that don’t recall a day without social media and 24/7 connectivity.

Information is the new currency, and that means getting access to it quickly and in a mobile fashion.

Some of our clients sign up for a subscription and I hardly hear from them.

When I check-in, they are happy as a clam managing their own data and organizing their process in AscendixRE for or Microsoft Dynamics, needing very little guidance from me on best practices and so forth.


Selecting a CRM Consultant: The Definitive Guide


Others, I have a close relationship with and collaborate on how data should trickle and how we can automate painful manual processes.

Other clients discontinue their subscription indicating the solution didn’t work out for them.

9 out of 10 times, it’s the inability to dedicate the financial resources for minimal professional services upfront.

However, the time it takes to get up and running, one of the most important processes, leads to the discontinuation of service.

Committing time upfront to set up their instance and import & format the data is key to success.

Usually, lack of commitment to new habits and tools or reluctance to part ways with older systems, such as spreadsheets, notebooks, ACT!, and etc. lead to an unhappy CRM experience.

Breaking up is hard to do.

I prepared more reasons why your team fails to adopt CRM software and my CRM adoption best practices.

CRM Adoption: 5 Reasons It’s CRM’s Fault



5 Factors that Influence CRM Adoption


At the first glance, these terms imply the same: providing consulting services to Salesforce platform users or prospects. And it’s partially true, however, not all Salesforce consultants are Salesforce.


#1. It’s too clunky/busy


CRM is both art & science. The art and aesthetic of how it is designed are so subjective to each user.

Some people want streamlined and simple interfaces, simple colors, and few places to click.

Others want robust features, and functions and find an oversimplified interface boring and elementary.


  • Ask how configurable the CRM platform is.
  • Can you move things around, and streamline them to your liking?
  • Can you remove what you don’t need, and only keep want you to want.
  • Is that easy to accomplish with little technical chops (so you can DIY instead of paying someone to do it)?


#2. It’s antiquated


Antiques may be cool, but an antique CRM ain’t.

If the platform looks so outdated (beige on beige and very boxy, is what I think of), if the platform is not user-friendly, if it lacks a mobile app, and if has none to very little integrations, then there’s no compelling reason to use it.


Cloud-based CRM is the way to go, as the subscription model is how current investments work. Technology should be sleek, sexy, fast, and furious. The first place you can tell is by a company’s website. If they’re not at minimum investing in that, how can you expect that actual CRM to be any better? Do they need to get their “act” together?


#3. It doesn’t get you


You wouldn’t fill your personal life with people who don’t understand you. Nor should you fill your professional life with platforms that don’t jive with your industry, your business process, your office culture. You need it to also measure your metrics, and measure your success.


Go vertical. Nowadays, you don’t need to invest in a generic-vanilla-based CRM and then spend all this time trying to determine how it fits your industry. The market is filled with industry-specific CRMs (finance, healthcare, CRE real estate CRM, nonprofit, B2C Consumer goods, etc..) Starting there will shave off so much time and dollars on your CRM search.


#4. It doesn’t evolve

This is a little similar to it being antiquated, but even if it’s more modern, the platform needs to get updated (at least 2-4 times a year).

Why? Because that means the CRM vendor is serious about fixing bugs (and in technology, bugs are as common as summer nights).

It also means they are adding new features, and taking into consideration the user community feedback.


Ask how often new updates are released. Ask about the process for reporting errors/bugs, and what it’s like to request ‘nice to have’s.


#5. Support/Training

This is the last mile and the most important one. A CRM can only go so far, but if they have poor support (unresponsive or even hostile), and if they have no training resources (videos, documentations, real-live people to connect with), well then, the investment for an ongoing relationship is going to be tough, if not, non-existent.


See what others are saying about their support & training. Better yet, while you’re testing the CRM, take the support and training for a test drive.

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CRM Adoption: 5 Reasons it’s Your Fault



5 Reasons Why Can’t Adopt CRM


At the first glance, these terms imply the same: providing consulting services to Salesforce platform users or prospects. And it’s partially true, however, not all Salesforce consultants are Salesforce.


#1 Time


  • You have no time in general and even less time to assess different tools.
  • You lack the motivation to find the one tool you can commit to.
  • The task seems too daunting, only because you already have your day job on top of that.
  • When you do finally find one, you don’t spend the initial time getting to know the platform, so that in the long run you’re very good at managing it.
  • You assume it will take you too long to learn, so somehow it does take you too long to learn.

Solve it:

If you’re in research mode for a CRM, dedicate 1 hour a day to your research.

Start by browsing/reading about various platforms.

Choose a handful (a handful, not 10!) to try out and test.

Give yourself a deadline and pick one! If you’ve already made a purchase decision, and you’re lacking the time to log in and enter/read data that’s in it – well then find other ways to access it.

You can get the info on your mobile app (if you have time to check Facebook or LinkedIn, you have time for CRM).

You can connect most CRMs to your email (where you are pretty much living 24/7).

Make it a priority and a part of your everyday fabric. If you make it something you grudge, you’ll find an excuse to not use it.


#2 Money

Technology costs money. CRM is an investment. You might perceive it as a pricey investment, especially if it’s coming out of your own pocket. Look at those fees as an annual amount and determine the output you get from a CRM. Will its benefits outweigh the costs?

Solve it:

If you can’t afford it today, because your business is not quite there yet, then honestly, chances are you don’t need a CRM yet. You can get by on a spreadsheet. But if your business processes get more elaborate, or your book of business expands and you need to scale, then make the investment.


#3 Trust


Just like countries have different cultures, so do companies. In some orgs, there is a culture of trust.

This implies sharing data in a CRM from one user to another is not perceived as a threat.

However, other companies may have a slightly competitive stance, and users may not like the idea of harvesting and working relationships, adding them in CRM, only to have someone else “poach”.

Solve it:

There are definitely some advantages to sharing data, and advantages to hiding it. There is often a delicate balance that can be made, and in a CRM those are generally handled with security rules. It’s not a matter of ‘can the system do it’ (because it can), it’s more a  business decision of, can and should information flow freely, or should certain areas be restricted?


#4. Can’t let go


You have crutches and addictions. They’re called Excel spreadsheets, Outlook, Google Drive, notebooks, Post-its, Word documents, a dry erase board, and the back of a napkin. Choosing a CRM means breaking up with all of those.

Solve it:

It takes 21 days to drop a bad habit. You can do it.


#5 Lack of Direction/Unclear on Business Process


The top reason why you’re liable for why CRM adoption fails is that you’re unsure how to manage your leads, clients, and everything in between; thus the usefulness of CRM becomes questionable.

Solve it:

You need to clearly define your own business process.

What is currently time to consume and manual and how can it be replaced with CRM automation?

Where are there gaps of visibility and where can CRM transparency assist?

What kind of reporting can you get?

How do you measure success and forecast goals? Get a bunch of stakeholders in the room.

Answer these questions. Once that vision is clear, then finding and sticking to a solution is easy!

CRM Adoption Best Practices



CRM Best Practices


#1 Begin with the end in mind


You know how all those home improvement TV shows, show you the house after it’s been renovated and staged?

They present that to the buyer so they’re wow’ed and immediately sold on the vision.

That’s the end game. However, to start, you may have some bare-bones to deal with. And so knowing the end result, in a way, helps you plan, measure, test, so that you take the appropriate steps to get to that end goal. Answer “what’s in it for me” for every user/team of the system.

#2 Assign one main person as the admin


This is not always possible if you have resource constraints, but having one dedicated admin, who’s sole job is to set up the system, stage it, set up dashboards, add users, train users, create a customized video library, etc. will help immensely.

This person should have technical chops, not be burdened with too many other responsibilities, and have a fiduciary responsibility to the company. When you have a designated captain of the ship, the ship is less likely to sink.


How Can We Help with CRM Adoption?


We are in CRM consultancy business since 1996 and have helped thousands of users start using their CRMs efficiently.

We can help you to choose the best CRM software, with CRM customization, configuration, implementation, data migration, building custom apps, your employees’ training. We know how to increase CRM adoption of your users and will help you turn your CRM into the most appreciated tool in your organization. Contact us now and let’s discuss your project.

Learn how we helped JLL (NYSE: JLL) skyrocket their CRM adoption and what Transwestern thinks about our CRM Services.


What is your experience with CRM adoption? Share your key challenges and tips on how to adopt a CRM in the comments below.


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There are no better words than to say thank you for such important work that you are doing.


Please keep writing such nice things.

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