skip to Main Content

Redefining CRM Success – Part 3: Winning the CRM-ERM Adoption Game with Communications & Training

-By and

Do you want your professionals to use CRM to support their business development efforts? Provide some training to help them leverage CRM data, and show them the value and benefit they’ll gain from it.

Now that Enterprise Relationship Management (ERM) systems can be implemented to identify relationships and allow contact records to be created and updated in a CRM without additional work on the part of the professionals or their assistants, we have an added opportunity to redefine what a successful CRM implementation would look like.

It seems like we have forever been defining CRM success in a Professional Services firm as adoption, aka the number of professionals who are “using” the system – and using has been defined as logging in and entering information like contacts, notes and activities.

With the new CRM-ERM model, CRM adoption no longer needs to be interpreted this way. Instead, adoption can mean using CRM data to inform business development decisions and help with managing relationships with Clients and prospects. Suddenly, adoption equals value, which is a win!

However, this paradigm shift from users entering data to users leveraging data does pose a few challenges, which necessitates a discussion of the role – and importance – of communications and training in CRM success.

Just as the users’ role in CRM has been transformed by the arrival of ERM systems, communications and training must also be adapted to accommodate the new CRM-ERM landscape. While we’ve always advocated taking a “what’s in it for me” approach to communications and training – where the professionals were told “if you do this, then you get that”- now we can focus on what they are going to get and how they can use the information. It’s much more “carrot” and much less “stick” because they don’t really need to DO anything to get the data.


Without the need to brace professionals for learning new technology and changing their behavior, the tone of communications regarding the CRM initiative can be more “ta-da!” (as in, check out these benefits) and less “to do!” (as in, here’s what you need to do.)

Additionally, if you start to plan and build key reports as the ERM is being implemented, you can circulate that information to the professionals sooner than was previously possible. It can be helpful to provide them with a menu of sample reports to get their interest, such as relationships with top Clients, strongest relationships with key contacts, increasing relationship scores or potential at-risk Clients where scores are declining, client team connections and/or “lonely” clients with no or few relationships connections. Presenting professionals with these types of reports may get them excited, and a few of them may come back to you with edits or even new report requests. Another win!


Similarly, training no longer needs to focus on the mundane tasks related to data entry. Instead, professionals should be shown how to interpret and use the information in reports, which is a much more engaging conversation. Some professionals may even be interested in learning how they can self-serve these reports. Others may want their assistants to generate them. Of course, there will still be a few who want Marketing to send them the information, but frankly, if they are requesting and using information from the CRM, consider that another win!

The Endgame

The arrival of ERM technology is a game-changer for CRM adoption. By eliminating the need for professionals or their assistants to be involved in the process of entering and updating contact information, the definition of “adoption” can be converted from professionals doing (non-billable) time-consuming and tedious data entry to professionals using the data to enhance their marketing and business development efforts. Now that’s a win!

Read Redefining CRM Success Part 2- Beyond Adoption and Redefining CRM Success Part 1


For more than 10 years, the team at CLIENTSFirst Consulting has been helping professional services firms and other organizations successfully select and implement CRM and eMarketing systems to maximize value, adoption and return on investment. If you need help achieving CRM Success, please contact us at 404-249-9914 or


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WordPress Lightbox
Back To Top
×Close search