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Episode 8: Creating The Adoption Flywheel - Overcoming the Challenges of CRM Adoption

by Hannah Rose | Jan 5, 2022 10:00:00 AM

We’re back in the ohyay studio today with some extra flare. Thank you to our friends at ohyay for getting us hooked up! On the docket today Doug and Jess are talking about the adoption flywheel. They tackle the challenge of adoption and why it’s so hard, and how you can build your system to drive adoption of your users. If you haven’t had your coffee yet today, grab a cup and listen in as we break this down.




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Show Notes:

When we talk about adoption, we’re talking about adoption of the CRM. Before we get into the adoption flywheel, Doug admits that there are probably a lot of people going “okay, that’s what we need is another flywheel.” It’s important to remember that the flywheel is a generic concept. Rather than focusing on the flywheel, we need to be focused on the problems. Why is CRM adoption so hard? What are the big challenges to CRM adoption?

Firstly, it’s easy to forget what a CRM is and what the job is that you’re hiring the CRM to do. We have to have a clear definition of what we refer to as a CRM. Let’s use the term CRM platform because it infers it’s more than just an endpoint application. A CRM is a multi-object, relational database that  is integrated with multiple aspects of technology. That can be multiple aspects externally or internally. So you’re running multiple applications, multiple functions that are responsible for at least a segment of discipline in the customer revenue acquisition exemption life cycle. It is beyond a straight database. 

The first major mistake that happens with CRM implementation is that they don’t know why they are implementing a CRM. We talk a lot about how the directive is that the business process has to drive the technology. If there is not a clear reason why someone is using it they won’t use it. One of the problems with CRM adoption is that the commitment is one way. We’re asking the commitment of the user, we’re asking for the commitment of the sales rep, but management isn’t committed to it. They’re committed to having access to it, but not committed to using it to accelerate and enable their team.

Another place where there’s problems with adoption is during the set up of the CRM for launch. We always want to try to get the CRM right, and to a degree, not to scare anyone, the system is never right. The world is constantly changing and what you’re doing is having to manage trade-offs. You have to figure out what it is you want the CRM to do. 

Just like the owl in Alice in Wonderland says, “If you don’t know where you’re going, anywhere will get you there.” If you don’t have a clear destination you can’t set your sail. You’ll end up creating Frankensteins. Everything will become way more complex than it needs to be.

The other thing we have to understand is that if you have a CRM, everyone is using it, but whether they’re using it or not, everyone is using it. Sit on that one for a couple minutes. By this Doug means that because of the cost of the system, not everyone has access to it, so not everyone actually uses it, but everyone’s job is being impacted by the system. Even if a department doesn’t touch the CRM, it will impact what they are doing.

Now that we have some of the challenges and reasons laid out for why adoption is hard, let’s get into the adoption flywheel. The flywheel and it’s business usage comes from the book Good to Great by Jim Collins where he talked about the flywheel or the doom loop. It then was popularized in the sense of how it’s used in business by HubSpot. But where they got it from is Jess Bezos who talked about the Amazon flywheel. The point of the flywheel is that it’s self-reinforcing. The more people use it, the more you can separate the signal from the noise, which means the more you can isolate the difference between the actions that matter and don’t matter, which make it more valuable and easier to use, which enables more people to put more information into it, which enables more insight, and the cycle continues. 

The key is all about launch. Why? Because at launch you’re going to make a decision. This is where a mistake can occur: people want to keep things really simple. In reality this doesn’t make life easier because it brings no power with it.

This is why we call our launches simple, lovable and complete. Simple and complete makes it lovable. If it’s lovable, it gets used. As it gets used, more people talk about it. The easier it is to use the CRM in a way that enables you to capture more, the more valuable it becomes and the easier it becomes to use. That’s the flywheel effect. It doesn’t start off fast because we’re not trying to get everything in one step. Your CRM implementation is never done, that’s the reason to have multiple launches.

If there’s one thing to keep in mind it’s the difference between a good implementation and a bad implementation. A bad implementation is one that is built to be comprehensive, complete. That’s hard to unwind and fix. But if you look through the lens of simple and complete you can figure out the core elements to move it forward. It’s a geometric progression, it isn’t just linear.

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