CRM and ERP Training Strategy for Your Next Software Project
It’s no secret that enterprise software like CRM and ERP can truly revolutionize the way your business operates, connecting your shop floor with your sales team in entirely new (and more efficient ways) to share data and streamline processes across your entire operation. Partly because enterprise systems are becoming so integral to the modern business, they are also becoming even bigger risks to take on and commit to. As we have detailed on many a post on this blog, failure can happen when it comes to your next software project, and it can be disastrous in terms of cost, lost time and user frustration. That’s why CRM and ERP training for your entire organization is so crucial. If your employees don’t understand how to use the software correctly, they could either abandon it out of frustration, or simply input and analyze its data incorrectly, riddling your expensive software with dirty data and dangerous errors; two surefire paths to failure.
Proper training and education is the only way to ensure seamless user adoption of your new enterprise software or integration platform throughout your entire organization. Read on for some top tips on the CRM and ERP training process for any software project.
Become Your System’s Greatest Spokesperson
If your employees are fully informed of all the benefits that the integration project will provide, they should be truly excited to get started on getting that software into the company and making it an integral part of their daily tasks! That kind of enthusiasm has to start with the project team; the group who first believed in the power of ERP and CRM integration and who must be tasked with getting everyone else to believe, too. After all, you must have had a host of reasons you wanted to take on the new enterprise software; it shouldn’t be hard to get people excited about learning more. The first step of successful training is that initial interest; it’s critical that you spark it before you even get started with the finer details of the process.
Involve Staff in the Building Process
By making sure that your employees are fully involved in the design of your enterprise software, you will naturally build a system that is tightly integrated with your business and intuitive to its users. Instead of just boring your employees with endless presentations that all the free coffee and bagels in the world can’t improve, let your team get their hands dirty. Ask questions, allow open feedback and really work with your new software so that you know every employee has their questions answered and their specific processes supported. After all, if they are directly participating in the architecture of your CRM and ERP, they will be innately trained in that system from the get go—you’ll get education and help with your software plan at the same time!
Build a Training Hierarchy
While it is imperative that everyone that will be using the new integration platform in any capacity—whether it’s complex involvement and reporting with the data, or merely entering information—is trained, there should also be a training ‘pyramid’ in place. Focus your most intense training efforts on the few power-users that will be utilizing the system most and drawing the greatest value from it. These employees will be your greatest assets when it comes to getting your whole organization to jump on board the project, and they will need the most time and effort when it comes to the education process.
At the same time, you don’t need to overwhelm all of your employees with every single piece of information and best practice when it comes to your CRM and ERP training. If you inundate them with use cases and terms that are not relevant to how they will use the software, it’s guaranteed way to get them to tune out everything you’re telling them. Instead, filter out only the truly valuable nuggets of information for each department and each employee. It will not only make training go faster, it will also show every individual the specific benefits integration will provide them. With a specific ‘training hierarchy’ in place, the training process will be significantly expedited and much more easily received.
Give Staff Homework (Yes, Homework)
A common complaint that we often come across during large ERP or CRM projects is the time taken away from normal business operations for the training, change management and implementation operations. One way to make sure that proper education is happening while staff still has time to focus on their revenue-driving activities is a CRM and ERP training ‘homework plan’. Yes, even the term homework may evoke painful memories, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be done at home; just in spaces of free time or short blocks in the office so that you can keep training consistent, making sure that that your staff are going to be truly ready for the go-live date. These small bites of training can be anything from validation of certain systems, figuring out specific problems that might emerge within the software. This might be also be a useful project specifically for those aforementioned ‘super-users’ that will be dealing with the system daily. Constant education will foster great feedback on the software and the CRM and ERP training process itself—whether it’s working or just going in one ear and out of the other for most of your participants.
Training Doesn’t End at Go-Live
Failing to continue process and software training post go-live is an invitation for your CRM and ERP integration to falter as soon as it leaves the gate. Ongoing training is a crucial part of your software project, and should be budgeted for from day one of planning. Your software integration is not intended to be static: it’s value, processes and data will change over time. Your training should too. Without it, users will quickly fall out of step with your software, changing best practices and new policies with your company. If software isn’t used properly, it just won’t perform the way it’s promised. Poor practices will lead to frustrating, mistake-ridden software—not exactly what you shelled out all that money for. It’s crucial that you always keep your users up to date and sharp on the best way to use your valuable software.
This post-implementation CRM and ERP training will also include any new updates rolling out in the software. The world of technology and software is notoriously fast-moving (and often temperamental) so education should never truly be ending when it comes to CRM, ERP and enterprise integration.
Proper employee CRM and ERP training and change management are a crucial step in any successful enterprise software project. Not only it is a fast track to seamless user adoption and implementation success, thorough training can also give you an insight into your organization at a granular, departmental level so that you can map your new software to every employee’s needs. Involving your team in the structure of the new system is not only a method of education, it will improve the operation and efficiency of the software when it comes to go-live; employees will already understand how the systems works for them specifically and how they can weald it to improve their job performance and focus on the tasks that they were hired to do, not data entry and maintenance. The best kind of enterprise software training shouldn’t feel like a class to slog through; it should be active, fluid and engaging throughout all points of your software project process.
For more information on your own upcoming enterprise software implementation and integration, or advice on how to whip your own CRM and ERP training strategy into shape, contact an expert at Datix today.