Don’t Confuse Implementation with Adoption

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By Brett Knobloch

JGSullivan Interactive

I was reading an article in Customer Relationship Management’s May issue with the same title as this blog entry.  It was citing research from 2005 and 2009 with  a set of companies revealing how much their salespeople had adopted the CRM system implemented by their company.  Despite years of hype and hoopla around CRM systems, companies at the high end of the adoption curve have made no progress in the last four years between surveys, while firms at the lower end of the adoption curve (defined as less than 50%) lost ground.

The article drew a sharp distinction between purchasing a CRM system and actually getting salespeople to use it.  Yes. This struck a nerve with me.  Since 1995 I’ve seen companies adopt websites and other web-based technologies at a high rate and say “I’ve got that base covered…let’s move on.” without bothering to do the harder work of actually ensuring these applications get used.

I see this with Adbuilder implementations regularly.  Companies find online adbuilding intriguing and implement a technology and expect users to adopt it easily.  It doesn’t really work like that.  Getting users to adopt an Adbuilder is a four-pronged effort, with four separate but interrelated areas that need to be addressed in order for success. The four areas are shown below:


We’ve written a white paper that we share with clients that dig into each of these areas in detail in order to craft a plan to achieve success.  I realize why more companies don’t focus on this.  The truth is that many corporate cultures don’t really encourage this.  Corporate America reorganizes frequently enough that you need to make a quick and noticeable impact if you’re going to get promoted.  Long term, steady and sometimes difficult actions are not rewarded.  Slick software salespeople don’t offer a recipe for success either.  With neither side pulling their weight, many companies are disappointed with results…like the CRM article mentioned earlier.

That’s unfortunate, because a long term view is what’s needed.  By tracking the key indicators necessary to measure success and implementing effective strategies to encourage usage, your online applications can meet and perhaps exceed all the rosy projections provided by those software salespeople.

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