Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems offer a host of benefits for small and large companies alike: optimized sales cycle, better inventory management, automation of repetitive tasks, easier decision-making, improved after-sales service, and the list goes on.
However, in order to reap all these benefits post-implementation, there is one prerequisite: end-user training.
When implementing an ERP or CRM system, employee training is sometimes (and wrongly!) overlooked or is left to the very end.
Do not make this mistake!
Well-trained employees, whose training has been planned from the very beginning of the project, will be those in the best position to realize the full potential of the newly acquired solution.
They are also those who will be prepared to face all the changes that come with such a solution. In fact, well-planned training is a key success factor when implementing a CRM/ERP system.
Curious to learn more?
In this article, we will lay out five tips on how to properly plan end-user training for a new CRM/ERP solution.
1- Define Your Employee Training Needs
There are several elements that can help you determine the type of support you need in order to train users on your new solution.
One of the first things to consider is your team adaptability.
Are you about to change your CRM/ERP system for the first time in 10 years?
If so, your employees will have many new things to learn and many old habits to break. Fears and misgivings about the new system will surface.
Therefore, it will be important to support your employees in their training, by giving them the opportunity to test the system before it goes live and by making sure they know where to turn if they have any questions or concerns.
If, on the other hand, your teams are used to integrating new digital tools into their daily lives, they will be less likely to resist change and will probably adopt the new ERP system more readily.
Adapting to change is tantamount to developing a muscle!
The more changes you experience, the easier you adapt to them. This is an important element to keep in mind when determining the type of support you need.
Next, you must think about the type of training that would best suit your teams and your budget.
This will also be part of the needs assessment when choosing the digital partner who will ensure that end-users are trained. In fact, there are all types of training courses: small or large groups, online or in person, live or recorded, in microlearning or in sessions lasting several hours.
At Gestisoft, we have seen it all, from full weeks of training to 15-minute meetings every day to support learning and to answer questions.
2 - Assess the Learning Curve of the CRM/ERP Solution You Have Chosen
Is the CRM/ERP software that you have chosen known for its complexity? Does it have a simple and intuitive interface? These are considerations that will shape your end-user training strategy.
Needless to say, the more complex a CRM/ERP system is, the steeper the learning curve for users will be.
By properly assessing the learning curve of your new solution, you will be able to anticipate the effort and time required for user training.
If you don't allow enough time for employee training (😬), and you put them in front of new work methods overnight, they will quickly become overwhelmed... and will then eagerly revert to their old ways!
Bye bye CRM; back to Roger's 48 Excel files!
Microsoft's digital solutions, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, offer a nice advantage here: the Web is full of documentation and tutorials about them. For example, on Microsoft's website, you can take free online training and even get certifications. However, this is a very broad training offer, and it can be overwhelming. In addition, this training may not necessarily meet your specific needs, especially if your application has been customized to do just that. That being the case, don't be afraid to ask your Microsoft partner for guidance.
Preconfigured applications also make for a nice option. We offer several of them at Gestisoft. Since these applications include little customization and are straightforward, they have a reduced learning curve. They integrate more quickly into your processes and often require less extensive end-user training.
No matter how complex your solution is, some people will inevitably learn faster than others. It is important to ensure that employees who have more difficulty adapting to the new work methods receive adequate support.
3 - Identify Your CRM/ERP Champions and Prepare Them Accordingly
Champions are those who will act as ambassadors for the new solution within your company.
You do not necessarily have to choose them based solely on their years of experience, their education, or the position they hold. You'll find your best champions among employees who see the new application as a good fit. Look for people who see it as an opportunity to learn new skills, and not as an insurmountable challenge.
They should also have good communication skills so that they can share their learning experience with others.
Once you have identified your champions, offer them more advanced training in order to further their knowledge.
Give them the opportunity to lead workshops where they can impart what they have learned to their colleagues. Ultimately, your champions will become valuable resources to support their colleagues who have more difficulty adapting to the new application and work methods.
Champions can be found throughout the various departments of your organization: accounting, human resources, customer service, sales, etc.
Providing adequate support to all your teams is essential for driving user adoption across the organization.
If you're having trouble identifying the best people to fulfill this role, feel free to discuss it with your digital partner.
They will certainly be able to help you target the right people to fulfill this crucial role within your teams.
4 - Trust the Expertise of Your CRM/ERP Implementation Partner
Your partner is an expert (usually) in the solution you choose.
You should therefore ask them for advice on how to plan your team training, regardless of where you are in your project.
They will be able to provide you with guidance concerning features that require more time and effort to learn, possible sources of frustration for users, as well as a multitude of other aspects that you may not have thought of.
In short, a well-chosen digital partner is there to inform you of the pitfalls to avoid while guiding you towards the right strategies to adopt.
You can rely on their expertise!
Get informed: Your digital partner may have a service offering specifically designed to provide you with the support and training you need before, during and after CRM/ERP implementation.
This is the case at Gestisoft, with our Customer Success service that gives you access to webinars and training videos as well as technical support (if your solution is already in use but could use a little more love from its users).
5 - Plan for Long-term Training: Train Your New Recruits and Allocate Resources More Effectively with Your New Solution
CRM/ERP end-user training starts at the very beginning of an implementation project and should not end after it has gone live.
If, after implementing your solution, you realize that some features are underutilized, even misused, or just poorly understood by the users, it may be beneficial to provide refresher training to deepen and/or perfect certain knowledge.
Our GestiOnTheGo service, which enables you to schedule an appointment with a consultant on demand, can be very useful to meet ad hoc training needs, or simply for a memory refresher of certain elements that your teams rarely comes across in the system.
Don't forget about your new hires.
Letting them learn on the job may not be the wisest decision if you want them to become effective end-users.
Therefore, it's a good idea to create tutorials and training for them.
As new features are added to your system, remember to update the staff training plan. 😉 There's nothing worse than trying to provide training while using screenshots that are from 2004.
Lastly, it would be a pity if the knowledge accumulated during your system implementation were lost after the departure of key employees.
A good training plan, with a long-term vision, will avoid the loss of knowledge and know-how caused by staff turnover (something that affects all companies).
Moreover, if such an employee were to, unfortunately, leave in the middle of a project, good training would provide seamless employee onboarding to replace him or her.
Worried about training your teams? Try out Gestisoft's preconfigured applications!
A good training plan is a crucial step to ensure successful CRM/ERP implementation.
If end-user training is an issue that concerns you, you could very well benefit from Gestisoft's preconfigured applications, which are ready-made solutions that can be implemented quickly and easily.
These Microsoft Dynamics 365-based applications have been designed to reduce the learning curve.
For example, the forms have been preconfigured and streamlined to make data entry simple and user-friendly, which facilitates staff training and encourages software adoption among all employees.