You’ll generally observe one common aspect of CRM promotion: CRM functionality and features are being constantly stacked up against each other.

Every vendor will assert that theirs is superior.

In spite of these ongoing and seemingly endless claims, rates of CRM adoption remain quite low. Fewer than 40 percent of CRM customers, according to CSO Insights, have end-userUser User means a person who uses or consumes a product or a service, usually a digital device or an online service. adoption rates of more than 90 percent. Some other very interesting statistics include those from Forrester Research, that 49 percent of all CRM projects fail and that 22 percent of all reported problems to successful CRM implementation are people-related or linked to user adoption. Per Really Simple Systems, 83 percent of senior executives say their biggest challenge is getting their staff to use the software.

A personal observation throughout the years is that the adoption curve is practically the same everywhere. One percentage is willing to give CRM systems a try, another percentage is less willing, and yet another is totally reluctant—despite the need and urgency of the digital transformation now even more demanding through AI.

Culture and Strategy

It is clear from the above statistics that CRM adoption issues are, in the main, people-related. These problems stem mainly from a lack of clear leadership priority. To obtain real CRM adoption, a change in company culture is needed.

Many companies may formulate a solid CRM implementation strategy—yet the strategy is often opposed by company culture in which employees are reluctant to use the system. This phenomenon is summed up beautifully in this quote from famed Austrian-American management consultant Peter Drucker: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” which underlines again the missing link from leadership.

Other Field Analogies

What’s behind lack of user CRM adoption? If we examine a couple of other fields outside of CRM and sales, the answer starts to become quite clear.

Let’s start with a musician. Any experienced musician you talk to will be extremely choosy about their instrument. A guitar player, for example, will not play a guitar they don’t like. Legendary ZZ Top guitarist Billy F. Gibbons, for nearly all of ZZ Top’s recordings, used one single 1959 Gibson Les Paul that he claimed sounded like no other guitar on Earth. In fact, he nicknamed the guitar “Pearly Gates.”

That is a demonstration of true adoption. It leads a player to focus on the instrument and become more proficient. For any musician wanting to move from amateur to professional, that’s the way.

We can turn to the building trades for another example. Any professional carpenter, electrician, or contractor will be very keen on the kinds of tools they use. If you ask a carpenter about a screwdriver, hammer, or saw, you will hear about which are the best for them and why. You’ll only see such a professional with their own tools, which they jealously guard.

Users of a System

This is also true of technology users. For example, some like iPhones and others prefer computers. Today, no one will use a computer that doesn’t like it.

It was once true, years back, that there were stiff restrictions within companies about technology employees could use. For example, it was a no-no to use an Apple computer. Such a device was only for the graphics department—and even then, a friend of mine told the story of a graphics department in a DEC-only company that got in major trouble for bringing in his personal Mac for graphics.

Such times are far behind us. Companies began to realize that when people don’t like a particular technology, they won’t adopt it. If they don’t adopt it, they won’t be effective, efficient and therefore not productive. Company policies have been greatly relaxed over the years so employees may use whatever works best for them. This is also true of applications run on devices.

The same holds true for CRM applications. Why is the overall adoption rate so low? Because the majority of users don’t like them. At the same time, companies still need real effective and efficient processes across the organizationOrganization Organization is a cohesive group of people working together and formally bound by a shared identity (e.g., one team, company, club, etc.) and a common purpose (e.g., business growth, athletic victory, etc.)., which would help them individually to overcome barriers and time-critical factors. Only when they feel good about a system and experience real benefits do they use it and become proficient with it.

Technology Fans

When a type of technology is embraced because it supports and helps users, they tend to become fans. Back in the 1980s, when I first embraced Apple technology, I was very proud. I created my first newsletter with the Apple Computer, and also different papers for the University, which gave me a real competitive advantage. Therefore I even had the Apple logo on the bumper of my car. Why? It was a statement. My attitude followed Steve Jobs’ famous 1984 commercial introducing the Macintosh, in which a hammer was hurled at the “gray” technology in widespread use. The technology helped the individual as opposed to only the company, which made for a real improvement in my studies and work for others.

The Need to “Convince”

When salespeople or companies go out of their way to “convince” potential buyers that they should purchase a system, the battle is already lost. It’s over. If someone likes a piece of technology—or a musical instrument or a tool—they will take to it and use it. No “convincing” is needed.

The Satisfaction from Change

At the beginning of this article we talked about culture change. Where does that come in? Now, what of the culture change we talked about at the beginning of this article? Well, if users take to a system because they like it, they become effective and efficient with it.

At the conclusion of long and hard work, those who have accomplished it then feel satisfied. Only when people become satisfied do they change, and that’s when the necessary culture change comes about.

The Difference Made by Pipeliner

This factor is understood today by few CRM vendors. They don’t pay enough attention to what real problems they solve with the qualities of their app.

Pipeliner is the only major CRM solutionSolution Solution is a combination of ideas, strategies, processes, technologies and services that effectively helps an organization achieve its goals or hurdle its challenges. specifically developed with the goal of solving the sales challenge and broad adoption. User love and adoption has always been our objective—and this has brought about user satisfaction. The system provides the support users really need to truly perform on the job.

In our view, people should not be controlled or dictated to by technology—CRM’s traditional approach. We believe that people, in the best scenarios, live in symbiosis with technology. We don’t assert that technology replaces people but that it assists and supports them. Therefore we have continually striven to understand how our end users think and work, and what could make their day and repetitive tasks easier and more efficient. We provide a tool that dovetails with those ways.

For us, it becomes more than a one-time approach of providing users the support they actually need and want. We are constantly optimizing and fine-tuning Pipeliner CRM to consistently improve. We are, in fact, the only vendor in the world that provides a new release almost monthly.

What is the reason for this approach? Because we want to produce the best CRM engine in the world, period. And we believe we have. So do our customers!

Just how much do Pipeliner CRM users love the system, and how well-adopted has it become within enterprises? Have a look at what our users say.