Increase the Utilization of Your Software

A discussion that we have early on in a relationship with a new client focused on implementing software is always about their utilization goals. Most clients recognize that utilization should not be either 10 or 100%, but what is a reasonable level of utilization? That depends. But we’ll help you figure it out.

The first factor in measuring utilization is the type of technology that is being implemented. For instance, if you are implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) solution there are many elements or features that may not be utilized in the first phase of an implementation. It is with this in mind that framing the expectations early on in the implementation process is critical to the overall success of the software.

 We have included some key points that should be adopted as you embark on a new software implementation project as it relates to customer-centric technology, they are:

Identify key functionality – This should have been developed through the needs assessment stage of your technology acquisition process, but may now include additional functionality uncovered through the evaluation of the software solution. There is a tendency to allow new ideas to rule the implementation. Resist that temptation, while still planning to incorporate these ideas at the appropriate time. The time may be during the initial implementation, but often it is more prudent to carefully place these new ideas into phase two or three of the overall software implementation plan. 

Effect on customer retention and acquisition – There should be metrics established that help you to gauge the value that you are receiving through the new technology. If done correctly, you established benchmarks already, but now it’s time to track the data as it relates to two key customer metrics – Retention and acquisition. 

Measure user adoption – This is where most of the failure lies in CRM and other highly user focused technology. If you’ve laid the proper groundwork for user acceptance, then user adoption should fall into place. This is typically done by getting the right people involved with the decision process and most certainly, in the implementation.

Reward usage – There is nothing wrong with rewarding your people for embracing change and being brave enough to plod ahead. Change is challenging for many people. It will be critical to the success of your implementation to identify those that lead change, those that follow change, and those that resist change. Managing change within your organization will be an important element of your software implementation. The more the new system is properly used, typically, the more your organization will gain. 

Develop what’s in it for me – This is important for not only the user community, but for management, as well. We think of most CRM systems as systems that help management gain a better understanding of the sales side of their business. Changing that mindset is critical if you want to maximize your investment. Make sure you articulate how the new system will help your sales team “make more money!”

Key reports
Improve customer relations
Speed up sales process

Automate repetitive activities – Let’s not turn great salespeople into below average clerical staff. Wherever possible automate activities, thereby reducing the amount of energy your sales people need to be spending with their hands on the keyboard.

Segment your customers for better 1 to 1 marketing – This is best done before you convert all of your customer data into the new system. Think about your customers and do your best to properly segment them. It is amazing what you can do if you send customers information that is laser-like targeted to them and their unique needs.

Top down and bottom up implementation efforts – If you come at the implementation from two distinct perspectives, you will more likely succeed in meeting the majority of stakeholders’ goals. You certainly need management buy-in and support, but don’t forget everyone else in the process.

At the end of the day, you won’t have 100% utilization of your technology. We know that’s OK. If you think about your implementation as an open project that will continue to evolve, then you will be setting accurate expectations for all concerned. By managing expectations, you will satisfy more people and achieve greater results in your technology initiatives.