CRM Training for Employees

By Neil Zawacki
Updated: April 01, 2011

Companies that adopt a CRM system will need to properly train their employees on how to use the system. The company workers will need to know how to create leads and manage accounts, as well as make detailed reports with the software, or they won’t be able to perform their basic duties.

You will probably want to designate around six to ten percent of the sales force automation budget for training purposes. This may seem like more than necessary, but studies have shown that companies that put sufficient funds towards training employees on the CRM system fare better in the long run than those that do not.

The training itself is normally performed by an outside company. They can teach your employees how to search through records, assign activities, deal with data workflows, and create marketing campaigns. They can also provide guidance on how to convert leads and create and manage service calls. These classes are typically offered online, though you can also someone visit your company.

This training shouldn’t necessarily occur all at once. It can take a substantial amount of time to switch from an old system to a new system, and sales and data can be lost in the interim. You may thus want to perform the CRM training in multiple phases. That way, the company will face less disruption of day-to-day activities while employees attend classes and the departments can be switched over one at a time.

Introductory user training usually takes a full day, with one workstation for every two students. Admin user training takes the same amount of time, but requires a workstation for each administrator. This is so they can get enough practical experience dealing with the templates and different relationship roles. If your company has gone with a customized CRM system, training time is typically extended to one and a half days.

It should be noted that this training does not have to be performed by the vendor that sells you the CRM system. There are numerous small businesses that specialize in CRM training and offer full certification programs for employees. Many of them can also provide special package deals for your company or lower prices than you might otherwise find.

If you like, you can use an in-house IT person to perform the CRM training. They will need to read up on the documentation first and know how to properly manage a CRM system. The main issue with this is they might not be completely familiar with the software and some of its advanced features. This method tends to be much cheaper than hiring an outside company, though, since the employee is already on the payroll.

The most important thing is that everyone receives proper training. If an employee doesn’t know how to build a contact list or manage their records, they can lose a potential customer. Training can help to ensure that employees know how to operate the system and the many special features that it offers.

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