The Challenges of Measuring User Adoption for CRM


So – you recently completed your production deployment of Microsoft CRM and you’re feeling pretty good.  One day, the Sales Manager for your organization stops by and wants to know, “How many sales reps are actually using the system?”.


How you answer the question can be somewhat of a Rorschach test for CRM administrators. J


Sometimes, it’s just a licensing question – that’s easy to answer.  In most situations though, the Sales Manager isn’t really interested in a number - she really wants to know if she’s getting sufficient return on her investment.  The best way to avoid being put on the spot is to plan in advance for how you will measure the success of your Microsoft CRM deployment.   


For example, if you’re intending to primarily use MSCRM for sales support, success may be defined by time saved in putting together call plans and quotes.  You may also want to analyze new lead volume, aging, and conversion rate.  MSCRM support for native SQL access and integration with SQL Reporting Services makes it fairly straightforward to develop these kinds of metrics. 


In some situations, you may want to cross reference the data velocity with the volume of user interaction.  In those situations, there are a few types of user interaction metrics available, such as reporting on ‘modified on / modified by’ attributes for each record type, or leveraging the offline sync logs to gauge frequency and duration of CRM record synchronization.  You may also want to cross reference users with their MSCRM Business Unit to see if any particular group is leveraging the system more than another. 


One word of caution - when dealing with user interaction reports, wanting to report on ‘reads’ or the number of authenticated user sessions is understandable, but getting accurate data can be tricky and not indicative of user behavior.  Make sure you understand thoroughly how you are collecting this type data before you go down that path.  


Focusing solely on numerical user interaction metrics can also cause CRM administrators to avoid asking the big questions – do the users in my organization like using our CRM deployment and does it make them feel more productive?  One approach I’ve seen used in a couple of places is doing regular surveys around user satisfaction and gauging response over time.   I’ve also seen teams organize focus groups to capture more substantive feedback. 


Regardless of the method you choose, combining these types of ‘reality checks’ with hard data like overall transaction volume or lead conversion rate improvement can provide a solid indication about whether your CRM deployment is helping your organization be more productive and if it will be more or less popular in six months…


Andrew Bybee

Comments (1)

  1. Stephen says:

    My organization took an analytical route, measuring lead conversions and "attempts," based on the ModifiedOn field.

    However we were surprised to find that Administrative tasks also update this field: record assignments and changing the owner’s business unit, for example. We had to create several audit tables, and we still can’t 100% guarantee the numbers.

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