This blog is part 3 in a series covering the essentials you need to successfully integrate a CRM.

In the previous piece in this series, we spoke about how implementors need to remember that a CRM implementation is fundamentally for the benefit of the users. As the lead of an implementation project, you should be focused on ensuring that the users are happy with the CRM and that they feel secure in what the system can do, as well as what is required of them in the process.

The ultimate aim of a successful CRM implementation is to have full user adoption and every person comfortable, secure and skilled in using the platform. Now, whilst this is ideal, implementors need to be aware that in attempts to ensure everyone is secure and knowledgable, sometimes we can actually prevent full adoption by stifling self learning. Returning to the child analogy, we want to give our kids the best in life, but doing everything for them early on means they won't be able to do it themselves later. Empowering the users on the how and why of a CRM is key to their learning and adoption, and in many cases I've seen, allows the implementer to learn some new things too.

Empowering problem-solving with the 40-70 rule

Once you have the CRM up to the stage of first adoption and you have trained the staff on some of the basic processes you, need to back off a little. Let the user begin to problem-solve using the system in their own way and come up with new processes.

For example, in a recent implementation we had a well-aligned process in place using HubSpot's sales tools, but what we found was that the sales teams were overwhelmed with the solutions. We stepped back and implemented some more basic solutions and provided training on the different aspects of the tool, namely snippets that would provide automation and time savings whilst still giving them control. What happened next was that within a week, and with a few questions bouncing back, they had fully implemented a new process using snippets, but integrating them with the HubSpot File Manager to create a host of processes that were not what we had planned initially. But this achieved the same goal and had improved their experience and adoption of not only the Sales Hub, but multiple parts of the platform.

This was a prime example of using the 40-70 approach to guided learning, as described by Colin Powell. The 40-70 approach can be used effectively to improve decision-making and learning within organisations by re-enforcing that you can't have all the information, and waiting until you have "all" the information means losing opportunities. Regardless of how good a process is, mistakes will happen and that is OK.

Many of us fear making tough decisions and when the moment comes to make a big one, we look for information to help make the decision, but we are not too sure how much information is adequate to make a good one. On this particular subject of making tough decisions, Powell prescribes the amount of information that one needs to reach a conclusion as between 40% and 70% of the total information available.

With less than 40% of information, we are bound to make a wrong decision. At the same time, if we keep looking for information beyond 70%, then by the time we decide on the conclusion, it will be so late that others will have taken that decision and moved on, or we have become too overwhelmed to make any decision at all. 


According to Dr. Steven Anderson, a leadership author and analyst, we as human beings can tap into intuition to fill in the rest of the 30% gap between the 70% information that we get and the full information required to make a decision. Our intuition and problem-solving, or guts, come in handy to help make good decisions in spite of having less than complete information.

If you aspire to drive adoption in the wider organisation, you need to empower the users to lead the process. In the example above, we gave the users too much information and stifled their learning and leadership. This principal may not be easy to embrace as you are leading the implementation process and, as such, you are not meant to be unaware or have incomplete information processes. This is a negative approach that won't improve your project because, at some point, a good implementation is about the team and not your structures.

A great implementation is about aligning the systems and enabling the users to make their lives easier, more efficient and ensure that they have enough information available to make more correct decisions than wrong ones. A failed system is one that is so rigid that it allows for no wrong decisions, and will make so few moves or discoveries that it is essentially inert.

The reality is that a company didn’t know every detail of how a new system would fit into the larger organisation — or they didn’t plan for the relationship this new system and its users would have with the rest of the organisation. This is normal and things change. It’s your job to help them sort this out and enable and align them. A successful implementation will be built on your ability to be flexible with the users and ensure you empower them and align the technology to fit into their company like a puzzle piece.

In conclusion, a CRM implementation is about more than just great tech. It’s about the people and the destination too.

Implementing a CRM is difficult but highly rewarding, as there are very few activities that will have a bigger organisational impact.

It's your responsibility to create a system that empowers the users of the platform and gives them consistent direction and information whilst empowering them to problem-solve. You need to remember that, at it's core, it's about the people involved from the users up to the CEO and its your job to help them understand exactly who and what a new CRM will directly and indirectly impact across the company.

A CRM exists to enable a company to compete and grow, bringing the talents of their best and brightest to the fore of the company by empowering them to do more.


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