Best CRM Training Strategies to Build a Rockstar CRM Team

Best Practices

In general, CRM training refers to the process of educating the end-user individuals on how to effectively use customer relationship management (CRM) software and tools. CRM training can also refer to the training needed to the administrator of a CRM, meaning the person or teams that will own the system within an organization and maintain it. As a reminder, CRM systems are customer relationship management software solutions that are designed to help businesses manage and improve their interactions with customers, streamline sales and marketing processes, and enhance customer satisfaction. They help move prospects through the customer journey. 

Why you should train your CRM team

Training your CRM team is essential for several reasons:

  1. ROI: Your CRM is an investment. You’ll likely pay an initial onboarding fee and then monthly fees by seat in perpetuity. You also likely will spend a great deal of time and resources to find the best CRM for your business. Effectively training your team on your new CRM is the most vital step in ensuring you get a return on investment (or ROI) from this endeavor. In short, don’t skimp on training!
  2. Efficient Use of CRM System: Proper training ensures that your team members understand how to use the CRM software effectively and efficiently. They will be able to navigate the system, input and manage data accurately, and leverage the various features and functionalities to streamline their workflow. This leads to improved productivity and maximizes the value of your CRM investment.
  3. Enhanced Customer Service: CRM training equips your team with the skills and knowledge to provide exceptional customer service. They will learn how to track customer interactions, access relevant information quickly, and respond to customer inquiries or issues promptly. Well-trained CRM users can offer personalized experiences and build stronger relationships with customers, leading to higher satisfaction and loyalty.
  4. Improved Sales and Marketing Performance: CRM systems are powerful tools for managing sales pipelines, tracking leads, and analyzing marketing campaigns. By training your team on CRM best practices, they will be able to leverage these features effectively. They can prioritize leads, manage opportunities efficiently, and generate accurate sales reports and forecasts. This helps drive sales growth, identify areas for improvement, and optimize marketing strategies.
  5. Data Accuracy and Integrity: CRM training emphasizes the importance of maintaining clean and accurate data within the system. Team members will learn data entry best practices, how to update information correctly, and ensure data integrity. This leads to more reliable reporting, better decision-making, and a stronger foundation for customer analysis and insights.
  6. Adaptation to System Updates: CRM software is often updated with new features, enhancements, or bug fixes. By providing regular training, your team stays up to date with the latest system changes and can leverage new functionalities effectively. Training also helps them adapt to any changes in the user interface or workflow, minimizing disruptions and maximizing productivity.
  7. Consistency and Standardization: CRM training ensures that all team members follow consistent processes and workflows when using the CRM system. This standardization improves collaboration and communication among team members, facilitates knowledge sharing, and creates a unified approach to managing customer relationships.
  8. Continuous Improvement: Training is not a one-time event; it should be an ongoing process. Regular CRM training allows your team to stay current with best practices, learn advanced techniques, and discover new ways to leverage the CRM system. It promotes a culture of continuous learning and improvement, enabling your team to extract maximum value from the CRM software.

In summary, training your CRM team is crucial to optimize system usage, provide excellent customer service, improve sales and marketing performance, ensure data accuracy, adapt to system updates, promote consistency, and foster a culture of continuous improvement. It empowers your team members with the knowledge and skills they need to leverage CRM effectively for the benefit of your organization and its customers.

CRM administrator training

Graphic with the word training.

Your CRM administrator is a person who owns the responsibility of running the CRM within your organization. If you are using a modern CRM, this can be a fractional role of one person; legacy CRMs like Salesforce typically require 2-3 dedicated admins due to the complexity of the software. 

CRM administrator training focuses on providing individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively manage and administer a customer relationship management system within an organization. CRM administrators play a crucial role in overseeing the configuration, customization, and maintenance of the CRM software to meet the specific needs of the business.

Your CRM administrator will likely be trained by your vendor and the program put forth by the vendor can be relied upon to be comprehensive. Here are the typical areas that will be covered:

CRM administrator training typically covers the following areas:

  1. CRM System Overview: Training provides a comprehensive understanding of the CRM system, its architecture, and its key components. Administrators learn about the underlying database structure, user management, security features, and system configuration options.
  2. System Configuration: Administrators learn how to configure and customize the CRM system based on the organization’s requirements and its sales prospects, customer expectations, and customer engagement capabilities. This includes setting up user roles and permissions, defining custom fields and entities, creating workflows and automation rules, and configuring system settings.
  3. Data Management: Training covers various aspects of data management, including data import and export processes, data cleansing techniques, and data migration strategies. Administrators learn how to ensure data integrity, manage duplicate records, and perform bulk data updates.
  4. Customization and Extensions: Administrators gain skills in customizing the CRM system to align with the organization’s unique processes and workflows. This includes modifying existing forms and views, creating custom entities, designing dashboards and reports, and integrating third-party applications or plugins to extend the CRM functionality.
  5. User Training and Support: CRM administrators often act as trainers and provide support to end-users. Training includes developing user documentation and training materials, conducting training sessions, and addressing user inquiries or issues. Administrators learn how to effectively communicate system changes, best practices, and tips to maximize user adoption and satisfaction.
  6. System Maintenance and Upgrades: Administrators are responsible for system maintenance tasks, such as applying software updates, managing system performance, and monitoring system health. Training covers techniques for backup and restore, troubleshooting common issues, and ensuring system availability and reliability.
  7. Security and Access Management: Administrators learn how to implement security measures within the CRM system to protect sensitive customer data and ensure compliance with privacy regulations. This includes managing user access, defining security roles, configuring data sharing rules, and auditing system activities.
  8. Reporting and Analytics: Training includes advanced topics related to reporting and analytics within the CRM system. Administrators learn how to create complex reports and visualizations, set up data analysis tools, and leverage CRM analytics to gain insights into customer behavior and business performance.
  9. Integration and Collaboration: CRM administrators learn how to integrate the CRM system with other business applications, such as email clients, marketing automation tools, or ERP systems. Training covers integration techniques, data synchronization, and collaboration features to facilitate seamless information flow across different systems.

The content and duration of the training can vary based on the complexity of the CRM system and the specific requirements of the organization.

CRM administrator certification

Administering a CRM is a marketable skill that is in demand across all areas of the business world. A CRM administrator can take CRM certification courses online to earn certifications to prove they have the skills needed to operate a CRM for a business. Some CRM vendors offer certifications for administrators (e.g. Dynamics 365). There are also courses from online learning providers, for instance you can find customer relationship management courses from Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, Pluralsight, Udemy, and others. Higher education institutions also offer courses as part of a degree program. 

Some CRM online course providers offer a professional certificate in customer relationship management. By earning a certification, a CRM administrator can advertise these skills and certifications on their online business profiles and on their resumes, making them excellent candidates for job opportunities.  

How do you choose with CRM certification to get? The best CRM certification and the best CRM for online courses is the one that works best for your skills and (if applicable) your organization.  You should also consider the CRM certification cost (ranges from free to thousands of dollars) and the type of CRM certification exam you will need to take in order to earn the certification. As a CRM administrator, your salary will be impacted by your CRM certification, so keep that in mind when choosing your program. However know that once you are certified in one type of CRM, those skills are often transferable to other CRMs.

How to build a CRM training plan in 5 steps

Number 5 stylized.

1. Determine what team members need CRM training

CRM training can benefit various team members within an organization who interact with customers, manage sales processes, or utilize the CRM system to support their daily activities. The specific team members who may require CRM training include:

  • Sales Representatives: Sales team members are professionals in sales who engage with prospects and customers can benefit from CRM training. These sales professionls learn how to effectively use the CRM system to manage leads, track opportunities, update customer information, and analyze sales performance. CRM training helps sales representatives improve their productivity, prioritize their activities, and make data-driven decisions.
  • Customer Service Representatives: Customer service teams can enhance their customer support capabilities through CRM training. They learn how to access customer data, manage support tickets, track customer interactions, and provide personalized service. CRM training equips customer service representatives with the skills to respond to inquiries efficiently, resolve issues effectively, and deliver a superior customer experience.
  • Marketing Professionals: Marketers can leverage CRM training to optimize their marketing efforts. They learn how to utilize CRM features for lead generation, campaign management, segmentation, and tracking digital marketing activities. CRM training enables marketing professionals to measure campaign effectiveness, analyze customer behavior, and tailor marketing strategies to specific customer segments so they can make better marketing decisions.
  • Sales Managers: Sales managers responsible for overseeing sales teams can benefit from CRM training to gain insights into team performance and monitor sales pipelines. They learn how to use CRM reporting and analytics features to assess individual and team performance, identify sales trends, and make informed decisions based on data. CRM training empowers sales managers to provide guidance, set targets, and coach their teams effectively.
  • Executives, Business Owners and Decision-makers: Executives and decision-makers benefit from CRM training to understand the capabilities and potential of the CRM system. They learn how CRM data can provide valuable insights into growth strategy, customer behavior, sales performance, and marketing effectiveness. CRM training enables executives to make data-driven decisions, assess the return on investment (ROI) of CRM initiatives, and align business strategies with customer-centric objectives.

It’s important to assess the specific needs and roles within your organization to determine the team members who require CRM training. Each team member’s training can be tailored to their specific responsibilities and objectives, ensuring they have the necessary skills to effectively utilize the CRM system and contribute to the organization’s overall success.

2. Set CRM standards and processes

CRM standards define guidelines for data entry, ensuring consistent and accurate information across customer records. They may include rules for naming conventions, data formats, data validation, and mandatory fields. CRM standards also outline procedures for business processes, data updates, data cleansing, and data governance to maintain data integrity.

CRM standards establish standardized processes and workflows for sales and marketing activities. They define stages in the sales pipeline, sales methodologies, lead management practices, opportunity tracking, and campaign management guidelines. These standards promote consistency, collaboration, and effective coordination among sales and marketing teams.

You’ll need to have your standards and processes in place and documented before you initiate your training program. 

3. Create the CRM training plan

Once your system is in place and your administrators have been trained, it’s time to train your end users. The best CRM training for end users will focus on the benefits of a CRM. You make look at certification programs that are offered by your CRM of choice. CRM training courses typically include the following elements:

  • Introduction to CRM: An overview of what CRM is, its benefits, and how it can support the organization’s sales, marketing, and customer service efforts.
  • CRM Features and Functionality: Training participants learn about the various features and functionalities of the CRM software, such as contact management, lead tracking, opportunity management, reporting, and analytics.
  • Navigation and User Interface: Training focuses on how to navigate the CRM system, including understanding the user interface, menu options, and different modules or sections.
  • Data Entry and Management: Participants learn how to input and manage customer data within the CRM system, including creating new records, updating information, and maintaining data accuracy.
  • Depending on team:
    • Sales and Marketing Processes: Training covers how to utilize the CRM system to manage sales pipelines, track leads and opportunities, generate reports, and measure sales performance. It may also include modules on marketing automation, campaign management, and lead nurturing.
    • Customer Service and Support: Training sessions may include instructions on how to use the CRM system to manage customer inquiries, track support tickets, and provide timely and effective customer service.
  • Reporting and Analytics: Participants learn how to generate reports and utilize CRM analytics to gain insights into customer behavior, sales trends, and marketing campaign effectiveness.
  • Integration and Collaboration: Training may cover how to integrate the CRM system with other software applications, such as email clients, calendars, and project management tools. It may also include collaboration features like sharing customer information with team members and coordinating tasks.

4. Train your CRM team

It’s time to execute on your plan! Hooray! 

If you’ve planned correctly, the CRM training day(s) should be an exciting and smooth process for your organization. Your team members are getting hands-on experience with a new tool that will meet their needs and provide a better user experience. Plus, they are going to be taught practical applications and how to use it in a timely manner so that they are ready to go on day one. This time investment is a key to long-term success.

Whatever format you pick (online, in-person, hybrid) and however you choose to supply materials (paper, PDF, wiki, video, etc.) your team should leave the training prepared to dive into the CRM on switchover day. 

Be sure to have a back-up plan for people who miss training due to leave or illness. This could be as simple as recording the training or hosting a second session (or series of sessions) to account for outages. This recording may also have value for those who attended and want to go back to a section or sections that they need clarified. 

5. Assess the CRM training results

Assessing the results of a CRM training program involves evaluating the effectiveness and impact of the training on participants and the organization as a whole. Here are some common methods to assess training program results.You can choose the method(s) that are within the budget and capabilities of your CRM implementation team:

  1. Participant Feedback: Gather feedback from participants through post-training evaluations or surveys. Ask participants to rate the training content, delivery, and relevance. Include open-ended questions to gather qualitative feedback on the strengths, weaknesses, and suggestions for improvement.
  2. Knowledge Assessment: Conduct pre-training and post-training assessments to measure the knowledge gain of participants. Compare the scores to determine the level of improvement achieved through the training program. This assessment could be in the form of quizzes, tests, or assignments.
  3. Skill Demonstration: Provide opportunities for participants to apply the knowledge and skills gained from the training in real or simulated scenarios. Assess their ability to perform tasks, utilize the CRM system effectively, or demonstrate desired behaviors. This could be done through role-plays, case studies, or practical exercises.
  4. Performance Metrics: Analyze performance metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) before and after the training program. Assess if there are improvements in areas such as sales revenue, customer satisfaction, lead conversion rates, or productivity. Compare the performance data to identify any positive changes that can be attributed to the training.
  5. Observations and Feedback from Managers: Seek feedback from managers or supervisors who work closely with the trained individuals. Assess if there are observable changes in behavior, use of CRM tools, or overall job performance. Managers can provide insights on whether the training has positively impacted their team members’ abilities to meet goals and perform effectively.
  6. Follow-up Surveys or Interviews: Conduct follow-up surveys or interviews with participants after a certain period, such as a few weeks or months post-training. Assess the retention of knowledge, skills, and changes in behavior over time. This helps determine the long-term impact of the training on job performance and the application of learning in the workplace.
  7. Organizational Impact: Evaluate the overall impact of the training program on the organization. Assess if there are improvements in customer satisfaction, sales revenue, customer retention, or other relevant business metrics. Analyze if the training program has contributed to achieving organizational goals or addressing specific challenges.
  8. Return on Investment (ROI): Assess the financial impact of the training program by comparing the costs incurred in designing and delivering the training with the benefits or improvements achieved. Calculate the ROI by considering factors such as increased sales, cost savings, or productivity gains resulting from the training.

It is important to use a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to assess training program results. By gathering feedback from participants, evaluating knowledge gain and skill application, and analyzing performance metrics and organizational impact, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of the training program’s effectiveness and make informed decisions for future improvements.

How can CRM training be delivered?

CRM training can be delivered through various methods, including instructor-led sessions, online courses, webinars, or self-paced tutorials. The training content and duration may vary depending on the complexity of the CRM system and the specific needs of the organization and its users.

Train your team on Insightly CRM

Training on Insightly CRM is easy since Insightly is the modern CRM teams love. Born in the cloud and built with mobility, flexibility, customization, and integration in mind, it’s easy to see why training takes less time and produces expert users quickly. 

Once your team falls in love with Insightly CRM, add on Insightly Marketing, a full-featured marketing automation platform, and Insightly Service, a customer support ticketing tool to connect your go-to-market teams and provide increased communcation and collaboration. Then select AppConnect, a drag and drop integration tool for low-code/no-code integrations with the other applications that you use within your organization, including HR tools (ADP, Bamboo HR), accounting apps (Xero, QuickBooks, Docusign), communication tools (Slack) and more. 

Get started with a free trial of Insightly CRM today, watch a demo on demand, or request a personalized demo to see how Insightly can help your organization sell smarter, grow faster, and build lasting customer relationships.