Digital Adoption: If You Don’t Have a Strategy You're Missing Out

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Let’s face it, the majority of us struggle with digital adoption across the board. According to CSO Insights, less than 40% of CRM users have adoption rates above 90%.

It’s one thing to purchase a tool and train your team on that tool, it’s an entirely different story getting them to properly use it. This challenge is felt across the tech stack and only grows with the more tools and processes we add.

So, if you’re in the low adoption boat, welcome to the club.  

Now, what can you do about it? How can you drive digital adoption in your organization and get the most ROI on your tech investments to drive organizational change?

It starts with an understanding of what it actually means and how the rise of digital adoption has led to more changes, tools, and training than ever before.

So, what is digital adoption?

Let’s break it down. Simply put, digital adoption refers to getting the most out of your tools, applications, and organizational changes.

It also means getting the most out of the considerable time, money, and training you have invested in each one.

Stop for a minute and think about how many tools you use on a day to day basis in your position.

Email, Slack, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Salesforce, Outreach, etc. The list stacks up pretty quickly. And according to, the US spends around $15 billion just on sales acceleration tools alone.

Even if you look at just one tool like Salesforce, it stacks up. Let’s assume that the average Salesforce user has specific customizations,  dozens of different processes, and no less than 300 fields they need to understand. That’s a lot of information! AND, according to a survey done by Spekit there are five changes or updates being implemented every week in the average Salesforce org!

In comparison, 20 years ago an employee might have had one tool they needed to be trained on with updates happening every couple of years.

For example, take a look at Siebel Systems (a CRM company) in the 1990s. They released their “Seibel Sales Information” platform in 1994 but version 2.0 did not come out until 1995. That meant once an employee was trained on the initial system, they were good to go for at least a year. That’s a big difference from where the modern worker is at today! It also highlights why developing a digital adoption strategy is necessary but highly complex.

You’re spending more money on tools and changes are occurring faster than ever before, so ensuring your team is both using technology and using it correctly is essential.

How is this affecting my organization?

So, how is poor digital adoption likely affecting your organization? If you’re like most organizations, the impact comes in the form of:

  • Decreased productivity
  • Wasted time
  • Communication gaps
  • Dirty data and the list goes on.

Think about just one following scenario:

Your Salesforce Admin makes changes to the lead object that now requires additional information be entered in order to create a new lead. They send out an email to the sales team about the process change with screenshots of the new fields. The sales team skims over the email and makes a mental note of the change.

Sound familiar? In a survey done by Spekit, 42% of SF admins reported that they send change notices by email.

A few days later one of the sales reps goes to create a new lead.

When they click save they get an error message. They feel confused, they did what they always do, so why is there a problem?

After a minute they remember the email from the Salesforce admin that said something about changes. When they go to look for the email, however, they can’t find it. Now they need to connect with a coworker, the admin, or their manager to get the answer they need.

See how the time adds up? Now a simple action in their workflow is slowing them down.

Having a better understanding of what digital adoption is will lead you to understand how scenarios like the one above could be negatively impacting your business.

Why you NEED a digital adoption strategy

The takeaway? Not having a digital adoption strategy is no longer an option. Only 40% of customer relationship management (CRM) software users have adoption rates of 90% or higher. Attempting to forge a path without a strategy will almost certainly lead to bad data, poorly used tools, a lack of communication, and ultimately loss of revenue.

The good news is having an understanding of what digital adoption is and why it is important is a huge first step in creating a digital strategy. You can’t solve a problem if you refuse to admit it exists, right?

About the author

Melanie Fellay
CEO & Co-founder
Mel is a Forbes 30 under 30 recipient, a Top 100 Female Entrepreneur to Watch, and has been featured across Forbes, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and more.
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