Let’s talk adoption. When you choose to implement a new CRM, adoption happens on two planes. The first and most obvious is the big-picture level. This is where you’ll redesign processes or procedures to leverage all of the shiny features you get with a new system. In other words, you make sure that this technology is fully integrated from a business standpoint. However, to execute those new processes successfully, you’ll need help from the other level: the individual. Individual adoption is about your users’ personal experience with the system, and includes things like their technical knowledge of the CRM along with how they feel about the ability to successfully do their job every day.

Adoption is comprised of three distinct components: Knowledge, Relevance and Affect. Knowledge is the technical piece; it refers to the sorts of information you’ll find in places like the TargetX User Community, and the Knowledge Base. Relevance is all about how your institution (and individual users) applies that technical knowledge to various processes and in various roles. Think of it this way: Knowledge is knowing what the button does when you press it, and Relevance is knowing when you press the button. Affect, the third piece, is all about the feelings. If users are excited, ready and willing to use the CRM, they have a positive affect. If they are outspoken, resistance and hostile, not so much.

During training, it tends to be those users with a negative affect that cause the most anxiety for trainers. After all, onboarding users who don’t want to be onboarded can be challenging! Therefore, it’s important to create a training environment and materials that are engaging, and directly address how people are motivated to learn. For this, we can take a look at the ARCS Model.

Developed by John Keller, ARCS refers to the four components of motivation in instruction: Attention, Relevance, Confidence and Satisfaction. Let’s break it down and see how you can apply these in your trainings.

  • Attention: Get and hold your learner’s attention using strategies designed to engage their perceptual and inquiry arousal. Use things like humor and personal anecdotes, or ask questions or facilitate brainstorming activities to get brains moving. Also consider using different modes of communicating information to your users. Powerpoint is only so engaging! Print handouts, short videos, or activities that require physical participation are powerful engagement tools. 
  • Relevance: Clearly communicate to users about how to use the CRM. Talk about things like the value of the system. For example, “In the short term, this new process will allow us to spend less time on data entry and more time working with students, and in the big-picture we hope that it supports our goal to increase our retention rate.” You can also ask users to define parallels between the new technology or processes and their current experience with your campus systems- this can help them build a mental map on their own terms. 
  • Confidence: Be up front about the content difficulty and your learning goals in your trainings, or even specific exercises embedded within your trainings. It can help your learners to feel better about their own abilities to know that a task is hard, or that you don’t expect them to complete it successfully the first time (Tip: Check out our post on mindset to learn more about how to approach failure as a positive!). Also if you can, give them some control over the kinds of tasks and activities that they compete during their onboarding process to build some internal motivation, rather than external. 
  • Satisfaction: Learning should feel rewarding! Think about your institution’s culture and how you can reward your users for new skills and knowledge. Also, remember to encourage those users who exhibit that growth mindset mentality, as that builds intrinsic satisfaction. Finally, be direct and give generous feedback when users meet and exceed expectations!

Of course, these ideas are just a start! If you want to delve deeper, you can check out some more reading on adult learning and how we learn differently than children, and how to incorporate those concepts into your training materials with instructional design. And keep your eyes on this space for more on how to onboard your users successfully to your CRM!