People Use What Works – Well

Top 3 design considerations in CRM for “trickle up” benefits

When it comes to design, people tend to use what works well. The key word there being “well”.   An easy to use CRM (and xRM) system not only increases user adoption and productivity but also has a “trickle up” effect for the entire organization.

What is the trickle up effect in CRM? 

In my view, since a well-designed CRM/xRM provides numerous user benefits, the organization realizes “trickle up” benefits.  Here are 3 to consider:

  • Lots of good quality data that drives compelling analytics on an organization’s key performance indicators thus providing insight on past and recent performance.
  • Comparative and historical data that provide predictive indicators to maximize growth opportunities and thus provide insight to future performance.
  • Greater satisfaction.  Happy users are more productive and happy customers provide repeat business and referrals.

My Top 3 Design Considerations

When deploying or upgrading your CRM, take into account these top 3 design considerations.

1.  Business Process Driven – These days you can turn on most CRM systems and start using them right away.  So why bother with gathering your unique business processes?  I mean, can’t you just change your process to match the way the CRM works out of the box?  Yes and no.  Yes, an organization can and should utilize the rich features that come with the CRM system out of the box. No, not all organizations have the exact same processes.  Take the time to gather your unique business and data processes as well as reporting needs and then have your team (or more likely a consultant) document how CRM and xRM (eXtended CRM) will support each process.

bing homepage2.  Think Clean – Most search providers these days like Bing and Google are a simple web page with only a text box and a submit button – an example of clean purpose driven design.  It might help to keep this type thinking in mind. If the system looks cluttered or busy, it is usually more difficult to use and there is a higher risk of user error.  Try to include only the items that support an efficient business process.  Remove all the extra fields, items, charts, parts, buttons, grids, toolbars, menus, and clutter that do not support the business process.  If your CRM supports JScript, JavaScript or multiple role-based forms (like Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011), then strategically hide fields based on user role or based on other data elements in the form.

3.  Sweat the Small Stuff – Attention to detail is key.  To maximize user adoption and productivity, make sure you drill into and properly address all the details – before and after user testing.  It is these design details that often make the difference.  Things like placing a short cut to a key report or process conveniently on the user taskbar or increasing the default font size on the mobile interface.  Even with xRM (see video on how to customize CRM), creating proper icons for new entities make a difference and sends a strong message to users that they are using a well thought out and complete system.  The design details and experiences across device make the difference.

Design will influence how users will interact with CRM.  Just remember that people tend to use what works well.


Does your CRM provide “trickle up” benefits?  Is it hard to use? Do users even use it? If you need help with making your CRM shine, please feel free to contact me.

About WillSlade

Sharing my ideas and opinions related to technology - in particular Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
This entry was posted in CRM, xRM and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to People Use What Works – Well

  1. John Gravely says:

    Great post Will! Design matters, simplicity matters and compelling data matters. At ClickDimensions we give all our developers a copy of the Steve Jobs book to help stress the importance of good and simple design.

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