5 tips to train yourself to use a CRM

A CRM is only useful if you're, well, using it! Here's how to get yourself into the habit of doing it.
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A common refrain at Less Annoying CRM is "the best CRM is the one you actually use". After all, your CRM only has value if you put your data into it.

Many small businesses come to us from other CRMs or their own spreadsheets of data, and regardless of where they first started, transitioning to LACRM (or any other software) requires change. Change to something unfamiliar is especially difficult because it requires learning a new skillset as well. So here are 5 actionable tips, backed by insights from behavioral psychology, to help make this transition stick!

1. Break the change down into chunks.

Instead of overwhelming yourself with trying to learn everything at once, break down CRM use into small, manageable tasks. Start by focusing on one feature of the system at a time.

For example, instead of importing all your historical data into the CRM and immediately forcing yourself learn how to use the CRM while you do your follow-up calls (combining two stressful situations into one!), what you can do is add only new leads into the CRM when you call or speak with them.

This way, you're adding single contacts at a time, and setting follow-ups and pipeline tracking for just that contact. You're still getting hands-on experience learning how to use the CRM but can focus solely on doing it right for a smaller number o contacts that you're actively working with.

Once this starts to feel a little more natural, import the rest of your data and start working on those older leads with ease. By chunking the process down, you'll make it much easier to incorporate CRM use into your daily workflow.

2. Make your CRM impossible to forget about.

Instead of relying on willpower alone, use reminders and routines to make CRM use a habit. Make the CRM as accessible as possible by creating a shortcut to the CRM on your desktop, or making it the homepage of your browser (here's how to do that in Chrome). Give yourself as many "entrances" to the CRM each day so that logging in to your CRM doesn't feel like something you have to go out of your way to do.

For example, when you log in to the CRM for the first time, set a task for every single day of the next week. These tasks can be things like "sync Google calendar with LACRM" or "add leads from emails to LACRM" or they can be even simpler like "log in to LACRM". Having a task set each day means you'll receive a daily agenda email every morning that takes you straight into LACRM to serve as automatic reminders.

Consistency is key to forming habits, so make it as easy as possible to remember and integrate CRM use into your schedule.

3. Reward yourself.

Instead of waiting for major milestones to celebrate, reward yourself for consistent CRM use along the way.

For example, treat yourself to a snack you love (mine are Reese's Peanut Butter Cups!) after completing all the tasks on your Workspace, or take a break to relax after updating 10 contacts.

By finding ways to positively reinforce your CRM habits with small rewards, you can help reinforce the behavior and make it more enjoyable, motivating you to stick with it in the long run.

4. Track your progress.

Instead of feeling like you're stuck in a rut, track your progress with CRM use to see how far you've come. Keep a log of tasks completed, leads contacted, or deals closed to visualize your achievements.

For example, use LACRM's activity report to regularly review what you've done in the past day or week. How many new contacts were added? How many new call notes were entered?

We love seeing progress and movement, and seeing tangible results can boost your confidence and motivation, making it easier to stay committed to CRM use as a habit.

5. Remove roadblocks.

Instead of sticking to a rigid routine, take time to reflect on your CRM habits and make adjustments as needed. Assess what's working well and what's stopping you from using your CRM more effectively, then tweak your approach accordingly.

For example, maybe you realize that after every call, if you don't give yourself enough time to enter a note on a contact, you'll forget to do so and miss entering that data. What you can do to remove this roadblock is schedule a 5 minute event on your calendar for note-taking after every call. Being aware of your roadblocks and being flexible to adapt ensures your CRM habits continue to serve you effectively.

Making CRM use a habit is entirely achievable with the right approach. By breaking it down into manageable tasks, making sure your CRM is as accessible as possible, rewarding yourself for progress, tracking your achievements, and removing your roadblocks, you'll seamlessly integrate CRM use into your daily routine. Before you know it, it'll become second nature, helping you stay organized and productive in managing your relationships and tasks!

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