The E4 Learning Approach: Effective Training for a Successful CRM Implementation


It is tempting to learn your new Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) all at once. But doing a “blitz” training immediately before going live can hinder a successful adoption. 


Cramming information before going live and expecting positive results is not mindful of how the human mind works. This blitz training is anxiety-inducing. The mind is better suited to learning through frequency of information. In fact, the more you practice and rehearse something new, the easier it is for your brain to transmit and recall those experiences. 


This is why it is more effective to learn your new CRM through stages. At Precision Partners, we use a structured path for learning known as the E4 Learning Approach. This methodology is different from the traditional system of training and educating—which is often done right before the go-live date. 


When the E4 Learning Approach is used, your team can build a body of knowledge and information by the time you get to the go-live date. As a result, people are more confident and comfortable with your new CRM. 


The E4 Learning Approach promotes practical training for successful CRM adoption. Here’s what you can expect with this four-step process. 


The Exposure stage introduces concepts one at a time through a learning series. It also exposes individuals to the CRM platform at a frequency that works for your organization. For example, a monthly newsletter. 


Training during the Exposure stage starts anywhere from 9–12 months—much different than blitz training right before going live. 


Exposing individuals early and often to your CRM is effective because you are introducing concepts within the system in small, digestible increments. Presenting “bite-size” doses of these concepts to users reduces the chance of overwhelm and gives your team adequate time to process one idea before moving on to the next. Additionally, delivering information in a newsletter on a consistent cadence reinforces concepts and empowers learning. 


After Exposure comes to the Exploration stage. This stage enables users’ early access to the system to consume the CRM independently. This early access allows users to experiment and increase their familiarity within the CRM. 


Like the no-pressure playing during early childhood, users can explore the CRM without expectations of getting anything “right”—users are free to test processes and procedures with no risk. This empowers understanding, boosts confidence, and increases comprehension. 


The third stage is Enablement, which happens in the weeks leading up to going live. This is more formal training and ensures users have the knowledge and skills within the CRM to perform their daily tasks. 


Because users have already been exposed to concepts and explored your CRM without pressure, training during the Enablement stage is more effective. Folks come to this formal training with familiarity and comprehension of terminology and navigation. Users are more likely to retain information presented in Enablement, which increases their recall ability. 


Finally, the Expertise stage. This stage is achieved after going live. Through ongoing intermediate and advanced training courses with help from your CRM support team, system users increase their proficiency within the CRM during the Expertise stage.  


We create a continuous plan to build expertise based on their “real-world” experience. This supports ongoing training and education to achieve mastery. 


With this ever-increasing proficiency established through the E4 Learning Approach, all team members gain the knowledge and understanding of your new CRM to advance your mission and support your fundraising initiatives.