Comparing Remote vs. In-Person for Your CRM Implementation User Training Delivery

 

The last two years have brought up unique considerations regarding work environments—especially the ability to work in various locations. The significant shift toward remote or hybrid options has created a unique set of challenges to consider as you plan for your Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) implementation project user training delivery.

 

As you begin to prepare your user training strategy, you’ll need to assess the pros and cons of remote vs. in-person training.

 

Here’s what to consider.

Remote Training Delivery

When it comes to remote working environments, there are many positives.

 

Pros

 

Flexibility: Remote training is more flexible, especially regarding scheduling. Hopping on a video collaboration tool like Zoom or Teams from your home or office is much easier from a personal scheduling perspective—users don’t have to travel or block off travel time. The same is true for organizational scheduling—there’s no need to allow for trainer travel nor worry about finding a time that fits everyone’s schedule. It’s also easy to support multiple locations and time zones. 

 

Resourceful: Remote training sessions can be quickly recorded and used as an ongoing resource or reference tool. Those who participated in training can re-watch the video as a refresher. And those who couldn’t participate live can watch and receive a similar value from the training.  

 

Cons

 

But of course, like anything, remote user training delivery has a few cons.

 

Distractions: There is no control over distractions if everyone is in their environment. This means that whatever happens at home—whether it’s the dog barking or family interruptions—there is more of a chance for team members to get distracted. 

 

Interaction: When you’re not in an in-person environment, there tends to be less opportunity to interact. Many people may sit back and passively take in information during a video training session. Active listening and response are not necessarily triggered as effectively in a remote training environment.

 

Accessibility: Not everyone has a home office setup that supports learning, or if they do, their technology may not be the most suited for the training. For example, suppose you work on a laptop. In that case, the screen area is minimal, making it more challenging to watch the instructor, practice the product, and gain knowledge effectively. Flipping back and forth between screens increases the likeliness of losing information.

In-Person Training Delivery

Before remote working options, in-person CRM user training was the only option. And this traditional training method still has some benefits. 

 

Pros

 

Assistance: There is more opportunity for formal training assistance during the in-person session. Co-workers can lean over to a neighboring colleague to catch up on information they may have missed. Additionally, everyone in the training room becomes a resource—peers may say something in a way that makes more sense.

 

Dedicated learning: In-person training invites users to step into a learning environment that is designed for focused learning. The training room is most likely equipped with adequate access to technology, including seating conducive to learning. People will arrive with the intent of gaining information.

 

Participation: Learning in-person increases participation. Active listening is immediately triggered, and users are more likely to be engaged in the in-person learning environment.

 

Cons

 

Of course, there are a few negative aspects of in-person training delivery for your CRM project.

 

Flexibility: Flexibility is challenging for both the participant and trainer in this situation. If you’re training onsite at a different location or bringing the trainer to you, you’ll want to maximize the trainers’ time. This means there likely won’t be as many breaks, decreasing the opportunity for users to participate in training. And you don’t have the luxury of offering your users the same information multiple times.

 

Quality: The quality of classes gets reduced with repetition when learning in-person. 

 

Accessibility: While the in-person learning experience is structured for training and education, it’s also a singular learning environment with the assumption it works for everyone. For those who require different learning environments or experiences, the in-person environment comes with nuances and doesn’t support unique situations or accommodations.

 

Understanding the pros and cons of each method for your CRM user training delivery helps you decide what works best for your organization and supplement for drawbacks. If one method doesn’t work in its entirety, consider having a hybrid approach to create a comprehensive CRM training plan.

Training and Education During the Exposure Stage of Your CRM Implementation

 

Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) software benefits your organization in many ways, especially when your staff is trained to use the CRM efficiently. Your approach to training and education should empower your entire team to take advantage of every part of your CRM software. 

 

When it comes to training and education, there are four common stages: exposure, engagement, ownership, and mastery. By using appropriate training and education techniques during each stage of your CRM project, your team is better equipped for adoption, decreasing feelings of overwhelm and burden. 

 

Here’s some training and education methods to consider during the exposure stage. 

Exposure through Lunch and Learns

Exposing your team to all the capabilities of the CRM helps generate excitement and increase adoption success. The proper timing to integrate exposure is when you’re well into the design—nearing the end of the design phase. Or, at the very least, when you have something well-formed that you can show users like how the new CRM will work, its configuration, and significant decisions. 

 

We recommend hosting frequent lunch and learns, which is one of the most effective ways to expose users to your new CRM.

Benefits of Lunch and Learns

A lunch and learn event is an opportunity for co-workers from different teams to meet and share their skills and expertise. It could be a one-off session, where a team lead outlines a feature of your CRM, for example. 

 

Lunch and learns support those not part of the project team and those who have been living and breathing it but haven’t seen the system—on the project’s fringe. Ultimately, they allow the masses to get involved in the activity and see the CRM for themselves. 

 

Another benefit of a lunch and learn is that it provides the opportunity for socializing the design itself. There are a lot of decisions that representatives have made for the stakeholder population. Remember, everyone can’t be involved in the design and decision-making about the system, so this provides an opportunity to socialize with the users who will inherit the decisions made by their colleagues. And socializing helps ease users into decisions, raise awareness about functionality, and empower them to settle into using the CRM. 

 

Users need to start learning the new language early in the CRM implementation process, which is essential to true adoption—lunch and learns are a great way to introduce new terminology. 

 

If the lunch and learn is interactive, (which we recommend)—identify concepts where people might struggle that you can notate for future training sessions. For example, users might need extra time to understand a concept or support to acquire the knowledge and skills in a particular area that you were able to identify through exposure at the lunch and learn. 

 

Here are three tips to boost the effectiveness of your lunch and learn.

  • Timely: Lunch and learns should be at most 30 minutes. They should require a decent investment of time but be manageable. 
  • Interactive: Lunch and learns should be interactive as much as possible. For example, no-pressure quizzing is a technique that is often used and effective.
  • Fun: Deliver the information but have some component of fun. Users are already going to be very serious about CRM training, so incorporate fun when designing a lunch and learn.

Building a CRM Application Administration Team for Advancement Operations

 

Organizations tend to focus too much on their Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) technologies and not enough on the personnel manning the technology. In other words, many organizations use CRM tools as if it is the sole ingredient to a successful donor strategy. Unfortunately, without the human touch, this approach isn’t practical.

 

Application administration is often automatically seen as a technical resource that should reside within the information technology (IT) department. This has shifted in the advancement industry with emerging technologies. 

 

Users are becoming self-sufficient, and a similar track is happening in the operations realm. Instead of your application administration sitting in a central group of technical folks administrating on your behalf, it’s now getting closer to the user. 

 

The nimbleness and ease of configuration have warranted that. But with that comes the expectation of a quick turnaround, creating a downstream of resources closer to users in the trenches. 

 

We recommend following that trend and building a CRM application administration team. 

 

Here’s how to create one for advancement operations. 

Create an Organizational Chart 

The aspect of application and administration is no longer extended order taking (request, completion, and notification.) Instead, it’s moving toward a consultative approach where application administration becomes a joint effort between the person with the technical aptitude and the user with the flexibility. 

 

This requires you to look at your organizational chart and identify a reporting structure. 

 

Consider having an application administration person or team (depending on your CRM project size) be closely linked to the resources providing user support and training. This creates a lot of synergies. Have your administrators do one thing, and your training folks teach something else. 

Encourage Application Knowledge 

Closely examine the skill sets that exist within your overall CRM project team. As you build your application administration team, consider who can go beyond general application knowledge. The application administration team should know how to configure the application and how users use it (including their daily processes.)

 

Consider standard team building procedures.

  1. Set organization goals and start planning. 
  2. Define the roles within your team. 
  3. Maximize the skills of your team member. 
  4. Embrace diversity.
  5. Set expectations from day one. 
  6. Allow your team to take risks and experiment. 
  7. Celebrate successes and failures.

Focus on Big Picture Perspective

Your CRM application administration team should move from the silo of a set of knowledge toward becoming big-picture perspective oriented. Big picture thinking is the ability to grasp abstract concepts, ideas, and possibilities. This type of thinking emphasizes the system in which they are operating while considering various stakeholders, competitors, and technological disruptions.

 

A big picture perspective accounts for how obstacles impact the organization and how that can turn into an opportunity. It also helps balance user needs and requests, which can drastically impact your CRM implementation.

 

For example, if someone requests an application change and that change satisfies some users but makes it more difficult for 50% of other users—big picture perspective examines the pros and cons.

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Cut Your CRM Training Budget

 

The investment in training strategies and training budgets for Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) implementations have recently been an area that advancement leaders are cutting. This decision is likely based on the notion that everyone can pick up the software since it is considered “intuitive.”

 

But by doing this, leaders are doing their team a disservice and exponentially affecting productivity. Here’s why.

Users Are Not Asking for Help

Data validation of your CRM requires everyone involved to participate in new technology. But what seems to be happening is these users are not necessarily comfortable adapting to new technology. Even worse, they aren’t inclined to ask (or even know where to go) for help. 

 

This is because most new software claims to be “intuitive,” especially in advancement. Intuitive software is defined as application programs with a friendly interface that are easy to use. When a software is intuitive, it is assumed any user can quickly adapt to the interface. But intuitive software isolates even those technologically inclined and is a detriment to productivity. 

 

Here’s some ideas to consider when you don’t have an adequate training program for your CRM implementation. 

  • Will users leverage tools in the workplace and get basic information? Yes. 
  • Will they become proficient? Maybe. 
  • Will they master it? No. 

Creating Unnecessary Overwhelm 

When it comes to CRM implementation, training on the new technology and tools has become lackluster, or it is assumed everyone is teaching themselves. But introducing new technology tools without proper training can trigger a “fight-or-flight” response. 

This is because when someone experiences a stressful situation or event, the amygdala (an area of the brain that contributes to emotional processing) sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. This area is like a command center, communicating with the rest of the body through the nervous system so the person has the energy to fight or flee.

 

Stress, especially long-lasting can lead to chronic, low-grade inflammation that contributes to cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and other conditions.

 

And this issue has been intensified by a post-Covid-19 environment and working from home, requiring users to be even more independent. As a result, users struggle to embrace new technology and take the necessary time to use it. 

How to Resolve It

The first step is to identify who might need more training or information. But how do you identify those individuals? And how do you get to those that only interface with a particular set of systems? Or those using new systems but may not be checking in with you? 

 

Work to create an ecosystem of understanding by identifying the training needs of your employees.

  • Set clear expectations for each role
  • Monitor employee performance
  • Ask for feedback
  • Analyze feedback
  • Make the most of personal development plans
  • Use focus groups to understand employee training and development needs 
  • Set up a system of mentoring and coaching

A successful training needs analysis will identify those who need training and what kind of training will be effective. This supports increases productivity and helps users adopt the new technology successfully. 

How to Create the Becoming an Expert Section of Your Advancement CRM Training Program

(This is the final article of a four-part series on creating an advancement CRM training program. We hope you enjoyed it!)

 

As we wrap up this content series, we hope you’re well on your way to creating an efficient Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) implementation training program. A CRM training program helps your team operate efficiently and continually improve through program adjustments and updates.

 

Having an adequate training program not only increases your chance of successful adoption, but it is also an important step in helping users remain self-sufficient and collaborative with fellow team members.

 

In the final stage of your training program, you’ll want to address how users can become experts within the CRM system.

 

Expert level CRM users are efficient and help you gain a 360-degree view of your constituents—helping your institution create highly customized offers based on their interests, donor history, and more. Additionally, in today’s technology-dominated world, donors demand and expect a whole new level of attention—they expect your advancement team to deliver a great donor experience. A great donor experience is impossible without ongoing and meaningful communication, and an expert CRM user can help you achieve these goals.

 

Here’s how to create the “becoming an expert” section of your advancement CRM training program.

 

Become an Expert

There are training topics you can immediately identify as expert level and develop as a part of your initial CRM training curriculum. Most of these topics will evolve over time as people become more familiar with the system.

 

Listening and getting feedback will be vital to helping you evolve courses over time and discover training gaps. Create simple ways for users to communicate their ideas about their experience within the advancement CRM system. Users should have an easy way to communicate, not only the quality of training they receive, but additional training needs they discover along the way. The training gaps reported can inspire courses and help users expand on their abilities.

 

As you continue to build the expert level section of your CRM training program, look for the most efficient workflow and methods to help increase productivity by leveraging tools and technology.

 

Checklist for the “Becoming an Expert” Section of your Advancement CRM Training Program

The end goal of the expert level training should be getting folks to increase productivity and find the information they need to make data-driven decisions. Here’s what to include in the becoming an expert section of your advancement CRM training.

 

  • Shortcuts: Create in-depth instruction of intermediate and advanced level features to increase efficiency and offer timesaving methods.
  • Self-service tasks: Offer training that help users create their own notifications and build their own query or report.
  • Advanced searches: Show users how to conduct advanced searches and data mining.
  • Specialized tasks: Build training courses based on user feedback or on specialized tasks that may occur on an infrequent basis.

How to Create the Building Proficiency Section of Your Advancement CRM Training Program

(This is the third article of a four-part series on creating an advancement CRM training program. Stay tuned for more great content!)

 

If you’ve been following along on our four-part content series, you’re well on your way to creating an effective training program for your Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) implementation.

 

To recap on the first two articles, we first talked about the importance of setting parameters for the getting started section. Then, we talked about how to create the learning the basics section for your CRM training program. We also explained the importance of a CRM training program and how it serves as the foundation for your team to operate efficiently and continually improve through program adjustments and updates.

 

Now that you have prepared both the getting started and learning the basics sections, it’s time to move on to proficiency. Building proficiencies in your CRM core competencies is an extra step. But there are standard shifts in the industry, and if you don’t make the shift in your training, it can have adverse effects.

 

Here’s how to create the “building proficiency” section of your advancement CRM training program.

 

Create Proficiencies

As you create the proficiency section of your CRM training program, follow the learning path that is best suited for job responsibilities—evaluating the level of mastery. Help users build proficiency in working within the advancement CRM software to fulfill their job responsibilities.

 

Users should not be on an island. Construct a working knowledge of advancement CRM functional areas for departments that frequently interface. This prevents users from working in a silo and develops a working knowledge of how colleagues use the system.

 

To achieve this, create instructions for how to prepare reports. But be careful how you approach report training. Preparing reports can easily turn into “how to get data out of the system” which can lead to building shadow databases—not the method you want to use. People tend to build shadow databases in legacy systems because they export and use the data elsewhere, then the system doesn’t know what they’re doing.

 

Avoid this tendency by framing a question. In your building proficiency CRM training program section, include ways for users to access the reports they need—including next steps to take within the system to gain the information.

 

Include a section that prompts questions. For example, only after they identify what problem they’re trying to solve, they can decide on the appropriate report.

 

Include prompts to help them answer this question.

What reports or actions do I need to take in the CRM system based on the answer I expect to receive?

 

When it comes to working within the CRM database, something is wrong if users can’t continue to work within the system. They shouldn’t have to leave to gain information or assess reports that are directly related to your CRM data. Include instructions for how they should let someone know if they aren’t able to continue working within your CRM program.

 

Checklist for the “Building Proficiency” Section of your Advancement CRM Training Program

The building proficiency section of your advancement CRM training program should help users build upon their basic level of knowledge, most specifically, using it to create reports and analyze data. Here’s what to include in this section of your advancement CRM training program.

 

  • In-depth instruction: Create training that helps users effectively use the features within the CRM or perform a specific set of tasks in the advancement CRM software. For example, how to maintain constituent records or manage prospect strategies and plans.
  • Real-life scenarios: Include real-life scenarios that staff members may encounter frequently in their daily tasks. This helps users become more self-sufficient and advanced within the CRM system.
  • Data consumption: Offer an overview on how users can use dashboards and reports to answer a question. Demonstrate the next steps they should take within the system based on their answer.
  • Data management and Security: Review your policies and guidelines on when and how exporting data should be completed.
  • Business rules: State what information is tracked within your CRM database in a certain way and illustrate why.

How to Create the Learning the Basics Section for Your Advancement CRM Training Program

 

(This is the second article of a four-part series on creating an advancement CRM training program. Stay tuned for more great content!)

 

In case you missed our first article, let’s recap. Implementing an advancement Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) training program is vital for successful long-term adoption. But it also helps to bring everyone on your team up to speed—developing their skills and helping them work effectively. Your CRM training program serves as the foundation for your team to operate efficiently and continually improve through program adjustments and updates.

 

It is easy to create siloed CRM training courses that teach users what they need to know in the system. This method of training perpetuates a siloed culture and hinders your ability to achieve the 360-degree view of the constituent that everyone desires.

 

Instead, create a comprehensive advancement CRM training program that not only teaches users how to operate within the system, but also where to turn should they need additional training and support.

 

Here’s how to create the “learning the basics” section of your advancement CRM training program.

 

The Basics

If you don’t know what people are doing within the CRM system, that’s a lost opportunity. Your team may wonder why there isn’t collaboration. Sometimes this is because a lack of knowledge, or a narrow-minded thought process that says, “I know what I do, I know how to do it,” without any idea of what team members are doing.

 

Deter this way of thinking by designing the advancement CRM training curriculum from the big picture concepts for all users. This allows everyone within the CRM system to understand how their interaction in the advancement CRM software will affect their colleagues.

 

All users should know and take responsibility for having the same kind of knowledge regarding your advancement CRM. People should be able to speak intelligently about what their system supports and how it is used by the entire division, especially from the aspect of who’s going to be directly in it or who is receiving information.

 

Within the “learning the basics” section, review the high-level business processes that are supported by your advancement CRM. Include guidelines for collaboration and outline who will using the program. As you create this part of your CRM training program, emphasize the domino effect, reiterating to users that what they do in the system affects their colleagues. They should be mindful of these questions.

 

  • Who will have access to the system?
  • Who will not have access to the system but will receive data from the advancement CRM?

 

Additionally, communicate the common language that will be used going forward in advancement at your institution. This is even more important if you’re not using the same language and terminology from the old system—make users aware of these changes to avoid confusion or muddled data.

 

And finally, teach people how to search for information within the advancement CRM. Most of the time, the reason why users are in your CRM system is to navigate constituent records. Help users build proficiency in searching for information by teaching them not only to click through the advancement CRM software, but also how to navigate a constituent’s record.

 

Checklist for the “Learning the Basics” Section of your Advancement CRM Training Program

The “learning the basics” section of your advancement CRM training program should explain the base-level knowledge every user should know. Here’s what to include in this section of your advancement CRM training program.

 

  • Core modules: Give an overview of core modules, including functional areas in the advancement CRM software along with defining commonly used terms.
  • Set Expectations: Clarify what type of information is available in the database and what type of information is not.
  • Data Sources: Give an overview of who will receive information from the advancement CRM and how it will be used.
  • Informational Flow: Offer an overview of what information will flow into the advancement CRM. For example, all students with conferred degrees are loaded from the student information system in June. Or data from the patient information system is loaded daily.
  • Security: Discuss the approach to security and guiding principles, including adherence to organizational policies and industry best practices.

Implementing a CRM Advancement Training Program? Start here.

(This is the first article of a four-part series on creating an advancement training program. Stay tuned for more great content!)

 

It’s one thing to implement an advancement Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) program, but it’s an entirely different concept to live and breathe it in everyday life—that’s the hard part.

 

Adequate CRM training helps to bring everyone on your team up to speed—developing their skills and helping them work effectively. But because of your CRM’s complexity, you will need to develop a training program and curriculum to address knowledge gaps about the new software and new processes. Applying an advancement training program is important to ensure staff can successfully climb the steep learning curve introduced by your advancement CRM implementation.

 

This training program will serve as the foundation for your team to operate efficiently and continually improve through program adjustments and updates. As new team members are hired, this will become a part of their onboarding experience. Existing team members can also participate in refresher training so their skills will continue to evolve.

 

Organizations of all sizes are realizing strong return on investment (ROI) from technology. But more resources don’t necessarily translate into bigger returns. Research from Tech Impact Idealware suggests that what matters more is the combination of practices and culture that help organizations select the right tools and unlock their value.

 

In fact, the average ROI for CRM is $8.71 for every dollar spent. But when properly implemented, the ROI of a CRM software system can exceed 245 percent.

 

Support System

At the culmination of the advancement CRM implementation, your excitement might quickly turn to anxiety—this shift is common in the early stages of your advancement CRM training program. This is because reality starts to set in, and you may be thinking, “we’re really doing this.” Which may then turn into worry about how to set the foundation and infrastructure to do so.

 

Before you jump into your advancement CRM training, create a plan and support system that will be available to users. Use the first part of your training course to review this infrastructure—this helps to reduce the anxiety and set the stage for a better training experience.

 

This also helps to assure your users that training won’t be a solo endeavor. It shows them that your CRM training program is a partnering process where they can learn what advancement CRM resources are available, how (and when) to use them, and a place to turn to when they get stuck.

 

Here’s how to create the “getting started” section of your advancement CRM training program.

 

Getting Started

The objective of the initial CRM training courses in the “getting started” phase should focus on pinpointing what you have—identifying your advancement CRM resources, what’s being rolled out, and what’s available regarding training (not just the software but support.)

 

This stage of your training program needs to illustrate how users can get training. Knowing where to “get” training should be embedded in the course, not just a one-off email. The how to get training aspect must be formalized and emphasized throughout the course.

 

You’ll also want to establish learning paths—these make it easier for end users to track their progress and understand how content relates. Users can see where they’re going and how things unfold verses seeing one course at a time. Additionally, learning paths help users see what is involved and why it builds proficiency for their job and responsibilities.

 

Within this CRM training program phase, you’ll also need to include instructions for logging into your system and any special steps to access the system remotely. This is where you can introduce the rules of engagement—including any policies, confidentiality, and data agreements. Include the dos and don’ts of how to use your advancement CRM. And finally, establish guidelines for promoting quality data.

 

Checklist for the “Getting Started” Section of your CRM Training Program

Getting started doesn’t have to be an angst-filled endeavor. Use this checklist to start off on the right path.

 

  • Develop learning paths: Create a schedule of courses to build proficiency for specific job functions or responsibilities.
  • Identify how to get help: Include how to report an issue, self-service options (including videos, how-to guides), and identify a designated person should they need support from a live person.
  • Distinguish how to get started: Create guides for how to login to the advancement CRM database. Include information on steps that need to be taken to access the system remotely, i.e., from home or on the road.
  • Outline the rules: Include a review of usage policies, including signing a confidentiality and data usage agreement. Review how to secure and protect data. This includes password policies, limiting the export or download of donor lists, and saving information locally on your laptop.
  • Promote data quality: All staff are responsible for data quality, and they should be diligent about entering information into the advancement CRM database correctly. Include information about how users can notify the data management team when incorrect information is identified. Label subject matter experts by department or include how to contact a centralized helpdesk.

5 Best Practices to Ease Your Advancement CRM Online Training

 

Advancement is becoming increasingly more challenging. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. These unprecedented times are fueled by a global health crisis, world-wide financial turmoil, and political unrest. Markets are volatile with many negative societal implications. Many organizations continue to shutter their face-to-face activities and healthcare systems are strained under the pressure of ongoing patient needs.

 

Online learning is continuing. Working virtually has proved many positives but may not be as straightforward when considering online training in complex systems like Constituent Relationship Management (CRM)—especially if your audience is more “old school” and prefers in-person learning.

 

A fully online course lacks a physical teaching space and requires digital communication and transmission of materials and assessments. Compared to the in-person learning environment, the online environment requires different strategies for teaching and learning. These new elements might seem intuitive, but for others might not be as obvious.

 

Online instruction requires the knowledge and practice of online etiquette (or netiquette) and the initial establishment of performance and behavior expectations. Virtual instructors need to be aware of these differences and be deliberate as they transition their course to the online environment.

 

Online training for your Advancement CRM is no exception. Here are five best practices to ease the burden of your Advancement CRM online training.

 

Get Employee Support

 

First things first, you’ll need to get your entire organization to ‘buy-in’ to the idea of virtual CRM training. Without their support, conducting training in any capacity will fall flat. CRM training and education will flourish if the organization’s people believe in the system, the benefits it can deliver, and have an understanding of their role in the overall implementation.

 

Getting key stakeholders involved early can help, but don’t forget about engaging end-users. Frequently, organizations think that if the executives are supportive, their staff will be too—this isn’t always the case.

 

If you’re struggling to get the support you need, survey to see if employees value the transition. They may be worried about learning a new system or assume their job may change as a result. While valid—and in some cases true—understanding their trepidations helps meet them where they’re at and eventually supporting them to buy into the transition.

 

Develop a Targeted Training Strategy

 

CRM platforms are often equipped with limitless possibilities—overwhelming even the most technology-inclined individual. Instead of jumping into all it has to offer, break your training into bite-size pieces that support crucial operational processes.

 

For example, one of the things you might do with your CRM system is to locate your constituent base in a personalized and targeted way. To do this effectively, first develop a strategy. Then train people on how you use the system to support that initiative.

 

Utilize Synchronous and Asynchronous Methods

 

There is an assumption that people will use the CRM system consistently and systematically immediately following training. Not everyone learns in the same way, and inadequate training can increase frustrations or even lead to employee burnout[1].

 

Avoid this by incorporating synchronous training—live scheduled classes—with a combination of asynchronous work encouraging employees to complete activities independently. Use the asynchronous work sessions to have trainees practice uploading data or running reports.

 

Create a strategy to address the non-users or those that may be struggling with comprehension. In an online training environment, this might look like having office hours to ask questions. Or set aside time to allow the training leader to conduct a screen share and walk the end-user through the issue in real-time.

 

Create Real-Life Training Scenarios

 

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to learn new software and not understand how it applies to a person’s day-to-day. Tailor training to your specific organizational needs. Clearly identify outcomes and expectations, focusing on tasks they’ll need to understand in their individual role.

 

Use this opportunity to establish acceptable working practices. Decide formatting and other requirements to ensure consistency.

 

Creating standards of practice helps avoid entering data in multiple ways. For example, if you’re entering names and addresses into the CRM database, require everyone to enter information in title case without abbreviations.

 

Schedule Ongoing Training

 

Plan to have ongoing online training for your Advancement CRM. This helps to maintain the long-term value of your investment in CRM technology by regularly engaging end-users in new updates, processes, and procedures.

 

It also provides opportunities for consistency, making sure anyone using the CRM system has a solid understanding of expectations, specifications, feedback, and the ability to problem-solve.

 

Investing in your CRM now is more important than ever before. But your CRM system must be more than a database—it should provide the intelligence and functionality you need to optimize fundraising and communication with your supporters.

 

 

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0007681321000392