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User Adoption and Engagement - A story of our Journey

After posting a reply to a question in the open forum, I had been asked to share more about our story.   

I think this is a popular topic for many organizations and one that probably does not have a black and white solution. Each are a probably a little different and approach may change based on type of business, number of staff, and overall intent of CRM.


Synergy Credit Union is a financial institution in Saskatchewan, Canada with about 230 employees.  We currently have 110 CRM users (phase 1) and we are just over 6 months into launching CRM. Prior to Dynamics, sticky notes or outlook tasks were our preferred method of Relationship management :).  So this is very new to all of our users. 

For us, gaining comfort and buy-in from staff prior to launching was very important.  As well - quick adoption was top priority.

To do this, we knew that taking time and using extra resources prior to, during, and after the build and launch would pay with user understanding and adoption. 

  • We talked to other organizations about what worked well and what they would do differently
  • A CRM Project Lead Manager position was implemented (the role I hold today) with the following role expectations:
    • Manage the day to day and overall steps of the build and be the main contact for our partner
    • Engage and encourage a group of super users to assist in providing feedback at all steps of the buil
    • Plan training content, structure, and material
  • Created a Vision statement for CRM to be accessible by all users
  • We started talking about CRM with our leadership as soon as we started investigating products.  Explaining the why - the "what's in it for me", and the vision.
  • Created a group of 10 “Super Users”. The Super users came from all areas of our organization as well as all levels. The super users were part of a team that provided feedback throughout the build and customization phase. Having these end users have a voice in the final product really helped with buy in as it was their peers who helped create it.
  • Developed a balanced scorecard of how we will measure success to keep us accountable to results
    • Financial Results - of course based on our financial statements and focusing on certain areas of those statements that we believe CRM can help us become better
    • Internal Business Process - for year one, we are focusing on our people becoming comfortable with using CRM and specifically activities to become more proactive rather than reactive.  Our measure in this area is % of completed activities.
    • Employee Learning and growth - each staff member has a goal of entering 2 things into CRM per interaction.  From advanced find, I pull a monthly report of our key focus areas (opportunities, leads, contacts, accounts, and activities)and report to all users the number of items they have created or modified in the month.  They see their results as well as the results of others.  There are also prizes on the line for each team which adds a gamification component!
    • Outbound engagements – something that we have never been able to see results of before.  We are currently working to trend the information we now get from CRM and will set some expectations and goals around this in the future


  • Having a partner involved that could ask questions of current process and challenge new thoughts was a great way to ensure we were not building old processes into a new solution.
  • Super User involvement was key!]
    • providing feedback,
    • testing scenarios,
    • feeling heard
    • talking about and championing CRM within their teams to get future users excited


  • Training:
    • The Super Users were included as part of the training team and were paired up based on role to deliver the training
    • First we held 2 day sessions for our leadership teams to ensure they all understood not only technical usage of CRM, but more importantly, WHY is this important and the expectations of usage so that they could clearly communicate to their teams.
      • What’s in it:
        • For our Members (Customers)
        • For our employees
        • For our Organization
    • Then we held 1 day hands on learning sessions that were led by the group of "super users".  The sessions were based on role so that the hands on learnings could be very specific to their day to day.  I believe that having the Super Users train their peers helped so much in users being open to and using the solutions.  Having someone who does what they do support and encourage use was key!   


  • Continuing to encourage, listen to, and act on feedback has been priority and key since our launch:
    • We use cases in CRM to provide our users an outlet to ask for changes, provide ideas for future workflows and customizations, or ask questions
  • I also make quarterly visits to each team and have one on one meetings with each user to talk about
    • what's going well and where there are struggles.  
    • We usually spend time working through files they have on the go and entering the information into CRM.
  • Bi-Weekly, I host Skype calls – We talk about:
    • successes,
    • updates in the solutions,
    • questions they may have,
    • and what’s coming
  • We have not set timelines specific to areas of CRM competency; however, the users performance management results are based solely on CRM, so if it is not in CRM, the results are not record for their individual targets.  
    • When they cannot see their results on their dashboard, they quickly ask for clarification of process!
  • Monthly a “usage report” is sent to all users and reports on many different areas of CRM ( Opportunities, Referrals, posts, notes, activities, connections/relationships, etc.)
    • Prizes are awarded for the top user in each role type
    • The report is available to all users and numbers are visible for everybody.  This helps with seeing what others are doing and even asking questions of those top users to help each other improve.

All of the above steps are somewhat time consuming, but we have found that the adoption rate and usage is well above the goals we had set out in our success chart. 

This is a fairly Coles Notes version of our journey so far and know we have much more to learn, but we are happy with our results so far and look forward to how this will evolve over time!


  • Yammer User Forum
    • Creating a Private Yammer Group and modeling is after CRMUG.  I have found so much value in our CRMUG and the wealth of information that we all share, why not do that for our users?! This will be a place that they can:
      • ask and answer questions,
      • share tips and tricks they have discovered
      • have access to learning material
      • post successes and share in celebrations
    • Skype Information Sessions. 
      • I visualize this being short little webinars where each session is a different topic and users can sign up and join the calls of the topics they are interested in.  We would walk through a scenario and then they have a chance to ask questions and often answer each other's questions.
    • Use Power BI to create some more visual "gamification" charts to continue help with adoption and increased comfort and competence.

As I said at the start of this, when it comes to Users and User Adoption, nothing is black and white and there are things we have learned we would do differently ( maybe I will write about that later :) ). 

Our success so far has many moving parts contributing to it – along with everything above, the key ingredient is the Open, Positive Culture that we have within our organization.  Having an entire team that knows clearly the vision of the organization was a great start to success. 

If you have any questions or want to talk more about this or other topics, please feel free to contact me (as you can see I LOVE to talk about CRM!)


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Tags User Adoption and Engagement, Dynamics 365 CE/ CRM