Ep. 70 | Brandon Bruce on bringing the fun to software adoption





"Make it easy for customers to use your software."

It may seem like a simple idea, and one that most software companies may think they're doing, but they usually fail. Especially enterprise software companies, who may manage to sell their software to customers, but fail miserably when it comes to adoption rates.

That's why Bill Cushard and Sarah E. Brown were happy to have Brandon Bruce, COO of Cirrus Insights and author of The Shelfware Problem: A Guide to CRM Adoption on the latest Helping Sells podcast. He joined Bill and Sarah to talk about CRM software adoption, how it's important to explain "why" the software will help employees win, and how to make it fun for employees to use.

It's the destination, not the journey

In business, the destination matters more than the journey to get there. Employees don't want to just learn how to use the new software you've rolled out to the organization. They want to know what's in it for them, how it'll help them reach their goals and outcomes.

Take the example of training sales people on new CRM software. If the meeting invitation simply states "CRM training", most employees are going to dread going. The training session will simply be a walkthrough of tasks or activities that sales people don't like to do. "Most sales people enjoy sales meetings, but they're not big on the data entry that happens afterwards," Brandon explained. Getting them to update data in the CRM post-meeting is a challenge for them, yet it's a critical activity for the company as a whole, since it can help shape future company direction. 


But frame the training session around why they need to update the CRM after their meeting and how doing so affects their sales goals, and you increase the participation rates in training and adoption of the new CRM software.

Software has to be easy to use

Helping employees understand why they should use the new enterprise software solution is only half the battle. The second half is making it easy to use, otherwise employees won't use it. Vendors know the value the software brings to the organization, but it's hard to translate to the organization, so employees aren't motivated to use it. Even if they see their colleagues using it, they're a little more resistant to trying it out themselves.

Brandon's company, Cirrus Insights, used a very clever perspective during their product demos with prospective customers. Email adoption rates were 100%, yet CRM adoption rates were significantly lower, because employees found it "hard" to use and integrate into their daily activities. "What if we took the hard thing and put it into the easy thing that has 100% adoption? Would that help?" Brandon and his sales team asked.

When phrased like that, the prospect could see the value of Cirrus Insights and it cleared the way for them to achieve their business outcomes and goals.


"It literally only takes four clicks to install our software and start using it," Brandon explained. "Two to install the Chrome browser extension and two to sign in to Salesforce and connect it to email." Not only that, he went on, but because it's so easy to install, it's easier for employees to get on board with it at any time. They don't have to worry about missing out on anything because they missed the roll-out or first major training session. It's all right there in a place they're already familiar with, so they're less resistant to using it on a regular basis.

It's got to be a little fun

Gamification has gotten a lot of press in the last few years, but it can really help software adoption rates. It creates excitement around the software and encourages more employees to use it on a regular basis.

To truly "make it a game", as Brandon says, you have to track wins (or other relevant data). Otherwise "it's just practice", he said. You could give a prize to:

  • The sales person who books the most meetings in a month

  • The customer support team member who creates the most knowledgebase articles

  • The department who has the highest software adoption rates of a new tool.

Business is serious stuff, but in order to increase software adoption rates, consider injecting a little fun into things.

To listen to the entire conversation we had with Brandon, check out the latest episode of Helping Sells here, on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, SoundCloud, or wherever you listen to podcasts.


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Julia Borgini

Written by Julia Borgini

Julia Borgini is a guest author, self-proclaimed Geek, freelance writer and content marketing strategist who teaches tech companies how to develop & execute successful tech content marketing programs. To learn more about tech content marketing, visit her website at spacebarpress.com.