CRM Training: Maximizing the Potential of Your New System

Rashida A. Brown

Senior Consultant

Rashida has worked exclusively with nonprofit organizations for over 20 years on improving the use of their technology, on projects including CRM implementation, business analysis, business process workflow development, and more.
June 06, 2023

Implementing a new Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system is a significant milestone for any organization. However, merely deploying the system does not guarantee success. To fully leverage your investment, it is crucial to provide comprehensive training to your staff. Whether you have new employees, experienced staff who are unfamiliar with the new CRM, or changes in your business processes, a well-planned training program is essential.  


When planning CRM training, it is important to start by understanding your organization’s specific training needs. You can do this by: 

  • Assessing the current knowledge of staff—regarding the system—and identify the tasks they are expected to perform.  
  • Evaluating existing documentation and identify any gaps that need to be filled. 
  • Determining who should attend the training, ensuring that all users and those relying on the CRM’s outputs are included.  

This information will guide the training and allow your team to prepare materials such as handouts, presentations, and training exercises. Additionally, consider cross-training in specialized areas to enhance the overall proficiency of your staff. While in-person training is preferred, remote training can also be effective if properly planned and executed. 


Now that you have a basic understanding of your team’s needs, you can begin to build out the training sessions. 

  • Set Up User Accounts: Providing an opportunity for users to practice what they learn improves the effectiveness of the training. To streamline the training process, it is essential to set up and test user accounts in advance within a test environment (avoid using production for training!). This ensures that all participants have access to the CRM and can actively engage in the training exercises without worrying about “breaking things.” 
  • Prepare Sample Data/Records: Using real data and records during training provides attendees with a more meaningful learning experience. Prepare sample data that reflects the actual scenarios encountered in your organization that you identified in the planning phase. This enables participants to grasp the practical implications of using the CRM system. 
  • Create Documentation and Presentations: Well-designed, comprehensive documentation and presentations are crucial for successful CRM training. These materials serve as reference guides for participants in the months following implementation and training and can be updated to use for future training. Documentation should cover essential concepts, processes, and functionalities of the CRM system.  


During the training sessions, it is important to familiarize users with the CRM system’s terminology and key concepts. Start with an overview of the system’s features and benefits, providing a clear understanding of how it aligns with your organization’s processes and goals.  

  • Hands-on Training Exercises: To reinforce learning, provide hands-on training exercises that allow participants to practice using the CRM system. These exercises should simulate real-world scenarios and encourage users to explore different features and functionalities. Assign specific tasks and guide participants through the process, providing feedback and guidance as needed. 
  • Q&A Sessions: Allocate dedicated time for question-and-answer sessions to address any questions or concerns raised by participants. Encourage an open and interactive environment where users can seek clarification and share their experiences. This fosters learning and knowledge retention. 

We cannot emphasize enough how important it is to ensure that your staff is properly trained in your new CRM system. By following a well-planned training program, organizations can enhance user proficiency, increase efficiency, and achieve a higher return on their investment. Empowering your staff with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the CRM effectively will undoubtedly drive results, promote user adoption, and ultimately enable you to get the most out of your new system. 

Set Your Team Up for Success 

Make sure every member of your team is confident accessing the full capabilities of your CRM. JCA knows the industry-leading platforms inside and out and offers live or recorded training sessions. We can help you design an efficient, cost-effective training program for ongoing instruction. 

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