Marketing teams are facing some pretty tough challenges these days. The control of information has shifted from brands to consumers, customer expectations have skyrocketed, and increasing competition makes it hard to be heard above the noise.

To pull off the global integrated marketing campaigns that cover dozens of regions, languages, and channels, marketing teams are investing in a new breed of collaborative work management tools that promise to:

  • Align people across teams and distances
  • Improve the quality and consistency of work
  • Reduce miscommunication and waste
  • Increase bandwidth and output

But many marketing teams are not seeing ROI on their investment. The reason? Lack of adoption.

Enterprise companies have always struggled with user adoption, and some even report a decrease in productivity after using new tools. With results like that, it’s no wonder a lot of software ends up as unused shelfware, draining resources and making people hesitant to try new solutions.

Adoption rates for collaborative work management tools vary wildly, even when they promise similar results. According to a recent study of marketing leaders, most teams were able to get 100% user adoption of Wrike in less than one month.

Examining the data, we were able to identify the most common reasons why your marketing team may not be using your work management software, and what you can do about it.

5 Reasons Marketing Teams Didn’t Adopt Their Work Management Solution

Reason #1: A poor onboarding process

Our brains are geared to continually make judgments. Once formed, an opinion is very difficult to change. A bad onboarding experience can leave a negative impression that can take weeks or even months to overcome.

Many collaborative work management solutions on the market have limited resources available to help onboard new users and poor technical support, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of marketing teams.

How to fix this:

  • Invest in the onboarding process as much as possible. Most enterprise software solutions have customer success professionals dedicated to helping your team achieve their goals and get value out of the tool. The support they offer may take the form of onsite training, phone/chat/email support, video calls, interactive help portals, and a variety of other methods. Put them to work for you.
  • Make any supplementary resources available to your team. From eBooks to training webinars to online user communities, a variety of self-service resources are usually available for collaborative work management solutions. These can help your team get up and running with best practices.
  • Hold bite-sized training sessions with your team. Adopting a new tool can be a daunting task for any team, but specific personality types will need a little more coaching than others. Set up short and easy training sessions with your team and reward people for performing simple actions within the tool. The University of Notre Dame made Wrike training a fun and engaging experience by creating their own award ceremony, the Wrikies! Think outside the box and keep it light.

Reason #2: It’s yet another tool they have to learn and use

The SaaS marketing software world is already a very crowded and fragmented space, and the thought of having to learn and use another tool may cause people to feel overwhelmed. This, coupled with the fact that many orgs are not deriving full benefit from the tools they already have can increase skepticism of any new solution and resistance to change.

How to fix this:

  • Take advantage of integrations and APIs. Your collaborative work management tool should bring order to the chaos by serving as the “single source of truth.” Plug in as many of your existing tools as possible to increase clarity while still allowing people to use the apps they like best. A flexible API can help your organization customize tools for very specific uses, unlocking incredible value.
  • Automate work intake and project creation. Inputting data into a work management solution can feel like a chore and waste of time for busy teams. Use templates to drastically reduce the time it takes to create and manage repeatable tasks and projects. Use automation as much as possible in your workflows to allow your team to focus on more high-impact work. Request forms are a great way to provide consistency to work intake, saving your team from tracking down critical details that delay project starts.

Reason #3: “One size fits all” didn’t fit

Whether it’s a board, a grid, or some spin on the common spreadsheet, each work management platform has its own approach. If this view aligns with the type of work being performed and work style of the user, great. But every org, every team, and every individual has their own preferred way of working. The one-size-fits-all approach rarely works. When teams find the tool difficult to adjust to their needs, they will be quick to abandon it.

How to fix this:

  • Identify what each person and/or team needs from their tools. By understanding the needs of each team/user and the type of work they’re doing, you can pick the solution that works best. Look for similarities or points of interaction between each team and how they accomplish their tasks. Once there is alignment around the process, you can tailor how your entire org uses the tool together, making it easier for everyone to get onboard.
  • Do what you can to accommodate individual working styles. Allowing people to work in the way they want to the greatest extent possible, you’ll see an increase in adoption. For example, Wrike offers 9 different views so each team can find the one that fits their needs.

Reason #4: Limited ability to work on the go

Today’s workforce is in constant motion. They’ve grown used to the multiscreen experience and demand flexibility and remote access from their work tools. If your marketing team can’t plug into the work management tool from their cellphone, tablet, or laptop while on the go, they aren’t going to use it.

How to fix this:

  • Pick a solution that caters to the needs of the modern workforce. Teams need more than simple read access — they need the ability to do actual work. Ensure that all critical features are accessible on mobile devices. Research the best tools for remote teams and invest in those that will benefit them in the long-term.
  • Use native iOS and Android mobile apps. The best work management solutions offer powerful native apps to ensure users are effective whether they are in the office or on the road. More than simply a mobile view, these native apps often provide an optimized experience and offline functionality so work can be done anytime and anywhere.

Reason #5: They don’t see the big picture

Work management tools are so much more than a to-do list or workflow manager — they're for collaboration. Companies are still learning how to leverage these tools to achieve real collaboration, and some of the biggest innovations are still underutilized. Your team needs to experience what true collaboration is and can be before they’ll use these tools more fully.

How to fix this:

  • Emphasize the benefits of using the tool as a team. Beyond tracking tasks, work management tools increase visibility, save time and resources, cut down on miscommunications, and the list goes on. Many of these benefits only become apparent when everyone participates, so emphasize that from the start.
  • Use the tool to highlight wins to the team and executives. Point to positive outcomes using the tool to highlight wins to both the team itself and executives, when possible. When people see how increased visibility is earning them recognition for their work, they’ll make sure to use it more fully.

Small Changes, Big Outcomes

The smallest details can make or break user adoption. Achieving anything less than 100% user adoption is cutting into the ROI of your software investment. A few small, but significant changes can help you get more of your team on board to your new solution.

Wrike provides the most flexible experience on the market and some of the most powerful features. If your team is looking for a collaborative work management solution that can truly address each individual's needs, start a free trial today.