Choosing a CRM? Looks Are More Important Than You Think

When it comes to choosing a CRM, you might guess that function trumps form. You’re trying to get results, right?

2 min. read

When it comes to choosing a CRM, you might guess that function trumps form. You’re trying to get results, right? To boost productivity, collaborate more efficiently and ultimately grow your business? That means specific capabilities are more important than how they look.

If you’ve made this assumption, we don’t blame you. However, research suggests that it isn’t so simple.

According to Carleton University, a user can form an opinion about a web page’s visual appeal in as little as 50 milliseconds — that’s less than half the time it takes to blink. A study conducted by Google, in addition to confirming that number, found that visual complexity and normality play a key role in determining whether a user’s split-second assessment will be positive or negative. The sweet spot is low visual complexity, high normality. Meaning that people want interfaces that are simple and recognizable — and they won’t wait to pass judgment.

Of course, it isn’t just a matter of what a user wants. Another study found that a website’s credibility can be judged in under four seconds, based purely on aesthetic appeal.

All of which is to say that a great CRM — or any application — is only great if people are using it how they’re supposed to. And they’ll feel a lot more comfortable using it if it looks good.

The power of aesthetics in choosing a CRM

Let’s dig a little deeper into those first-impression factors uncovered by Google: visual complexity and normality. Complexity is a relative term, of course, and it isn’t inherently bad (think about all the overly simple arguments you’ve heard that have left you groaning). However, it does imply a learning curve. And when it comes to the design of a user interface, a learning curve can hinder adoption.

Normality can also help pave the way for smooth adoption. According the the Pew Research Center, more than half of adults “feel more comfortable using familiar brands and products.” It makes sense, then, that users accustomed to modern, cloud-based apps will want a CRM with a similar look and feel.

This point is particularly relevant to companies using Salesforce that are thinking about switching to Salesforce Lightning. In addition to a number of new features, Salesforce Lightning features a completely revamped user interface. It’s more modern, with a stronger focus on visuals. If you have a hunch that this experience would make your users feel more at home, it might be time to switch.

On the other hand, you might have a team that prefers the look of Salesforce Classic. Poll your people to discover their preferred aesthetics.

If you’re still hesitant about changing to a new-look CRM, keep this in mind: “Users are more tolerant of minor usability issues when they find an interface visually appealing.” That means you don’t need to worry so much about potential hiccups. If you’ve made the right move for your team, they’ll forgive you.



Danielle Sutton

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