Steps For Successful CRM Implementation

Steps For Successful CRM Implementation

With CRM implementation, it is important to consider the three steps of evaluation, planning, and implementation. Before you implement a CRM system make sure to evaluate your current process so that you can identify areas for improvement. 

Next step in the process is planning which includes identifying goals and objectives for the project as well as determining how much time will be needed before you start rolling out changes. Finally, once everything has been planned thoroughly, move on with implementing all changes one by one following a timeline that was set during the evaluation phase of this process. 

It's not enough to just have an idea about what needs improving; instead take time to find out more specifics like where problems are coming from or what are the benefits of making those improvements particular change?

Your CRM system will be a big part of your business as you grow, so implementing the system carefully is important. Allowing plenty of time for the process will ensure that you have the right system and that your team knows how to make the most of its ability to automate your sales and customer service functions. 

As you explore the wide variety of CRM systems on the market, getting excited about all the features and integrations they offer is easy. However, the only features that matter are the ones that are a good fit for your objectives. Before you start exploring the market, it’s a good idea to review your goals. Think about how a CRM can help your business meet goals and overcome challenges. Why are you considering a new system? Are you hoping to help your sales team nurture leads, enhance the support you offer to customers, or save time on administrative functions?

An ideal CRM system will fit with the current way you do business rather than forcing changes to processes running smoothly. You want a tool that enhances the business you’ve built, not one that asks you to rebuild your processes to suit its functions.

7 Keys for a Successful CRM Implementation

Customer relationship management (CRM) software has a black eye. The mere mention of CRM can strike fear in a management team. We hear time and time again about failed implementations, money wasted and frustrated sales executives. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Contemporary sales and marketing organizations utilize CRM as the hub of their activities, and those who don’t utilize software will be at a competitive disadvantage. That’s because CRMs facilitate timely, automated, targeted communications to customers and prospects in a way that improves sales productivity. In addition, today’s CRM packages allow sales managers and executives to measure their pipeline and potentially predict future revenue in real-time.

But the pain point with CRM has nothing to do with technology; it is entirely cultural. The inconvenient truth is that some salespeople simply don’t want to utilize any system that monitors their activity or perceives it as wasting their time. To use such a system requires a disciplined approach that is lacking in many organizations.

Here are seven keys to utilizing CRM successfully.

Pick The Right System

So many failed implementations come down to fit. So many companies prematurely implemented the 800-pound gorilla (which will remain nameless here). They bought a system that was overengineered and were sadly disappointed by the outcome. Today’s CRMs are highly configurable, mobile-ready and inexpensive to implement. It may not be necessary to find one intended for your particular industry or sector. It will be worth your time to demo six or seven systems and check references before choosing one. Make sure you understand the nature of the licenses you are buying, including the ability to configure them at no additional cost.

Map Your Sales and Marketing Process

There is zero chance of optimizing a CRM without first mapping your processes step by step. CRM is an automation tool, and you can’t automate a process that doesn’t exist. There should be agreement on order, labels, best practices, etc., before deciding which software package to use.

Consider Creating an End-to-End Solution

Many ancillary systems can integrate with a CRM system. For example, Integrators used to focus on inventory and accounting. Still, today, companies are bundling project management, collaboration tools, web conferencing, email marketing and a plethora of tools that can enable even greater use of such a system.

Pick the Right Partners

Many CRM providers certify integrators, which may or may not be necessary. However, if you do not have internal resources who have the technical understanding or time to manage such a project, you may need a partner to drive the process. Be clear on the roles of the vendor (and what role you will play in the deployment) and costs for extras such as training.

Get Feedback Early and Often

Similar to enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools, the biggest contributor to failed implementations is that users do not participate in developing the solution that will serve them. Having a cross-functional team involved from the beginning is critical. This team should be part of an iterative process where systems and tools are tested for their effectiveness.

Develop a Project Plan

Good implementation comes down to the execution of a project with clear deliverables, champions and timelines. Having a focused project manager, buy-in from management, and access to two or three super-users. A phased approach often makes sense, where the first iteration of a solution has basic functions such as a contact database and access to documents. More sophisticated functions such as the deployment of marketing automation can occur in subsequent phases.

Ensure You Deploy a Scalable Solution That Works

Another deadly sin is that sales and marketing professionals sometimes fail to consider alignment with other technology initiatives. IT must be a partner in ensuring seamless data mitigation, systems integration and training. Leave the hard part (such as testing) in the hands of the professionals. Your life will be much easier if you have a structured process for cataloguing bugs and fixes in a formal ticket system utilized by most IT organizations.

So, what makes an integration successful? The argument that must be won is that a good CRM will deliver the information salespeople need at the time they need it. CRM should save time, not waste it. To do that requires that your team deliver a solution that will provide tools salespeople may not have today, such as tickler emails, information on what data customers have viewed online and access to white papers, case studies and testimonials organized by product line or customer.

12 Pros and Cons of Customer Relationship Management

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) can be very beneficial for businesses. It helps you manage your customer data and supports sales management. In addition, using a CRM system allows you to have constant insights into your business’ data, provides you with actionable insights and facilitates internal communication within your team. 

In short, it might be a good idea to look into the benefits of CRM and consider implementing a CRM system in your business, and here’s why.

A customer relationship management (CRM) program allows an organization to take advantage of the data they collect every day. Software that focuses on CRM will track sales, locate trends, and automate many of the interactions that take place. Unfortunately, there is this idea in the modern workplace that CRM software is a needed investment because everyone seems to be using it, but that just isn’t true. There are some definite advantages that CRM software can bring, but some disadvantages must also be considered.

What Are the Pros of CRM Software?

It puts everything you need into one place.

Customer relationship management needs to be centralized in order for it to be effective. The data that is collected needs to be accessible to everyone who may need it. Instead of hunting down specific data points, everyone can automatically be on the same page because everyone has the same access to the same data. This allows workers to be more productive because they can better focus on meeting the needs of prospects and customers.

CRM is a scalable solution

If an organization is going to survive, it must have a growing database of customers who appreciate the value proposition that has been offered. As the number of customers grows, it becomes more difficult to meet specific needs personally because each interaction has a specific time investment that needs to be made. This software is a scalable solution that fits within almost any budget and will only grow as the organization grows so that the needs of everyone can be effectively met.

It allows for data mining

It just isn’t customer data that is important to mine when information is collected by CRM software. Specific sales reports and other analytics can help organizations discover what is working and what might benefit from a change or two. Customer relationship management allows people to discover where they’re making progress without the same amount of work to collect that data, creating a real-time environment where adjustments can be made almost instantly.

The data being collected can be accessed remotely

This benefit of customer relationship management has not always been around. In the past, the only way to access CRM was to have the actual software installed at a computer terminal or assigned machine. To be mobile, a laptop with CRM software would need to be issued. 

Thanks to the Cloud, internet saturation, widely available 4G data and VPN capabilities, a secure connection to the software can be obtained virtually anywhere. This allows salespeople to stay out in the field longer, potentially increasing their conversion rates.

CRM can speed up the conversion process.

This is especially true for organizations that focus on providing an online experience. 

Customers today will research everything they can about a company before initiating a relationship with them. 

A CRM solution can help customers do this research on their own so that when they finally do contact a sales representative, they’ve completed 90% of the work that needs to get done to come through the sales funnel on their own.

It lowers an organization’s overall daily costs.

Because all data is centralized, costs go down for an organization because productivity goes up. Lost paperwork, missing files, and other times consumers go away because the only way something isn’t in the CRM is because it hasn’t been entered.

What Are The Cons Of Crm Software?

It eliminates the human element from the business equation.

Although the processes become automated when consumer relationship management software is installed, this also means that prospects lose some of the human element that the business relationship sometimes needs. 

It’s a lot like the difference between receiving a real person at the end of a phone call or an automated menu system. Sometimes it is nice to do the work on one’s own, but sometimes it is nice to have a little personalized help.

There can be security issues with CRM software.

Although this software solution is secure, the data contained at a centralized point creates a threat for any organization implementing a CRM solution. It doesn’t even need to be a data hacker that causes problems. 

What happens if the power goes out to the database? Or what if a disgruntled employee puts in data that isn’t accurate as a way to get even? There must be encryption safeguards, but there must also be backup and supervision systems in place to maintain the data's integrity.

Employees must go through a learning curve with the new system.

Installing a new CRM solution can be very exciting. The idea of automating many processes and streamlining the data that is received every day can make business executives downright giddy at times. Then comes the process of implementation, and everything changes. It takes time for people to learn how the new system works, what its capabilities happen to be, and what it can be used to accomplish. Once everyone gets used to the system, the benefits can be enormous. It’s that training period after installation that can be a killer.

Two words: technical support.

Businesses have two options available to them for CRM tech support. They can either hire their specialists to deal with the software or outsource this work to someone else. Many companies that provide customer relationship management solutions will provide support, but it comes at a higher price. Furthermore, purchasing the solution is just the first step of the cost/benefit ratio that must be considered. Many forget about the ongoing support costs of a CRM solution, which can be an unpleasant surprise.

Data can still get lost if the database isn’t properly maintained.

Many CRM systems will automatically back themselves up through the Cloud or some other solution, but not every system does this. There may be a need to manually back up the data, and if that doesn’t happen regularly, there is a good chance that data can get lost. Even Cloud systems can fail if there is a problem with the internet connection or the server on the other end.

It can put sensitive data into the hands of a third party.

More than one instance of a web hosting company taking CRM data and selling it to the highest bidder. Sometimes sensitive customer data is collected with this software, and if a third-party provider is being used, then they’re being trusted with this data. This is why full disclosure and due diligence is required before finalizing any relationship.

Frequently Asked Questions

CRM systems compile customer data across different channels, or points of contact, between the customer and the company, which could include the company's website, telephone, live chat, direct mail, marketing materials and social networks.

CRM marketing campaigns can result in better initiatives to attract customers. CRMs can gather essential information from leads and customers, allowing marketing teams to better target their audience. This information can be used toward several marketing tactics, such as email, content, and social media marketing.

A lack of commitment or resistance to cultural change from people within the company can cause major difficulties with the CRM implementation. Customer relationships may break down and result in loss of revenue, unless everyone in the business is committed to viewing their operations from the customers' perspective.

Scroll to Top