The 5 steps to a successful CRM implementation

CRM implementation

When launching a customer relationship management (CRM) program, you want to do it right. Your company invests significant amounts of time, energy and money on your software. There are 5 concrete steps you should take to ensure you get the most from your investment.

Looking for a quick hit list for reasons why your CRM fails and how to fix them? We’ve got you covered.

1. Identify your need

Diving into a CRM project without a game plan is a recipe for disaster. Most executives and employees can appreciate the benefits of housing all customer information in one easily accessible system. When it comes to actually implementing that CRM solution, however, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the scope of what needs to accomplished. Like any big project, it helps to break things down into manageable steps and clear priorities.

Are you implementing a new CRM system? Answer the following questions:

  • What type of efficiencies am I looking to achieve?
  • What departments are involved?
  • Who should be the CRM champion?
  • What is the budget for this project? What are the most important tasks you want to accomplish?

If you are rebooting/upgrading your system, consider these questions:

  • Does your system meet your original needs?
  • Were there efficiencies not accomplished?
  • Are there breakdowns in the sales process you are hoping to correct?
  • What is the budget for this project?
  • What is most important in the reboot to change?

2. Choose your vendor

There are a lot of CRM software options on the market. Taking the time to figure out exactly what you want your CRM to do makes it much easier to find the right vendor. With a clear list of requirements — essential software capabilities, available modules, plugin compatibility, price points — you can quickly identify the perfect vendor for your needs.

When selecting your CRM software partner, consider the strength of the vendor’s product and their experience in the CRM market. Have they worked with companies similar to your size? Do they have experience with your industry, and understand how to integrate specialized tools like ERP or CPQ systems? Additionally, does the vendor’s corporate vision complement your own? What is the knowledge level of the vendor’s employees?

3. Understand the use

Once you have identified the right CRM partner, it’s time to think about how the system will actually be used on a daily basis. Who will use the CRM? Will it be primarily used by the sales team? Will customer service and marketing teams also need access? If so, what will their use cases be? How will the CRM integrate their existing workflows and tools? How can the system make their work easier, faster, or more efficient? As you craft your CRM plans, make sure to include ample time and budget to allow for user testing and training.

4. Create phases

It’s best to roll out your CRM implementation in phases.This allows you to slowly introduce key pieces of the CRM while also allowing for adjustments and revisions. If some critical element of a process or workflow has been overlooked, the entire CRM project won’t need to be halted while a solution is found. This approach also allows managers to gain insight into the process, identifying inefficiencies, areas where additional training is needed, or potential problems for the next phase of the roll out. This staggered approach to release also helps to prevent the staff from feeling overwhelmed by the new system, greatly reducing the odds of CRM failure through low user adoption rates.

5. Reassess and adjust

Once the new CRM is in place, it’s important to step back and assess the results. Almost all CRM projects require a few adjustments after their initial launch. By making a few tweaks to the system early on, it’s possible to save substantial amounts of time and money that would otherwise be lost to minor inefficiencies. This is also a great time to compare the current CRM product with your goals. Check back to those initial questions you answered about what you wanted from your CRM. If the CRM isn’t generating the results you hoped for, now is the time to find out why. In most cases, these problems have relatively simple fixes. Don’t be discouraged! The hard part — the actual CRM implementation — is done. Now, you just need to fine tune the results.

Get the most out of your CRM platform. Take a journey with us. Download our white paper about the power of successful CRM implementation.

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