Best Practices for CRM Implementation
With CRM solutions becoming an essential component of successful sales operations, this article explores some best practices for CRM implementation to ensure your organisation receives the most value from the solution.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions have evolved over the past few years, with new vendors on the market and new functionality available. Generally, CRM software centralises all customer information allowing you to track all client interactions and optimise sales efforts. With so many options on the market, there is definitely a solution on the market that will suit your needs. However, choosing the solution is just one step in getting started with a CRM system. CRM solutions can add tremendous value to your organisation with recent research showing that CRM applications can help increase sales by up to 29%, sales forecast accuracy by 42% and sales productivity by 34%. Therefore, it is important to introduce the solution using the best implementation practices to ensure maximum return on technology investment.
Set Clear Goals
Organisations should have a vision of how the CRM solution can add value to essential business processes. Defining your vision should include what you expect the impact of the CRM solution to be and what kind of features will help you achieve this. If your organisation is having trouble defining this internally, often working with a business analyst can help define vision, goals, map processes and give an unbiased view of what solutions could work.
Top Level Buy In
Studies show that lack of support from senior executives is one of the top reasons CRM projects fail. Getting buy-in from top management and stakeholders from the start is essential to set up your implementation project for success, helping to avoid delays down the line. They can also support the project by leading by example. However, it is just as important to make all employees feel included from the beginning too, so they are prepared for the change and understand where the solution will benefit them rather than the change being brought in unexpectedly leading to change resistance.
Find the Right Solution & Partner
As mentioned earlier, there are many different CRM solutions on the market, so it is important to do your research and narrow down your options based on factors important to your business such as the relevancy of the CRM functionality to your processes, integration capabilities, scalability, or pricing. Similarly, it is critical to decide whether your organisation will work with the vendor or with a technology partner to help with a phased approach to transformation including future customisations and support.
A Phased Roll-Out
When planning a big change for employees, it is best practice to roll out the project in phases. Rolling out too fast risks overwhelming users and creating resistance while a very slow approach might cause them to lose interest and not perceive its importance. With this in mind, it’s important to plan a roll-out that gives time to ensure each user group is up to speed on the new system before moving to the next stage. Another important element of your project roll-out is your project manager, you want to make sure you chose the best person for this role as they can have a big impact on roll-out success.
Sufficient Training and Feedback
Training and user feedback are critical to sustaining a change and demonstrating the return on investment for new solutions. Often during roll-out, super-users or solution champions are selected as those who will be testing the solution ahead of other users so that by the time training comes around for all other employees, they can be a support. Once training has been given to all staff, it is important to take some time to listen to their feedback. This can be helpful to inform what aspects of the solution employees are finding difficult to use which may prompt further training or review. It is important to do this not just once after roll-out, but perhaps 3 months or 6 months on as more users could have more important feedback.