The Complete Guide to Successful CRM Implementation
Selling products and services is at the heart of business operations, and customer relationship management (CRM) software tools like Salesforce and Zendesk are quickly becoming essential to this process.
However, before you jump into the implementation of your new CRM software, there are several important steps you need to take to make sure the process goes smoothly and ensure you reap the benefits of your new investment.
We’ll go through the key steps and important aspects of CRM implementation here.
If you’re thinking about rolling out a customer relationship management (CRM) system, think of it as an investment in your organization’s future. A well-implemented system can improve processes, create more efficient workflows, save time and money, and help your company make better decisions that are based on actual data, not gut feelings or hunches.
But implementing a CRM is also hard work; you need guidance to help you steer clear of common pitfalls and make smart choices along every step of the way—from planning through launching and beyond.
What Is CRM Software?
So, what is CRM in the first place?
Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, is a software program that helps businesses track their communications with their clients. It is a handy tool that replaces the need for databases, spreadsheets, and documents for tracking client data. It is designed to help manage processes, promote efficiency, and manage time wisely.
With a CRM, businesses can easily collate crucial data from customers. And what’s great about this all-in-one tool is that the whole organization can access important details to close a sale or to attend to the needs of a client.
Now, you may be asking how a CRM is more advantageous than a spreadsheet. Perhaps a spreadsheet is only ideal if you have less than 100 clients to attend to, and you only need the basic information from them, such as email addresses, phone numbers, and names. A CRM is beneficial if you are tracking more complex data, such as what pages your leads have visited on your website and their past purchases. Simply put, a CRM automatically updates data as your leads perform an action, while a spreadsheet requires manual action for it to be updated.
How a CRM Makes Sales and Marketing More Efficient
CRM platforms can improve your sales and marketing without doing a lot and without having to spend more on advertising. As long as you implement your CRM properly, you can quickly build a powerful sales and marketing channel that helps you achieve your sales goals.
CRM Platforms and Sales
A CRM platform can help streamline sales processes and help improve your organization’s visibility. What does this mean? Read on.
Sales teams need visibility to be efficient and effective, and a CRM platform provides just that. With your customer’s data in one place, there is no need to call a specific individual or department for access. Sales representatives will know right away what a lead has done, allowing them to tailor their conversations to what was done. They can then pitch in the right product or service the lead needs.
For instance, a customer has just landed on your website design service page. When the sales representative speaks to them, they know exactly that they are looking to design a website. So, they can encourage them to subscribe to the service or book a consultation to learn more.
Some CRM platforms have this feature that allows them to prioritize their efforts via lead scoring, where a potential customer’s interest in your products or services are considered. Customers with the top lead scores are put at the top of the queue.
Also, some of these CRM platforms can prioritize the outreach date for customers. For instance, clients with an upcoming renewal date can be flagged for follow-up.
CRM platforms can also help with following up. They can be automated so sales representatives don’t have to manually create notepads or write notes on their desks. Such systems allow your team members to follow up at the right time, converting more customers and improving the experience of existing customers.
CRM Platforms and Marketing
CRM platforms are now considered game-changers in marketing because they offer personalization options, helpful insights, and other testing opportunities that help turn leads into sales.
We know that data is consolidated in a CRM. And because everything is in one place, it is easier to interpret patterns and data to find opportunities that may lead to better profitability.
For instance, businesses can check what common characteristics their leads share so they can offer them better value. This allows them to focus on specific advertising campaigns and prevent spending on unnecessary things.
Also, this allows businesses to think of possible purchase combinations or packages that increase sales.
CRM platforms allow you to send the right message to the right customer when he needs it. Since CRMs can be connected to sales and marketing automation tools, you can easily send text messages or emails based on specific action triggers.
For example, a lead just clicked on an email promotion. You can then follow up with another email that engages them. And if you are successful, you can then create an action for a sales representative to call them.
More Improvement Opportunities
The key to marketing is constant testing, and a powerful CRM can help you plan everything you wanted to happen: send text blasts, create promos, or put up effective ads. Instead of trusting your instincts, data from your CRM proves helpful in driving profitability.
How to Get Started with a CRM
The best way to maximize your CRM platform and grow your business is to fully understand what it is and how to use it. Below is a guide on how to get started.
Step 1 – Get everyone on board
Most people resist change because of fear – fear of failure, fear of losing what they already have, or even fear of success. But think about this, if everything goes great after you make a change, what’s there to be afraid of?
One way to show them that there is nothing left to lose and everything worth gaining is to create an infographic or blog post showing how they will benefit from making a change as soon as possible, instead of waiting until tomorrow or next month, or next year.
People will never want anything if you make them wait until later. But people will do everything if you give them enough reasons why NOW is better than later.
A key component of any successful CRM implementation is getting support from your executive management team. Getting stakeholders on board before launch day can greatly increase your chances of success and prevent delays in getting valuable software up and running in no time.
The easiest way to secure buy-in from executives is to get their input as early as possible and make them feel like they are part of every step of your process, from choosing a provider all the way through end-user training at go-live day!
Step 2 – Choose the correct CRM for your organization
Your first step is choosing which CRM software will be best for your organization. It’s important that you do some research into what options are available and if they will meet your business needs while being affordable enough for you to implement successfully.
Also, think about how other companies similar in size and industry have implemented a CRM software solution and how their experience might help inform your decision-making process.
For example, if you know an organization like yours has had success with a particular vendor, it might increase your confidence that that vendor is a good fit for you, too.
Here are some of the most popular CRM platforms today:
- Copper – It can be easily integrated with G Suite, which is ideal if you are using Gmail every day. Copper can be quickly installed, too. Once it’s ready, you can try its features, such as smart identification, sales contact optimization, and automated data entry.
- LACRM – Also called Less Annoying CRM, this platform is best for small businesses because it comes in an all-inclusive package that allows you to manage tasks, track leads, and make follow-ups.
- Salesmate – It is a CRM platform for sales representatives who prefer to make sales over learning new apps. However, businesses in the construction and real estate sectors can benefit from it, too. This tool has features for deal management, live chat, and deal management. Plus, it has an interactive and customizable dashboard.
- Keap – A CRM and a sales and marketing automation software tool, Keap is designed to help small businesses in following up with leads and schedule appointments. It also simplifies payment methods and creates landing pages.
- Daylite – This CRM software is designed for Macs, iPads, and iPhones. It’s a great platform for organizations with about 100 members and planning to build their client list. It comes with a set of tools for sales and marketing, and it can be used by all departments so everyone stays in the loop about what’s going on with a certain project.
Step 3 – Evaluate your sales team’s needs and identify your goals
Now that you know what CRM platforms are available today, the next step is to evaluate your sales team’s needs and goals for implementing a CRM solution.
For your sales team’s transition from manual to automatic processes to be successful, they must be involved in choosing a system that will meet their unique needs and deliver value for them as individuals and as a group.
Additionally, if possible, have an SME (subject matter expert) conduct interviews with members of your sales team, or simply ask each member individually what they need from an ideal CRM system. Take notes on what everyone says.
Once you’ve done that, write down all of their answers into one list and review them together so you can make sure nothing important was missed.
Also, you want to outline your goals, too. These goals should be very specific that produce tangible results. This way, you can easily measure your organization’s performance within a set period. With clearly defined goals, it will be easy for you to create a realistic action plan.
Your goals can be as simple as reducing the chances of encountering the vzwpix.com email virus by 20% by implementing stricter email policies.
Here are some examples dedicated to your business that are worth considering:
|Increase monthly leads to 20%||Assess your current communication channels to see where leads are coming from. And then, focus your efforts on the channel that give you the most number of leads.|
|Convert 25% of the monthly leads into sales||Roll out high-value emails on a monthly basis to give information and value to your leads. This will also help them consider your products and services should they need them in the future.|
|Improve month-on-month revenue by 20%||Pitch your products and services to major brands that may benefit from them.|
Step 4 – Assemble your core team
It is important to build a CRM team dedicated to ensuring your CRM platform is used properly and implemented correctly across the organization. The team doesn’t necessarily have to run the platform. The members can be existing employees with roles that can significantly benefit from a CRM.
Below are some members you need to have onboard your CRM implementation team:
- Project Manager – This person will be in charge of the system. He is responsible for making sure the platform is used as planned and provides access to end-users.
- IT Infrastructure Manager – This person oversees the implementation of tools required during the implementation. He plays a critical role in supporting the project manager in case technical issues arise.
- Sales Team Manager – This person oversees the information being processed and collected by the system once it is implemented.
Step 5 – Explain the implementation process
Once you have everyone on the same page, the next step is to discuss with them what happens before, during, and after the implementation of your new CRM platform. Tell the members of your organization what is your chosen CRM platform and how it benefits everyone.
It also helps to set a timeline so everyone can prepare for the change. And most importantly, let them know if there are things they have to do on their end. Will they have to download anything like the Microsoft AC adapter driver? Will they experience a sleep-wake failure on Mac during the implementation? Inform them ahead so as not to shock them.
Step 6 – Set up the IT infrastructure you need
The cornerstone of most business systems is a quality IT infrastructure. Without it, your organization will suffer from security risks, poor performance, and expensive overhead that stifles productivity and growth. In short, you can’t have a fully functional business without an effective IT infrastructure.
If you’re not sure how to set up your CRM platform and integrate it with your IT infrastructure, consider hiring a professional who can do it for you. It’s often worth paying someone else if they’re going to do something more quickly or efficiently than you could on your own (or if they know something about technology that you don’t).
Then again, most CRM platforms offer implementation support, especially for businesses that are starting. Others even go the extra mile, conducting training sessions to help everyone in the company be familiar with the tool.
As a business owner, your task is to make sure everything works together. After setting up the new CRM platform, test its integration with other applications in your business system.
Step 7 – Define setting customizations
This is a crucial step in the CRM implementation plan. CRMs generally have a vast range of settings that can be adjusted to meet your organization’s needs, such as:
- Custom fields
- Company settings and profile
- User permissions
- Mail sending policy
- Admin settings
For you to be able to build around these functions, consider revisiting your customer journey. This will guide you during the planning phase. It will also save you time in the future since your CRM will be user-ready!
Step 8 – Implement a pilot program
Before you officially implement your CRM, it’s a good idea to run a pilot program. Use that as an opportunity to fine-tune your implementation strategy and identify any possible issues before you roll it out throughout the organization.
You’ll also want to use your pilot program as an opportunity to train employees on how they’ll use their new CRM system on a daily basis. Remember that training is key! You can’t expect employees to be experts with their new software right away. Be sure they know how everything works before you put them into production mode.
Step 9 – Training Your Sales Force
CRM Software Most implementation failures aren’t due to a lack of software features; they result from bad training and inadequate customer support. So, follow the important steps to ensure your employees are trained properly and empowered with all of the information they need for success, both before and after launch day.
Make sure to get your team’s feedback to know how you can further improve your CRM. It’s a good practice to collect feedback from them to avoid issues and roadblocks.
Once you have completed these steps, there is nothing left but for your sales force to go out there and sell! What are you waiting for? Go forth and conquer!
Implementing your first CRM software can be an exciting time, but it can also be a daunting experience. However, if you have the right information and tools, implementing a CRM system can be not only easier than you think but also more successful as well.
The key to success when implementing a CRM system lies in your ability to manage the project efficiently and effectively, and even newbies can do that with the right advice, tips, and tools! To ensure that your implementation is successful, it’s important to have a plan in place beforehand and know where you will get help along the way.
If you are struggling with anything at all, chances are, there is someone in your network who has already gone through what you’re going through now and they’re happy to help (for free) if you reach out and ask!