60% of businesses implement a CRM(Customer Relationship Management) system to increase efficiency and gain greater functionality in their business.
But, CRM system implementation is one of the most complex processes executed by modern businesses.
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Finding and implementing the right CRM at the right time is difficult. Unfortunately, the challenges faced in CRM implementation are many, and most organizations lack a process with enough planning.
So, what makes a successful CRM implementation?
Well, tried and tested methods and CRM implementation best practices, if followed step-by-step, can lead to organizational success. So, without further ado, let us understand the steps you need to take for making CRM software implementation a hit.
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Build A CRM Implementation Team
Before you start implementing CRM system, make sure you have the right team with you. These include-
- Project manager
- Application analyst
- Application developer
- QA test engineer
- Sales team
- Sales managers
- Marketing managers
- Project managers
- Customer service representatives
Moreover, it is essential to consider each member’s role in your CRM implementation project. On a larger scale, you will need advocates, specialists, and workhorses to make your implementation team a successful one.
Advocates are seniors in the organization and will help team members understand why the change is happening. There is always some resistance when something new happens, and they will act as a balancing force. Besides, these people have a solid understanding of CRM system implementation and ensure that the system is set correctly and data migration is handled well.
In-house Specialists will help you deal better with vendors and smoothen out issues faced during the roll-out period.
Workhorses are important as they follow specialists’ guidelines, manage new users, and make sure they are using the system effectively.
Your implementation team is the one that will help you run your CRM, so pick up people who will support you in your endeavor.
Create A Change Management Plan
A change management plan can be different for every organization, but some common steps that can aid the transition include:
- Analyzing the strengths/weaknesses of your CRM implementation team
- Working with advocates, specialists, and workhorses to make the change a reality.
- Identifying the gaps and expertise you have and how to overcome them
While companies can be deficient at all levels, the most overlooked team members include the advocates. Of course, you could also look at hiring a consultant, but they can be costly.
Before appointing a team, make sure you consider their capabilities and understand if they are tech-savvy or not. Besides, are they open to your CRM system implementation plan?
The next step is to plan how you’ll manage the change brought about by CRM system implementation. This needs breaking down the project into achievable stages and creating key milestones, including:
- User training and engagement
- Data migration
Make sure you devise a way to keep track of the project. You can choose to do it in Google docs, spreadsheets, or any other method your team is comfortable with. The whole idea behind this step is to-
- Provide your staff clarity on why you are implementing a new CRM
- Allow them to provide thoughts and feedback, and
- Help them adjust to the change
Luckily, you can enroll your members with ease and eventually make sure that each member has a clear view of what is happening and how it will impact their work life.
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Forecast a CRM Implementation Budget
Well, the cost of CRM system implementation can make or break your project. From paying too much for customization to wasted staff hours, you need to be extremely careful when planning your budget.
Often managers do not consider the full extent of these costs and cannot figure out if the whole exercise is worth it or not. To eliminate any last surprises, follow these steps.
1. Account for Everything
These don’t just include the obvious costs. You will need to plan for everything, including reduced productivity during the period your CRM goes live. Besides, you should have a good baseline number to work with. Some of the parameters that require your attention include
- Consultancy fees
- Vendor implementation services
- Staff overtime
- Phone costs
- Data backup and storage
2. Review the Payoff
Before you make a plan to implement CRM system, make sure it will make your job easier, and you can quantify its benefits. This exercise can help you rethink your decision, as after getting a number, most organizations don’t plan to implement a CRM. This does not mean that CRMs are not good, but the ROI can differ from software to software.
3. Conduct a Risk Assessment
There can be several risks, including possible mismanagement, technical risks, security-related issues, and others. You might need to train your employees for the same and include it in your budget.
Roll Out your CRM
Coming to the scariest part of CRM system implementation, rolling out the CRM! For this, you will need to cover a host of parameters and get your planning right. Training is an integral part of this transition, and giving your staff a few days to get accustomed can help you in the short and long term.
You can train the line managers so that they can pass on the knowledge to their team. Here are a few steps you will need to take to ensure successful CRM system implementation.
1. Data Migration
CRM data migration is effective when you have a clear plan. It is suggested that you make a migration brief and use it in the implementation process.
Well, downloading and uploading using Excel is the most popular but is not that great when it comes to achieving tangible benefits. finalManipulating the data once it has been fed can be challenging. Besides, most CRMs will have apps to provide support – but the level of customization may vary.
Before migrating, we suggest you cleanse your data of any out-of-date information, just like your spring cleaning regime!
2. CRM User Training
The most successful training sessions are a mix of face-to-face and online practice activities. Getting teams out of the office for a day or two is very important. Not only does it give your teammates the mental space, but it also sends out the clear message – that the training is important!
3. System Testing
We suggest that you leave the system testing part to the IT staff on your implementation team as they know what they’re doing. Have a consultation with them and schedule in time pre-go-live for:
- System testing
- Functional testing
- Stress testing
- Performance testing
- Usability testing
- Acceptance testing
- Integration testing
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Plan and Initiate your CRM Go-live
Go-live periods are a product of good training and migration. If you have done the necessary groundwork, the process will be simplified to a great extent. However, there are some tactics you can use to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.
- Staff scheduling, including required overtime/temporary staff
- Identifying the right metrics for project evaluation
- Developing a communication strategy for system downtime
- Analyzing network speed and conducting reliability checks
- Streamlining data backup processes
- Post-go-live testing
Most companies try to go live in one day. To sort this process, you can phase the process in several stages and let your team adjust to it. This will allow you to spot bugs and see how your employees are responding.
A second tactic is to have an easy-to-use ticketing system where users can log issues and errors. Then, make sure you take care of these points and solve them before turning them into major issues.
Evaluate Your CRM Implementation
Now that you successfully implemented your CRM, you will need to build a dashboard that pulls out key data and tracks it. Again, you need to be very thorough about the key metrics and decide how it looks.
1. System Activity
This involves reviewing the number of discrete actions completed by a user on the system. It is helpful as it serves as a high-level check to see that users log in and actually understand and use the system.
2. Record Updates
If the CRM requires certain records to be updated, like people or clients on the system, this is an indicator that users are engaging with the CRM.
3. Business Metrics
Analyzing the business metrics is difficult as it is hard to find one variable. For instance, if your revenue increased by 40%, the cause needs to be addressed and prompt deeper assessment.
It will be great if you can connect the performance to your CRM. For instance, your revenue increased by 40%, and at the same time, your appointment conversion is up by 15%, and email reply rates are up 22%. In this manner, you can be confident that your CRM is adding value.
This was all about how you can manage CRM system implementation and get your metrics right. We understand it is hard work, but these tips can make your journey a little easier.
Are you still looking for the right CRM for your organization? Then, let us help you find the best one!