When implementing a new software or tool for the company, we always want it to be done in the most optimal way and to make the most of everything it has to offer. In the end, the investment is not only money but also time, energy, and resources.
We know that, like any tool, the value of a CRM system depends on how well it is implemented. And not knowing the right steps to take could cost you more than you think. Here are 5 steps to follow for a successful implementation:
- Identify your most difficult problems and needs.
- Research and develop a budget
- Organize and migrate your customer information into your CRM.
- Create an implementation plan through phases
- Review, re-evaluate and adjust
Identify your most difficult problems and needs
Before purchasing any software, tool, or resource you really need to find out what you need. Implementing a CRM should not only be about making sure your customers are being served, but also about ensuring that your business processes are as efficient and effective as possible.
Therefore, it is time for an interview with your business. For this, you should ask yourself some questions related to generalities, sales process, marketing, and customer service. Here are a few that might help you get started:
- What do you expect the CRM to do?
- Where is the data right now?
- What is the biggest problem with my current process? How will CRM solve that problem?
- Are you introducing a new system for the whole organization or just a part of your organization?
- What will happen if you don't implement CRM?
Questions related to the sales process:
- How does my sales team contact a customer right now?
- How do you store the data of those customers or the interaction you or your team have had with them?
- Where are the biggest problems in the sales process?
- How can my CRM solve those problems?
- Have you been able to map your entire customer journey?
- How do you measure the performance of your sales team?
- Are there aspects of the sales process that can be automated?
Questions related to marketing and its impact on sales:
- What marketing strategies are you implementing?
- At what point does your marketing team know that a prospect is really interested?
- How do you measure performance in marketing strategies?
- Are there aspects of the marketing process that can be automated?
We invite you to read more about marketing and sales alignment on our blog: Smarketing: Tips to align Marketing and Sales
Questions related to customer service:
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the current process?
- Do you have a way to record and follow up on a problem?
- How do you measure the performance of the customer service team?
- Are there aspects of the customer service process that can be automated?
Once you have answered these questions, you will know how to pick your battles. Purchasing a tool without considering the needs of the business can result in the implementation not meeting expectations. Therefore, focusing on solving your problems will help you find the best tool to solve them, rather than choosing a tool with shiny features that only solve half of your needs in the end.
By now you should have a list of things that will help you solve your new CRM. So, what you need to do now is to find the best option that meets those requirements. It is time to go to the next step.
Research and develop a budget
Now that you know what you hope to achieve, it's time to find out which is the best option. Along with the features you need for your business, take note of things like pricing or whether the system integrates with other applications you are using or considering using in the future.
There are several CRM options, take the time to research exactly what you want to help solve your CRM, we advise making a list of possible vendors and evaluate them according to their features, capabilities, requirements, available modules, or add-on compatibility. In addition, it is important to consider the vendor's strength and experience in the market and whether they have help or support material in case problems or queries arise.
Remember to understand the various costs associated with implementation, assessing the number of users who will use the system and the features you need is essential to ensure that costs are within your budget. Ask yourself:
- Will you implement the solution yourself or hire an implementation partner?
- What is your budget to implement the new technology?
- Are you willing to purchase a full license or are you looking for department-specific add-ons?
- How many users need to use the system?
- How large do you expect your database to be?
- What is your budget to implement the new technology?
Many businesses starting their journey with a new CRM implement a simple solution on their own, and while self-implementing CRM can be cost-effective in the short term, we advise you to have an experienced implementation partner to help you get the most out of the tool by helping you efficiently design and customize the solution to meet the organization’s needs, integrate it with other business systems, and provide training and support for improved success.
Organize and migrate your customer data into your CRM
Data is the new oil and a vital element of your CRM. Therefore, it must be clean, viable and accurate. Whether the implementation takes a short period of time or much longer depends on this.
If, on the other hand, you do not have any customer information now, it is the right time to sort out what kind of information you need to have and how you can get it.
Read more about what you can do with your CRM data
According to a Salesforce study, 70% of customer data becomes outdated or inaccurate annually, and this data can cost companies big losses. For example, DiscoverOrg conducted a study and found that sales and marketing departments were losing approximately 550 hours and up to $32,000 per sales rep per year.
In short, the right data will give you better results, here are some recommendations for auditing your database:
- Locate and collect all your customer information.
- Use the results of step 1 to organize the information according to your needs.
- prioritize customer information by value to your business.
- Eliminate any duplicate and incorrect information.
- Add any missing information.
- Create a uniform system for data entry.
- Repeat the audit process at least once a year.
Storing correct and audited data in a CRM will help you in your daily tasks in the following ways:
- You can send automatic mailings with membership renewal reminders when you are close to a renewal date.
- You can quickly and realistically see the role, organization, and key points of a contact.
- Provide proper tracking of sales processes, e.g., how long it takes you to close sales (on average).
I invite you to review your contact database so that you can move your records smoothly to your new home.
Create a phased implementation plan
Implementing a new tool or software can be challenging, not only because of the process that the system itself entails, but also because of changes in staff logistics. An abrupt implementation can cause your staff to feel overwhelmed by the new system, which greatly increases the likelihood of CRM failure due to low user adoption rates.
Therefore, we advise you to follow these steps for each of the phases:
- Prepare your team for change
Involve all project participants and provide them with the necessary impetus, explanations, and strategic guidance for the implementation. You can do this by doing the following:
- Inform them of the change by means of communications.
- Explain to your employees how they will benefit from keeping everything in the CRM.
- Generate curiosity among employees by asking their expectations of the new system.
- Show them that you are interested in everyone being able to use the tool rather than throwing them out of the nest in the hope that they will fly.
- Analyze the processes and needs of each department
This analysis consists of identifying how the CRM will contribute to improve or automate the different tasks of your direct users. This will help you define which configurations within the tool, and which reports you will need.
- Implementing the tool
Once the processes have been defined, it is time to configure the CRM. Here we advise a technical and functional intervention through an experienced technology partner, if this is not possible, liaise with your CRM provider to ensure the success of the project. Don't forget to integrate the tools that the CRM allows you to use. From our experience with Hubspot CRM and Salesforce, some integration elements are emails, chat, calls, complaint tickets, blog, social networks, eCommerce, among many others.
- Getting up and running
Once you have configured and integrated the different components, it is necessary that the whole team is ready to use the tool and adopt a new working methodology, if your team does not understand how to use the CRM, they simply will not do it. This requires initial training of the users and validation by each of them in their own environment. We advise you to continue to make an adjustment at this stage.
- Transition management
Once the implementation has been carried out, the adoption of the tool must be closely monitored, support must be provided to users, and corrective and evolutionary maintenance of the application must be managed. For this, the recommendation in the research and budget point that your CRM provider has educational material or support is vital.
Create a system for correct data entry and a system for regular data audits. This means that they all follow the same rules for:
- Naming conventions
- Duplicate data
- Missing data
- A process for handling unknown data scenarios
Review, re-evaluate and adjust
Once the new CRM is in place, it is important to step back and evaluate the results. It's tempting to move on to the next big thing after your system is up and running, but the first few months are crucial to a successful implementation. Have your lead implementer schedule meetings with the team to gather feedback, resolve issues that arise, and ensure that key features are not neglected.
In the end, a CRM implementation process comes down to 3 key questions:
- Do you know what you need and why you need it?
- Can you process your customer data?
- Do you have a system in place to make your customer data processable?
If you can answer "Yes" to these questions, you are much more likely to succeed with the launch of your CRM. Follow the 5 steps above, this will lead to a successful CRM implementation.