Implementing Customer Relationship Management software in your business is one of the first steps to grow in the industry and expand your work to your customers. We have understood how CRM helps to improve customer communications and enhances business relationships. CRM is primarily used to streamline daily operations and allows businesses to concentrate on their clients. Whether it is Public Relations or consulting firms, there is always a need for communication among the staff members to run the business smoothly. CRM helps to build relationships among members of the team and helps them to coordinate with each other. The team members will use CRM to generate and nurture leads, reach out to clients, and build relationships with the contacts from where the most outcome could be expected.
As we have understood the benefits of CRM, it is important for you to fully comprehend the type of CRM that is going to be implemented and the correct way of implementing the software. The CRM implementation process is one of the hardest tasks that moderns businesses face. Each organization may have its own needs from the CRM software and have to face many challenges during the implementation process. Let us look at a few of the most applied ways of implementing CRM, which have led to successful business processes, in a detailed manner.
How to Implement CRM in an Organisation?
As explained, every organization has its own needs from the CRM system and a guide to how to implement a CRM system may be different among companies. However, here are a few of the generic steps that one has to follow to implement CRM in an organization that would lead to better communication among team members and customers.
1. Building a CRM Implementation team
At a basic level, a CRM Implementation team should consist of a project manager, application analyst, application developer, QA test engineer, and representatives from sales managers, sales team, marketing managers, marketing team, customer service representatives. When a CRM is implemented, it is crucial to know how each member is contributing to the project of implementation. An ideal team should contain specialists, advocates, and workhorses to make the process successful.
- The advocates are the seniors of the organization who explain why change is necessary for the system. The objective here for the advocates is to sell the idea of change to the workforce. Winning over the key user groups is crucial for any change to take place in the company.
- The specialists carry out the planning process of the implementation. They ensure that the system is set up correctly and the data migrates.
- Workhorses are the ones that follow the guidance of the specialists (testing, migration).
Your business team is always there to help you with the CRM implementation from the time they realize its importance to the business. More than 60% of the businesses have implemented CRM and increased their efficiency and gained higher functionality in their business.
2. Strategizing a change management plan
This step could be done in the following ways:
Assessing the weaknesses and strengths of the CRM implementation team:
The management plan should include exactly what is needed from the CRM and the gaps in the system along with the plan to fill these gaps. You may consider hiring a CRM implementation consultant, to guide you with the management plan.
Planning how the team will manage after the CRM implementation:
These changes include breaking down the project into manageable stages such as User engagement and training, Go-live, Data Migration, Testing. You can use Google docs or flip board paper to be consistent and have regular check-ins on the implementation.
Communicating changes to the stakeholders:
This step interprets that the staff should be given clarity on what a CRM is being implemented. The staff can be allowed to provide their thoughts and feedback and also time to adjust to the changes. Clarity of why a CRM is being implemented, how the process will go on, and how much time the process would take should be explained to the stakeholders such that they also have an idea about the process and can anticipate the changes that would affect their work life.
3. Forecasting a CRM Implementation Budget
Always having a budget for the CRM Implementation would be better as there are chances of overspending whether it is during purchasing the software, wasting staff hours, or due to adding bespoke features. Most often, project managers do not consider how far the implementation cost can range and it brings into question whether the CRM implementation is cost-effective to roll out. Using the following strategy a proper CRM implementation budget can be devised.
Having an account for everything
Always plan for everything and do not stick to only count the obvious costs. Calculating the reduced productivity during the go-live period and adding costs of various factors such as consultancy fees, staff overtime, travel, training, other vendor implementation services ( e.g. data migration, customization, project management.) would give a proper baseline number for the team to work with.
Having clarity about the benefits of the new software and quantifying would give a picture of how the CRM implementation has helped and how much it has cost.
Conducting a risk assessment
Looking at what instances and scenarios could generate and assessing what can go wrong is one of the main factors to look for in CRM implementation. Suppose a company encounters technical risk, an extra layer of features to the existing CRM may not work extensively also, another company may be facing the challenge of training 1500 workers which requires altogether different budgets. Hence, a risk assessment would help the company to develop a realistic budget.
4. Rolling out the CRM implementation
Successfully rolling out the CRM may be a topic to be discussed altogether. However, the primary question remains what is the purpose of CRM implementation, and if it fits the company’s purpose. In a real-life example, training the line managers of the substantial users in more depth would be more beneficial as they can pass the knowledge as the CRM rolls out to the team, in contrast to having generic training to staff as training days to keep the key point across. Here are a few techniques to roll out the CRM implementation.
CRM data migration would be effective when the company has clarity in its plan. This should cover your need to migrate and how it will function in the new CRM. Once high-brief is achieved, this could be worked out better. Few popular tactics are to download and upload using excel and CSV, but they may fall short while providing the results. Also, making changes to the data once it has been uploaded could be a tough challenge as the new CRM uses data in different ways. Often CRMs have support to fix this problem, but the level of customization would mean that the process is manual.
A successful user training would include a mix of face-to-face and online practices which would include managers who could support their team. Getting teams out of the office for a day would be a beneficial approach as it gives the trainees the mental space and sends out the message that training is important.
Consulting the IT staff on the implementation would be the best way to approach testing the system. Scheduling a pre-go-live for Integration testing, usability testing, stress testing, performance testing, functional testing, system testing, and acceptance testing would be great ways to approach the testings of CRM implementation.
5. Planning and Initiating the CRM go-live
Great training and migration yield the best go-live periods. When the set up becomes appropriate, it eases the process of CRM implementation. Likewise, there are a few tactics that can enhance the speed of this phase. Planning the following would make sure that the go-live would run as smoothly as possible:
- Identifying the metrics for the project evaluation
- Scheduling the required overtime for the staff
- Building a strategy for communication for the system downtime
- Checking the network speed and reliability
- Processes of data backup
- Post-go-live testings
6. Evaluating the success of the CRM implementation
Building a dashboard that pulls out the key data and trying to have tracks and targets relentlessly against this data would be a great start to evaluate the CRM implementation. Few of the key metrics used are:
Reviews the number of actions that have been on the system by the user.
checking whether the records are being updated as it checks whether the users are engaging with the CRM as many users may neglect this part while managing their data.
An audit to assess the input happening is one of the best ways to check the quality of the CRM implementation.
When we look at the broader business metrics, it may become difficult to attribute them to one variable which is the new CRM. When the deeper assessment is done whether the implementation of CRM has caused an increase in the rise in sales or any other business profit, then the new CRM could be evaluated effectively.
Implementing a new CRM may be daunting at the beginning, but once these proper steps are followed, the work becomes hassle-free. Of course, there would always be challenges such as resistance or training the employees. But overcoming these challenges, strategizing a change management plan, forecasting a budget for the CRM implementation, rolling out, and evaluating the results are simple steps that the organization has to follow to implement a successful CRM software in their company.
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