The customer relationship management (CRM) market has already reached $57.83 billion! Many current CRM users are either larger companies moving to cloud CRM as a cheaper option for them, or new startups because they tend to go cloud-first and use many cloud facilities. But where does that leave small to mid-size businesses who are yet to start their CRM implementation process?
Implementing CRM productivity software is clearly popular. It can improve sales by
- ensuring that valuable client and prospect data and contacts are not lost over time or when someone leaves the company,
- helping to boost conversion rates with a deep understanding of your customer,
- increasing good lead generation and customer lifetime satisfaction, and
- pointing towards possibilities for new business development with data-driven insights.
But introducing CRM is a process – and a process involves following the right steps to make it a good implementation.
So let’s look at the topic in more detail.
What is Customer Relationship Management?
CRM is a software solution to provide
- centralized knowledge gathered from everywhere,
- insights to feed marketing and sales campaigns
- excellent support for clients, with a centralized dashboard.
This last point puts your sales interactions on a personalized level, thus improving customer experience and avoiding anyone falling between the cracks.
In addition, when you have a good CRM system in place, you can be more successful at identifying and marketing to your ideal customers.
A good CRM system, therefore, allows you to relate to your customers from a position of strength and knowledge that makes sense both for your business and your customers.
What is a Good CRM Implementation Process?
There are several steps you should consider when putting together your own CRM implementation. Here are our top three:
1 The Right People
You need to put together a team or teams to take responsibility for implementing the CRM and the day-to-day running of it, ensuring it’s updated regularly.
The CRM implementation process should therefore be easy for them to follow and understand – they should be able to use it without getting lost in the details or overwhelmed by jargon!
This means you need to consider those who’re willing and able to perform the tasks required by your proposed CRM system. They may not be the most obvious people but they will be those who understand what is to be achieved and how best to do it.
In other words, who will own the CRM and its integration?
2 Joining Up Your Systems
You now need to consider this integration: how you’ll link your CRM software to your other systems.
The aim is to create an all-in-one system where marketing or selling people and your customers can communicate using all the detail from various sources that will now be present and available on dashboards.
This creates an environment that eliminates separate systems and time-consuming consultations between employees before action can be taken.
You’ll need to consider, too, how to implement permissions in order to avoid unauthorized visibility of sensitive information in different areas of the CRM. This is another important step in a successful CRM implementation process!
For example, customers should be able to view information relevant to them, such as key documents, but not any messaging between your staff members!
In other words, make sure you have a plan for your system integration.
3 Data Management
You will be accruing data in various forms: emails, addresses, customer pain points, previous meetings or calls – and much more. How will you manage it? Or standardize it? This consideration is another important step in the CRM integration process.
Data management makes up a large part of any good CRM implementation process. That’s because, without it, you won’t be able to track your leads and customers effectively – which means you won’t be able to use analytics to improve your product or service.
After all, accruing of data – all in one place – is a chief reason you’re considering a CRM implementation!
In other words, your data pool is what will help you improve your sales strategy going forward. How will you manage, analyze it, and use it?
A Good CRM Implementation Plan Has Three Qualities
The process outlined above needs a plan! Make sure:
It’s clear and concise. It should be easy to understand, even by people who aren’t experts in CRM.
It’s flexible. The implementation plan should adjust as your needs change over time, so that it can grow with you.
It’s actionable. It should tell you what to do – and when – so that you can get started right away on implementing the process.
The Process Includes One Final Step: Customization.
CRM systems have come a long way in terms of their flexibility and usability out of the box for a wide range of businesses. Nonetheless, to set up an effective CRM system, you will probably need to customize it somewhat to your unique business needs.
Answering these questions will help guide you during the CRM implementation process:
- What problem is my organization trying to solve with this CRM implementation process?
- What’s my current data like? Are there duplicates to merge, or a standardization of formats?
- Who else will be using this system? Who needs which authorization?
- Which of the many features do I really need? Over-complicated systems militate against proper use.
- How will I customize the features I choose? Have I thought this through?
- What are some of the pitfalls to avoid? See below!
- Who should I involve in this customizing?
- Should I consider a trial period and then review and adjust?
- How much time and money is implementation going to require?
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Implementing a CRM process.
Implementing a perfect (or even good) CRM process takes trial and error! However, you can learn from others’ mistakes. Here’s what to avoid when implementing your own CRM process. We’ve touched on some already.
- Not having a clear goal in mind for your CRM implementation.
- Omitting to set up metrics and KPIs for the system you want to implement.
- Failing to leverage the capabilities of the CRM for pipeline and sales process management.
- Sales and marketing people being unwilling to use the new system – change management needed in this case!
- Not providing training to employees on how to be effective with the new system.
- Failing to shop around for the best CRM software for your needs.
Getting Started With CRM Implementation
You need to be careful not to rush the steps outlined above. Your implementation will only be as good as the information you put into the software – hence the importance of being thorough.
Here at 360 Consulting, we help businesses like yours to achieve sales goals in the most efficient way possible. If you think undertaking a CRM implementation process is right for you, contact us today to schedule a consultation!