[Did You Know] The 5 Crucial Steps for Successful CRM Implementation
March 13, 2018 | Nabanita Nag
Customer Relationship Management aka CRM systems has revolutionized the way businesses interact, evaluate and retain customers. CRM works by organizing, automating and synchronizing marketing, sales, customer service and technical support in order to foster stronger relationships with your existing and future customers. In short, a CRM software helps your sales team in closing more deals!
Sounds awesome, right? But, why then 30% to 60% of all CRM projects end in failure? And as the failure rate varies very little for different CRM technologies, one can safely say that the real problem here is the way CRM is implemented.
The problem with most businesses is that they consider CRM implementation a one-time event. And why not? You purchase the CRM software once, you set it up once and of course, you expect it to straighten out the sales cycles and bring back all the lost leads. Unfortunately, implementing a CRM is not such a straightforward job. In reality, CRM implementation is a long-term process that starts even before you start looking for a CRM software. Confused? Well, don’t be.
Here are the proven 5 steps for ensuring CRM success.
Step 1: Identify the problem
It sounds super-cliched, agreed! But, identifying the problem is the foundation for building all solutions, not just CRM systems. So, even before you start looking for a software, make sure to identify the problem areas in your sales cycle. And, these following questions will help you in this regard.
- How many touch points your customers have with your business? And what are these touch points?
- How well managed these touch points are?
- How much time you and your team members invest in gathering customer information from sources such as emails, call records, sticky notes or even obscure scribbles here and there?
- How many customers are there in your sales pipeline right now? And how much revenue you are likely to achieve in next week or next month?
Chances are, you cannot answer these questions at a glance. And here lies the problem. With a successfully implemented CRM system in place, you should be able to answer these questions at a glance.
Step 2: Make your team understand the value of a CRM
You may be the owner or the decision maker of the business, but you alone cannot ensure that every single one of your employees use the CRM as they should. In fact, most CRM implementation fails because of minimal employee buy-in.
So, how to solve the problem? Remember, human beings by nature are somewhat resistant to changes. And thus, your employees are likely to continue the way they were working UNLESS you can show them some real value.
The fact is your sales team is real busy. And if they don’t understand the value a CRM brings to them, they are just going to take it as another mundane task. As a result, feeding actual data to the CRM will take a back seat.
Here are the things that you can do to ensure team member buy-in:
- Show them how the CRM will save them tons of time.
- Show them how they can identify and target prospects with better sales potential and thus reach their sales goals.
- Show them how CRM can predict the tentative revenue figures for next week, month or quarter depending on prospect data and how these figures can help them understand when to boost efforts.
Once your sales team understand how the CRM can help them achieve their revenue targets, they’ll definitely be more interested in using it.
Step 3: Customize the CRM as per your business process
Every business has a unique sales process. And it is essential that your CRM fits into it. Trying to fit your business process into the CRM can only lead to frustration and failure. This is why, a horizontal CRM is not always a great idea.
Sure, you can simply purchase a CRM software and start feeding data to it. But, would it reflect your business process exactly as it is? No. And this will hinder CRM adoption and functionality.
In case you do not have a very straightforward sales cycle (which very few businesses have), customizing your CRM as per your business process is crucial for success.
Remember, CRM is not technology for technology’s sake. It is supposed to reflect your entire business process and keep all data in one place. In case, you don’t have the in-house expertise to customize the CRM system you’ve purchased, it is better to get professional help for implementation. Of course, it would mean additional investment, but it would also ensure CRM success and in turn more revenue.
Step 4: Deploy the CRM and put a strategy in place
Even after customizing the CRM as per your business process the implementation is not complete. Once you deploy the CRM you need to zero in on a CRM strategy without any delay. The way to get your CRM strategy in place is a simple one. Simply tick-off the following checklist and your team is ready to use the CRM on daily basis.
- Create roles and profiles for team members
- Setup workflow automation (if any)
- Setup lead assignment rules
- Setup the sales reports you want to view on the dashboard
- Setup the sales report schedules
- Migrate previous data
Once you have done all these, your CRM is now ready for day-to-day use.
Step 5: Training and Feedback
Training is an integral part of CRM deployment. If you want your sales team to use the CRM extensively, you need to get them trained in it too. However, training your entire sales team at once might prove to be a difficult task. The wise thing to do here is to train the key opinion leaders such as managers and supervisors. Once they understand the in and out of the system, they can train their immediate subordinates.
Another important thing that businesses often overlook is the feedback part. Once your CRM implementation is complete and your team starts working with the system, gathering regular feedback on how the system is helping them or where the system can improve can go a long way in enhancing your CRM further.
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