If you’ve decided to implement a new or updated CRM solution, you might think your job is over when you’ve selected a full-featured, flexible CRM system such as Microsoft Dynamics 365/CRM. But really, there is some important work ahead. As important as it is to choose the right product, it’s equally important that it be implemented properly so your organization can fully realize its benefits and quickly see your ROI (return on investment.)
Here are five rules that will save your business time and expense on your CRM implementation project:
It’s nice to think that you could maintain all your present business processes and customize a CRM solution to match. That’s unrealistic. It’s also unrealistic to expect you to scrap all of your business processes and just let the software dictate to you. Choose a “happy medium” approach. Select a software solution that has adequate configuration capabilities considering your current practices and future growth plans. Next, consult with your power users who know what processes could or should not be changed. For time and cost savings, avoid overcustomization. Approach your implementation in steps that include at least one pilot phase to make sure that the final deployment will accurately reflect your organization’s and users’ priorities.
Today’s top CRM solutions are so chock full of productivity tools that no one could use them all. Think about the tools that will enhance your business processes and add value to your organization. Try not to be enticed by all the extra “bells and whistles” that can distract you from your purpose.
For example, CRM is designed to gather and organize your customer data. But you need to define how that data will be used. Collecting data just for the sake of collecting it is a waste of everyone’s time; collecting data to improve your marketing, sales, and customer service processes will greatly improve your team’s efficiency and productivity and will benefit your organization’s bottom line.
Also, before moving your collected data to your new CRM system, determine if any of it is outdated, irrelevant, or faulty. Data migration takes time and expense, so understanding which data will be useful going forward can help you streamline the process.
Have clearly in mind, and preferably in writing, the goals you hope to accomplish through your new CRM. For example, do you plan to track your customers’ buying habits so you can make informed decisions regarding marketing and sales, inventory and ordering, customer service, and projections for the future? Once you’ve defined your CRM strategy, determine what operational changes are needed to accomplish your goals.
CRM is not a magic bullet for business priorities; rather, it exists to support critical process changes in sales, marketing, and customer service. Don’t spend money on CRM until your vision forward is crystal clear.
Your CRM deployment will be successful only if your employees will use it. New technology represents a big change, and some on your team may be resistant to learning something new. Essential to user adoption is having buy-in from the top. Senior leaders in your firm should be involved in planning, testing, and deployment. It is their responsibility to let everyone know what changes are coming, how their jobs will be affected, and that adoption of the new system will not be optional. They should start by extolling the benefits that the new system will have for all.
Next, identify individuals to act as CRM ambassadors. These “power users” should be involved early and often in the deployment process and work closely with the CRM vendor. They will be advocates for CRM adoption and can help with users’ questions or concerns.
All users will need training, even if they’ve used technology before. Provide multiple channels of instruction, e.g., classroom, online, or in office, to help employees learn not only how the software works, but also how it will impact them personally. Make sure they master fundamental tasks before moving on to more complex functionality. Success early on will encourage them to keep going and realize the full benefits of the new system. When hiring new employees, include an introduction to the CRM system to equip them with the tools they need from the start.
Set your organization up for a successful CRM implementation by giving them the support they need throughout the project.
Could you benefit from additional project management expertise and training support for your upcoming CRM deployment? Contact BroadPoint Inc.’s Microsoft gold-certified consulting team to learn more.
By BroadPoint, www.broadpoint.net
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