6 Steps to a Successful CRM Implementation

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91% of small businesses that have fewer than 10 employees use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, enabling them to improve their customer relations and increase sales. If you’re reading this, you’ve made the decision to implement a CRM into your business. 

CRM implementation can be difficult to do successfully. You need to transfer customer data over, train your team, and integrate it into some of your preexisting processes. How well the system integrates into your organization will determine how effective it is. 

This guide will go over best practices and the top six steps on implementing a CRM tool into your company. Sticking to these guidelines will help ensure the success of your organization and the CRM software. 

1. Create an Implementation Team

You need a defined team of qualified individuals that are in charge of implementing the CRM process. The roles you have should include:

  • Project Manager: The main person or leader during the process
  • Application Developer: Handles the CRM system customization
  • Application Analyst: Cleans up and migrates your data
  • QA Test Engineer: Tests the CRM software before it’s implemented throughout your organization
  • Additional Team Members: Representatives from your product, customer service, sales, and marketing departments

The roles and activities of each team member need to be clearly defined before the project gets started. They’ll also help the rest of your team adopt the CRM system into their everyday processes. The implementation team needs to see the value of it so they can communicate it to others. 

2. Create a CRM Implementation Project Plan

As your implementation team gets started, they’ll need to define their strategy. You may want to implement the CRM system into your sales department to start, transitioning it to other departments once you hit certain milestones. Within this plan, you’ll need to set actionable goals that are realistic for your team members to meet. 

General Implementation Plan Timeline 

One of the first steps to take during the plan implementation is analyzing your company’s current needs. Determine if the solutions provided by a CRM will meet and address those needs. During this phase, your implementation team can define the integrations and customizations necessary for the functionality of your company. 

Next, your business’s data will need to be reviewed for accuracy. Once it’s verified, it can be transferred from your previous system to the new CRM process. 

After that, your CRM program can be tailored and customized for your needs. You can customize:

  • Custom reports
  • Automated workflows
  • Custom dashboards
  • Custom apps for internal processes
  • Automated mass record updates
  • CRM integration with other processes and systems

After all the data has been migrated into the CRM and it’s been customized, your QA test engineer can then test it. CRM testing is vital to ensure there are no deficiencies in the system. You’ll also want to double-check that it’s working in accordance with your specifications. 

Once the system has been verified, it can be deployed to the necessary team members. User training is essential for teammates to learn how to successfully adopt the CRM into their workday. 

After it’s been implemented, there is some necessary support that may need to take place. This can include monitoring its performance, fine-tuning processes. 

If you need any assistance throughout the process, don’t hesitate to reach out to an agency that has experience with CRM implementation.

3. Establish a Budget

Forecasting a complete CRM implementation budget is essential to staying on track. You could also be integrating multiple unnecessary features in the CRM, wasting time getting them up and running. 

Take these following peripheral costs into consideration when forecasting the budget:

  • Training
  • Consultant fees
  • Reduced productivity
  • Overtime wages

Make sure you factor in all of these items when creating your budget. Things may pop up along the way, but as long as you’re prepared for them, it won’t take you off track. 

4. Evaluate the Risks

One of the most common problems businesses encounter when implementing a CRM is going beyond the allotted budget and time. Even if you’ve created a thorough implementation plan and everything is well thought out, it can be difficult to fully understand the process until you’re in it. You might not budget enough time for the project. 

Requirements may change quickly as your implementation team works through the process. Working with consultants can help you understand the project’s timeline and scope. You’ll avoid spending additional money and extra time on the implementation project. 

5. Create Internal Usage Guidelines

A CRM system depends upon the data that’s put in it. Create common usage guidelines to share with your team members. If they know how to enter data into the system, it’ll make the entire process much easier and smoother. 

The CRM guidelines should be updated often to reflect changes in the system and other things people learn. Everything should be clearly defined, including how, what, and, when everything needs to be inputted into the system. 

6. Know How to Measure the CRM’s Success

Identify specific targets and regularly track them. Targets will vary based on a business’s needs, but some common ones include:

  • If people are actively using the CRM system
  • If team members have noticed an increase in deal closing after using a CRM
  • If the data is being engaged with
  • If your team is working more efficiently

Knowing ahead of time what you want to track and measure will help you understand if the system is working for your organization. 

Connect With an Experienced Agency

CRM implementation can be a tricky thing. The success of the process hinges a lot on how it’s implementing into your organization and your team members seeing the value of the process. Take time and consideration into adopting it into your company. 

Contact us today for a consultation. 

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