CRM implementation offers rewarding improvements to your business for both your customers and your employees. But a CRM implementation not driven by goals and proper planning can turn into an uphill battle to measure your ROI, as well as achieve the most benefits.
Reaching your CRM goals is simply a matter of certain principles and discipline.
First and foremost, let’s recap what CRM really is: a platform for your business to do things bigger and better for your customers. Robust CRM solutions provide a wide-range of benefits, so understanding what is driving your implementation is a critical step for its success.
After more than 22 years of experience, we’ve identified 6 best practices for planning your CRM implementation.
6 P’s of a Successful CRM Implementation
Before even evaluating any CRM solutions, it is important for you to properly identify, document and understand your current business issues you wish for CRM to solve. What do you want to improve for your customers? For your workforce? By identifying and studying these pain points first, you can better define what problems you are trying to solve. Some examples of CRM areas of improvement are:
- Delivering more personal sales, marketing and service experiences to customers by accessing their information and serving them from the same database.
- Standardizing sales and customer service processes across your organization
- Identifying and eliminating bottlenecks in your sales processes and customer service case resolutions
- Tracking ALL customer history, including past sales, customer service cases, and preferences.
- Tracking, achieving and forecasting your sales goals
These are just a few challenges that CRM can help with.
It is also helpful to identify the costs of your pains. Understanding your goals from a financial standpoint will help you select the right solution and address the most critical issues.
A clear vision for CRM means understanding the customer-centric processes that are in place, and considering how they can be improved. Often times, companies don’t formally document and analyze their processes and identify potential bottlenecks. However, understanding your processes helps determine how the technology can make them better, faster or less costly. Even if the formatting of the documentation is rudimentary it will be a good start as you start evaluate and compare systems.
Before beginning a CRM implementation, it is also important to determine how people are affected and how they’ll react to a new system. Having as many “key” people involved in the planning process as possible provides invaluable feedback. When users are involved in the process they will feel empowered and will feel like they have an opportunity to improve their specific area. Including them in this phase will help them commit to the new system.
If you’re like most companies, you have a limited budget. Before today’s cloud deployment models, most software expenses were capital expenditures. With the cloud, many companies are able to purchase software as an operational expense and thus pay for the expenditure as a cost of their processes.
It is also important to understand if an ROI can be determined for the solution being purchased. This will make it easier for executives to justify the cost and can earn the project greater buy-in.
Once the above P’s are determined, it is much easier to evaluate products that exist for your requirements. Working off of a requirements document to help evaluate solutions can help keep a non-biased, unemotional opinion of what is best for your environment.
Include IT in product selection. You’ll want to choose a solution that’s compatible with existing technology and integration points that you might have with your systems such as ERP, Line-of-Business or other systems that must interface with your CRM.
There are numerous CRM systems on the market today, many of which are offered only as cloud-based solutions. However, some companies face data regulations which require a solution that gives the option for both cloud or on-premise deployment.
Choose a partner that has a great deal of experience, references and resources. A good partner will work with your internal team to make sure that the project is delivered within your deadline, budget and scope of requirements.
Finally, consider the service offering when evaluating implementation partners. Beyond go-live, you want a partner who is strategically involved and committed to your success.
If you’re planning a CRM implementation, we can help. Please feel free to contact us at your convenience, and we’ll discuss your goals in a free discovery call.