How should your company plan for a first CRM implementation?

Preparing your company for its first CRM system may sound like a cinch, but many things can go wrong if you don’t prepare well in advance.  

Some of the things you may wish to consider are how it will impact upon current resources, what changes it will enforce upon the company, what you need to get out of the CRM  to improve and automate your current procedures and processes, and whether you should opt for a cloud-based system. Whatever choices you make, the whole company needs to be in sync as implementing a CRM is not just about dealing with new technology but getting used to a totally new processes and strategies.

Make use of our advice and get your company well prepped and ready to deal with any challenges that may come your way.

Include C-level in your implementation plan

All key user groups should be engaging with your new CRM software, and that includes c-level or senior management - get them to lead by example. For maximum results, involve them from the beginning. They have huge impact upon the corporate culture and with them fighting in your corner, the whole process will become a lot easier.

Plan your CRM implementation successfully with this comprehensive implementation guide

Create a well-structured CRM implementation team

A project manager is key. This may be you or someone else that you feel has the knowledge and skill to drive the project. They don’t need to be from the management team but it would be helpful if they have some technical skills and are passionate about implementation of the CRM. Ensure everyone in your implementation team is aware of their responsibilities and their role in ensuring the CRM implementation successfully delivers the company’s goals.

Identify super users for each CRM user group

Super users should be enthusiastic, tech-savvy individuals eager to learn all there is to know about the new CRM.  Train them thoroughly and to a higher level of detail than other staff. Going forward, they will be the go-to person when other staff get stuck on low level issues, and the key contact between the company and the CRM vendor.

Motivate your staff to increase user engagement with the new system

As far as your staff are concerned, they need to totally on board with the idea of the new CRM so take the time to market it to them. Get them excited and keen to be involved by creating blogs, posters, a launch party or whatever else you think will make them enthusiastic.

Communicate changes clearly...and keep communicating

Before the CRM goes live, you need to provide all staff with guidelines telling them what to do, how to do it and who will do it. If the sales team are individually responsible for registering data for each new sale, they need to know this. Similarly, the marketing team need to input data as soon as it hits the top of the sales funnel. If the new system is not used logically and uniformly, problems will emerge. Provide written guidelines and publish on the intranet or email all staff.

Offer a comprehensive training program

All key user groups should be trained extensively in your new CRM, regardless of whether they’re “too busy” (they’re not - this is important). This will usually be provided by your vendor, though your super users should be able to assist with basic queries.  Don’t forget to include any new employees that join after the go-live date.

And there you have it. Keep everything very user-friendly and be prepared to put in the time with good preparation and planning. As well as keeping an eye on the new technology it is imperative to make sure that everyone that uses the new CRM system will love it.

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Jane Tareen

About the author…

An MBA-qualified professional, Jane specializes in all kinds of copywriting and creative content production. With many years spent working in advertising and publishing, she is also skilled in editorial production and proof-reading. Whilst writing, she has a constant companion in the form of one very large Fox Red Labrador!

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Jane Tareen

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