What to Think About Before Going Live With Your Microsoft Dynamics CRM Implementation

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One of the biggest hurdles when implementing a CRM system is user adoption. Your company has invested a significant amount of time and money to acquire a CRM system, and it is now up to the CRM project and executive teams to ensure that this change is viewed in a positive light and that the future users of the system are willing to make the jump from their old habits.

Here are some important points that you should start thinking about from Day 1 once your organization has decided to go ahead and implement a CRM solution:

You need to sell the vision of your CRM internally

One of the most important factors when implementing a CRM is making sure that the other members of your organization are as equally excited about the upcoming changes. As much as the sales person had to convince you that it was the right choice, you need to turn around and have the same type of conviction and messaging internally.

This needs to begin from the moment that your organization decides that they are going to be implementing a CRM system. It is critical that you start talking about it from Day 1. Try and have a session where everyone has a chance to give their input, but beware not to set false expectations. As the project team has probably set some basic guidelines of what the project will entail, so it is important that you manage the expectations of the users for what will be the general scope of the project.

Who should be on your implementation team?

When building your internal team, look not only for people who are technically competent, but people who you feel will embrace the change and will be your internal cheerleaders throughout the implementation.

It is important to have the key decision makers on your implementation team, but you should also consider having key resources within each group,  readily available post-implementation, who will be designated go-to people if someone is having issues with the system. This person should not be the Administrator or a Super-User as they will be highly solicited at the beginning and may not be available to answer basic questions quickly for users within all of the different departments.

This is why it will be important to nominate a couple Power-Users within the different departments since we have seen that when there is a resource who is always available to answer questions immediately for other members of the team, it helps the resources not fall back into their “old ways” while waiting for answers on how to use the system.

Things to keep in mind: Beware of nay-sayers

As much as we hope that everyone in your organization is positive and will embrace the change, there is a possibility that there will be people who may not be as open to this new way of doing business. Try and pinpoint potential suspects: these are the people who throughout the process should be kept up to date on what is going on so that there will be no surprises. During the training sessions, buddy them up with a group that sees the project in a positive light so that they have no choice but to follow along. The biggest challenge will be to minimize the negativity so that it does not spread across the team or other groups.

Make realistic timelines for you and your team

Implementing a CRM system is usually a major culture-shift for the entire organization. It is important to remain realistic about what can be done in the period of time or number of hours allotted to the project. This way you can try and ensure that what you want to accomplish is being done correctly.

The same is true when training your resources. Make sure that your team is comfortable with the new processes before adding new ones to the system and tackling another goal. Taking a one step at a time approach will help you evaluate who is catching on and who needs a little more support to learn how to use the new system.

Hint: Encourage all users to block time in their calendar to really learn the system. By making it clear that the organization understands that this is a learning process, and that it is normal to take more time in the beginning to adapt, this can help users feel more at ease.

By allowing the users to take the time to properly learn how to use the CRM, there are fewer chances that the users will revert back to their other way of doing things because it is faster and easier in the short-term.

Pick the processes that will have the most positive impact on your organization

Start small, keep your initial processes ultra-simple and build from there. Start by only automating clerical tasks. This will not only help with user adoption, but it will also help users have a better understanding of the new process and system. If there are too many moving parts with complicated and intricate workflows, people will no longer have a clear vision of the process and there will be less confidence in the application.

One of the most important key factors in a successful CRM implementation is user adoption because the value of a CRM is only as good as the information that gets inputted to it. By keeping these points in mind as you move ahead with your implementation, you’ll be on the right track that your staff will view these changes in a positive light.

By JOVACO Solutions, Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation experts in Quebec

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