8 Guiding Principles for CRM Implementation Success

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When interviewed after the fact, some managers have lamented the things they didn’t know before implementing their CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solutions. To save you the pain of “implementer’s regret,” we’ve identified eight guiding principles designed to make your CRM selection and implementation a success.

1. Start with a vision

Which CRM you select will depend on your particular needs, your vision, and your goals. Even before you look at different solutions, define what it is you want from a CRM system. What are your current business processes? Who will use the CRM, and for what purpose? How do you expect a CRM solution to affect your customers? Identifying your needs and expectations, in the beginning, will take a lot of brainstorming, but it will be worth it when you select a CRM that works best for you.

2. Prepare for growth

When establishing your CRM strategy, make sure it allows the flexibility to deal with the changes in your business and in the market that will surely come. Select a CRM designed to adapt to change by offering configuration flexibility rather than customized add-ons and enhancements. You’ll want software that meets your current needs and can also scale to meet future needs as your business grows.

3. Solicit user input

It just makes sense to consider your CRM end-users, the people who will be expected to use the system every day. By consulting them at the beginning and keeping them in the loop through each phase of the implementation process, you’ll be more likely to achieve unanimous buy-in and adoption. You won’t be able to grant everyone’s wishes but knowing what they would like from the CRM will allow you to deliver on key business needs.

4. Focus on alignment

CRM is not your only business process, and it shouldn’t stand alone.  It’s now standard for CRM to be integrated with other technology and productivity platforms such as email, marketing, and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). To maximize the value of your CRM and streamline company-wide processes, consider how CRM will align and integrate with other critical business systems.

5. Consider your users

Underutilized CRM is a waste of money and resources. Remind yourself of your goals, and you’ll realize that user buy-in and adoption is essential.  A good CRM solution will make your employees’ lives so much easier and more productive and will provide management with the decision-making data and analysis they need. Your end users shouldn’t have to consult IT every time they use the system. Choose a solution that is intuitive and easy to navigate. And for today’s businesses, mobility is also a must. Mobile capability and real-time updates will allow executives, sales professionals, service providers, etc., to stay connected even when they’re not in the office.

6. Keep it simple

Easy access and an intuitive user interface are critical for CRM software to be widely adopted. Avoid solutions with inconsistent nomenclature and little guidance on how to navigate account entries and customer data. When it comes to fields, less is more—only the most important details about each contact or opportunity is required, with the option for users to add more detailed information when necessary.

7. Use a step at a time approach

You can build morale with quick wins. Avoid being overly ambitious by deploying CRM features that confuse or intimidate users. Instead, allow team members to become familiar and comfortable with the CRM’s foundational operations before adding new layers of complexity. A step by step CRM launch will deliver high value in a short amount of time and help you achieve a better return on your investment.

8. Measure your success

You won’t recognize success if you don’t measure. Your CRM project plan should include creating metrics for each of the business areas that will be impacted by the solution. Tracking and reporting metrics on a regular schedule will assure you that your new software is achieving intended outcomes.

A bonus principle

The game-changer for CRM implementation success is getting expert support. Alleviate implementation pressure by allowing our team of technologists, business thinkers, and project management professionals to guide you every step of the way. BroadPoint Inc.’s Microsoft gold-certified consulting team is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.

By BroadPoint, www.broadpoint.net

3 thoughts on “8 Guiding Principles for CRM Implementation Success”

  1. As part of ensuring that we are successful at deploying a sustainable CRM solution at our clients, we ask few simple questions:
    [1] If we are successful at this CRM project, would your customers feel the difference? if the client says no, then we need to get back to drawing board and refocus our scope.

    [2] Who at the top will act as the sponsor and will be the chief customer office in early stages? it better be the CEO or a direct report. If not, then again, we are back to drawing boards. CRM success is a top down approach.

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