Are You Getting the Most from your CRM? Here’s What Can Help.

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If you have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution or are thinking of investing in one, you know that a lot of work goes into the project before you even flip the “on” switch. It’s not unusual for a CRM project leader to spend weeks or months deciding on features, researching different solutions, obtaining executive permissions, and choosing an implementation partner. You’d think that after all that prep work, success would be assured.

Why is it then that so many CRM implementations are unsuccessful: the software doesn’t do what you thought it would, it doesn’t integrate with your other business systems, your employees don’t want to use it, and you fail to realize the ROI (return on investment) that you expected?

Assure CRM success

Here are some areas you can address before, during, and after your CRM implementation that can help to assure CRM success:

1. Don’t skip the CRM assessment phase

A rushed or omitted assessment phase is at the root of many CRM project failures. Some businesses might be tempted to skip an impact assessment because they believe it will be too difficult or time consuming. But as with any strategic planning process, the upfront investment will pay off in the end.

A CRM assessment examines current business challenges and determines appropriate software functionalities for each strategic priority. Don’t end up with someone else’s ideal CRM; get the one that’s best for your unique organization.

2. Don’t fall for all the bells and whistles

Today’s top CRM solutions can do almost anything you can think up. But that doesn’t mean you need or even want all the features conceivable. You are much better off defining in advance what features will truly enhance your business processes, integrate with your other software, and deliver reliable data in a format that is useful to your users.

One size fits all CRM will come with a hefty price tag and a lot of room for confusion and error. There is no point paying for features that will never be used. The needs of a manufacturing company will differ from those of a financial advisory firm. So, spend time up-front, determining which CRM features will best enhance your business now and drive you toward achieving your goals as you grow. Differentiate between must-have and nice-to-have CRM features and choose a software solution that can scale with your business.

3. Check with IT

You have decided which CRM features you need, but unless you have the technical expertise to know how it will integrate with your other office systems, it’s good to check with the experts. They will consider existing systems and infrastructure. There will be operational considerations, and your IT professionals will know what questions to ask. Don’t just rely on a product demo; the glitches rarely show up there. Working with technical professionals guarantees a better experience for end users who are not tech-savvy.

4. Work with clean data

Poor data quality can sabotage your CRM project right from the start and can lead to inferior customer service, inaccurate revenue forecasting, and misinformed strategic decisions. Working with dirty data is like playing with a faulty deck of cards; you’ll never know when to trust it. If your users can’t trust the data in the CRM, they are not going to use it. Be sure to allow ample time to migrate only accurate, up to date data into your new CRM. Provide data entry training and hold users accountable for maintaining high data standards.

When your employees see the value of your CRM, it will become a tool they use every day, and there will be no doubt that your CRM project is a success. Choose a solution your business can grow with, select software features that align with your business needs, involve IT experts, clean up your data. CRM success is sure to follow.

If you’d like to know more about CRM implementation best practices, contact BroadPoint’s Microsoft gold-certified consulting team today.

By BroadPoint,

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