Customer relationship management (CRM) is a 21 century approach to managing an organization’s interaction with current and potential customers. In general, CRM will compile data from a range of different communication channels such as: telephone, email, live chat, websites, printing materials and social media. Well implemented CRM system therefore enables flexible marketing, visible sales, while cutting cost. It also helps company employees build and maintain customer relationships, increase profitability, and drive growth. And all of it in one system!
Below are listed 5 most important steps to implement a CRM system, based on experience.
1. Discovering actual need for a CRM – Do not start your CRM project because you have been pushed!
Since you are reading this post you must have been thinking about it? If so, list reasons why you need a CRM system. Are looking into lead generation? Better customer service? Improving sales cycle? We encourage every potential client to list at least 10 main requirements for the new CRM system prior contacting us.
Get started only when you have a well-defined need for CRM.
2. Free or paid CRM?
Once you define the high-level needs and know why you need a CRM system in your organization, we will work together to verify the feasibility of various platforms. Many vendors are partnering Salesforce, Dynamics 365 and implementations simply means selling licenses. There are numerous out-of-box, free, open source platforms tailored to fit almost any need. In every project we actively work with our clients to show the potential of open-source alternatives over enterprise platforms.
3. Allowing for changes during the project
Many CRM implementation failed because vendors were not agile enough during the project. CRM should support most of your current requirements, not but simply framing them to forms and tables that generate useless data.
4. Working with end users
Almost as a rule request for CRM implementation is coming from top management focusing on analytics and reporting features. We always emphasize how important it is to work with end users during implementation. Working with end users is as important as working with executives. Therefore the best practice is to designate collaborators from different levels in the organization to work together with us during the entire process.
5. Going live
Once the system goes live it is time when training and user adoption play crucial roles. Having proper training plan as well as support during this stage is where we like to keep our focus in the entire implementation process. Once the system is used by the new users for some time is good time to begin working with us on the next version.