Top 10 tips for CRM Implementation Project

Top 10 tips for a successful CRM implementation project

John PhillipsCompany Updates, Product Updates

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is essential for every organisation, whether you’re in sales, marketing, or customer service. It can help record interactions, capture customer information, produce informative reports, and much more.

However, we understand that embarking upon a CRM implementation project can be daunting, so here are our top ten tips to help you implement a successful CRM solution.

Top 10 tips for a successful CRM project

1 – Get an executive sponsor

One major reason CRM projects fail is due to a lack of support from senior executives, therefore getting your senior leaders on board from the start is essential. Involving top management and having their approval sends the message that the organisation is prioritising this project which will help improve the speed of decision making.

2 – Business project not IT

The people within your company must realise this is a business project and not an IT project. A common misconception with CRM implementation projects is that they are implemented and managed by the IT team. In fact, they should be implemented by the business and its users; IT is simply the enabler of the technology. Understanding this will emphasise the importance of the project and encourage greater user involvement.

3 – Appoint a product owner

One of the most important roles in a CRM project, the Product Owner, is the person with the overall responsibility to ensure the final solution is fit for purpose. This individual should be a subject matter expert within the business to help ensure the project objectives are met. Therefore, it is imperative that the right person, with extensive knowledge of the organisation’s sales process and customer relationships, is selected for the role.

4 – Implement in phases

Many organisations want to implement a full CRM solution for sales, customer service, and marketing in one go. We recommend instead that these implementations are carried out in phases, giving users time to adapt to each area properly, and the business time to review its progress. A CRM solution will be a fundamental component of your company and should be linked to your overall customer strategy. Implementing in phases allows a business to take stock of what has been completed, what is working or not, and what needs to be done next.

5 – Involve the users

It is essential that you involve the management team and users during the planning stage of your CRM implementation. Aligning the objectives of your CRM project with the overall strategic aim of the company requires input from management to ensure everyone is moving in the same direction.

Employees in the business also need to be involved as they are the individuals that will be using the software on a daily basis. If they are not involved, a new CRM solution can be met with resistance which is a major pitfall for CRM projects. Understanding user reservations and requirements before any implementation will help to ensure a successful CRM rollout.

6 – Keep it simple

Simplicity is important. Many organisations overcomplicate what they want their CRM to achieve. This can often leave users confused and instead of streamlining a sales process, it remains long and tedious. It is better for organisations to plan the key functions that their CRM system needs to have and keep it simple initially, to ease the transition for users and the building of the system.

7 – Data is key

A CRM system is only as good as the data within it. Ensuring that data is entered in a clean, structured format will ensure the smooth running of a CRM system. Draw up guidelines for users and decide which data elements should be mandatory to facilitate business processes and which are merely optional. With clean data, you can avoid record duplication and breaks in business processes.

8 – Collaboration is crucial

A CRM system cannot be designed and run by one person. Collaboration is a key component during a CRM project’s life cycle. Allowing users to provide feedback along the way will help create a CRM system best suited to both the business and its users. Collaboration is also needed when deciding upon your customer relationship management strategy which should map out each stage of the implementation process, the overall objectives, and how you’ll measure the success of the implementation.

9 – Change means training

Implementing a new CRM system will mean change, and a new software tool may cause disruption in your employees’ usual routine. To ensure a smooth transition, it is important to train your users. When learning any new system or process, education is crucial, and this helps minimise the risk of your CRM system underperforming or failing.

10 – Work with a quality partner

No matter how smooth your initial CRM implementation, there will come a time when some support is required, as CRM systems are always evolving. This could mean changes to existing functionality or the introduction of new features. To overcome this challenge, it is wise to look for external expert support and this is where a quality partner is invaluable.

The right CRM partner should be experts (e.g. Strategy 365 are a Microsoft Partner – the highest Microsoft competency awarded) and be available whenever you need them and at the right price.

If you want to discuss CRM software, specifically Microsoft Dynamics 365, or any details around an implementation, please feel free to get in touch and talk to one of our experts.

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