A to Z of Embedding CRM into Your Organisation

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Embedding CRM into your organisation is not just a technical change to your IT infrastructure and some software training. It should be seen as a business transformation activity and an ideal opportunity to improve ways of working, update antiquated manual processes and improve both your customers’ and, as importantly, your employees’ experience.

In this A to Z of Embedding CRM into Your Organisation, we focus on the people side of a CRM implementation and how your organisation can avoid some of the pitfalls that can cause your project to fail or at least not get the anticipated benefits that you envisaged at the start.

A to Z, Embedding CRM into Your Organisation Aptitude and Attitude of your Project Team

Recruiting the right people to your project team is a key success factor for a CRM implementation. Yes, they should be subject matter experts for their area of the organisation, knowing the processes, systems, the people involved and the department’s challenges and opportunities. Equally important though, is their attitude towards the importance of the CRM implementation to your organisation and the potential benefits it can bring. Having an engaged and enthusiastic project team will set you on a path to success.

A to Z, Embedding CRM into Your Organisation Bringing Your Teams with You

Engaging the teams that will be using your CRM solution early in the project is essential. Generally, people don’t like change, but if you extol the benefits of the system throughout the project, and keep them informed on progress as the project advances you’re more likely to have users that want to get ‘hands on’ as soon as they can.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM, Embedding CRM into Your Organisation CRM Change Champions

If you are planning to implement your CRM across multiple departments and locations you should consider nominating change champions. CRM change champions should be selected from all of the teams that will be impacted by the implementation. They can really help users to overcome the initial barriers to learning a new system. Recruit your most excited and passionate advocates. Communicate with them early and often. In addition, encourage Champions to share their insights, opinions, and feedback openly with the wider CRM project team.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM, Embedding CRM into Your Organisation Data Governance

When it comes to your CRM technology, without clear instruction and direction around how the technology should be used by sales and business development teams, a natural outcome is to see data quality erode due to incomplete contact records, duplicate data, and out-of-date information.

Clearly defined user workflows and CRM data management processes can help streamline the capture of information. For instance, lead, account, contact, and opportunity records have required fields on all the business-critical data required by your sales organisation to create new records. As an organisation, you may have set a standard for the level of data quality required to create new records and your technology process needs to support this initiative.

Without a set process, vital contact information or account details may be missed when entering data into CRM.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM, Embedding CRM into Your Organisation Employee Experience

Customers drive revenue, employees help drive their experience.  Employees are closest to your customers. It is their interaction with the client that builds your reputation. Your employees’ commitment to the company and specifically to the job is reflected in the way they work. Their skill and passion also contributes to the success of customers.

Giving your teams the right tools to do their job more efficiently and effectively will have a significantly positive impact on their working day. Listening to the challenges your teams face day-to-day in their use of systems and processing data could well be improved as part of a new CRM implementation.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM, Embedding CRM into Your Organisation Foster Collaboration Across the Business

Using an integrated CRM solution is a great way to keep teams aligned. The most important step is to find the right solution for your company on which you can streamline all your data. That means no more loose Excel spreadsheets and random software shared only by individual teams. Consolidating all data into one solution will make it easier to share that data between departments. You won’t have to wade through your folders on your laptop or on emails; everything will be accessible by everyone.

When you choose to break down data silos and have your different data sources talking to each other, you’ll see the benefits immediately. There’s nothing like having high-quality databases enriched by all the key applications you use across your organisation.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM, Embedding CRM into Your Organisation Gauge User Feedback

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a business leader is not seeking the views and opinions of your employees on issues that directly impact them. In this case with regard to the CRM software that they will be using every day.

You should generate employee involvement during the planning process. One way to build interest among employees is by asking each of them what they would like to get out of a CRM. No matter the role, each employee probably has problems they would like solved, and if those problems can be solved using a specific CRM product, it’s good to gain that insight early on.

Ultimately, the more on-board employees are with CRM adoption, the more likely they are to use the new CRM software, which yields higher adoption rates.

Help must be on hand

There are few things more frustrating for new users of a CRM solution than forgetting what they’ve been trained on during a CRM rollout or that they’re a brand-new user and just starting to get to grips with a new system and don’t know where to start. Particularly in a large organisation, with multiple departments. Having administrators and CRM champions spread across the organisation that can quickly answer questions and point people in the right direction can really help users build their confidence with the system and reduce frustration.

IT should not drive the project

Whilst the IT department will be a key part of any CRM implementation, it absolutely should not be the driving force.  While CRM is driven by technology, it’s not about technology. The point of CRM is to improve your customer-facing business processes; technology is only a means to achieving that end. Every successful implementation begins by recognising this fact—and by creating operational structures that reinforce it. In an effective CRM system business goals that are focused on producing meaningful results drive functionality. IT and business managers are aligned behind a well-defined set of measurable objectives, which in turn guide system design. In successful CRM projects, responsibility for the design and implementation of the system rests with both business sponsors and technical personnel, supported by subject matter experts from across the organisation.

Joined up Thinking

The role of CRM in many organisations is evolving. Its uses are diversifying yet it continues to be business critical, supporting many core business processes. It’s not only enabling Sales and Marketing teams to align their processes more closely, but also feeding information across multiple departments. As such, it is fast becoming an ‘enterprise-wide’ portal with the potential to bring together diverse processes to drive more efficient and effective business operations.

As CRM proves to be increasingly important in driving competitive advantage, taking this holistic, organisation-wide view of its role, will pay dividends. Supporting diverse processes and departments doesn’t mean that you have to bolt-on different solutions to your CRM. Nor does it mean investing huge sums in bespoke, customised systems. What it does take is joined-up thinking from across the business to ensure that your CRM vision covers all the bases.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Keep it Simple

When it comes to implementing a CRM solution, understandably, many organisations are eager to address all of their business challenges immediately, resulting in high initial costs and substantial time investments.

This type of ‘big bang’ implementation can be complex to adapt to quickly, which can lead to fatigue across the business, with stakeholders not seeing any immediate benefits and becoming disenfranchised with the project.

Ideally, you should focus on implementing elements of the system where the biggest positive impact can be made in the shortest amount of time.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Leverage the Expertise of your Solution Vendor

Throughout the whole CRM implementation talk with your solution vendor about their thoughts on how the people aspect of the project is progressing. They’ll be talking with your people, one-to-one and in workshops, listening to how people are feeling, what their frustrations are and how they think the project is going. This can be extremely useful insight for the project manager and sponsor and inform them of where there might be people challenges or concerns that need to be addressed.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Marketing Internally

From the outset, it is important that the wider organisation understands your CRM vision, receives regular updates on the progress of the project and understands the benefits that you are wanting to achieve and when. They also need to know whether they will be directly involved either in the project or be using the solution, once implemented. As the project progresses, more detailed internal marketing should be carried out to ‘warm’ people up to the impending roll-out. Depending on the level of transformation involved you may need to broaden this out to department level, and more focussed communication. As an example you may decide that commission reporting for sales teams will be moving into your CRM. There will need to be more detailed conversations with your sales teams as to what information will be required and when in the sales cycle.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Non-Compliance

‘We’ve always done it that way; why do we need to change?’ is a phrase often heard in any business change activity and particularly with a CRM implementation. Dealing with non-compliance with new ways of working early on is vitally important. Non-compliance may not be intentional and can often be fixed with extra training or further explanation as to the importance of doing things differently. Different departments may not be aware of the up or downstream impact of their actions on others in the organisation and the importance of carrying out tasks in a different way.

Intentional non-compliance is another matter and we’ll pick that up in ‘S’ – Stick or Carrot.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM One Team

Creating a joined-up team for implementing a new CRM solution is crucial to the success of the project. The team, made up of different subject matter experts from across your organisation as well as key stakeholders and your suppliers, should all be working to the same end objective. This may be the first time that this collection of individuals have worked together, and it is imperative that the project sponsor and the project manager build a rapport quickly with this team to get the best out of them during the project.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Preparation, Planning and Project Management

Ensuring that you have a strong and capable project manager in place to help drive your CRM implementation is often the difference between success and a poor implementation. Time invested up front in preparation and planning will not be wasted effort either. If you’ve not read our A to Z of CRM Implementation yet, it is definitely worth a read and covers these areas in much more detail.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Quick Wins for your People

For any project, identifying quick wins can really boost the team’s morale and encourages faster adoption of the system. When planning your CRM implementation find areas of pain within the organisation where CRM can really help. This could be streamlining an arduous process using workflows or producing a report that used to take a week to produce.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Reporting Drives Behaviour

Creating the right suite of reports for your organisation can not only provide valuable insights for your team leaders and managers to act upon but can also help drive behaviours.

Previously time-consuming manual reports can be produced in seconds or emailed out at the start or end of the day, ensuring that urgent matters can be addressed quickly or can be picked up in daily team reviews.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Stick or Carrot

In any team, particularly sales teams, there will be a mix of people who enthusiastically adopt and update the CRM system on a regular basis and embrace the benefits and usefulness of the software in helping to manage their day-to-day activities and reporting, whilst for others, they may be less than enthusiastic.

Getting the mix of ‘carrot’ or ‘stick’ right will differ depending on your organisational culture, but carrot is obviously better than stick!


  • Saving time sourcing information and writing reports
  • Better quality of information that marketing can use to drive sales leads
  • All customer information in one place could save users literally up to an hour a day instead of searching through cluttered folders and emails
  • Improved workflows between departments ensuring that users can see the progress of an activity and where it may have got stuck so that they can act upon it quickly


Whilst not the preferred option for many roles in the organisation you can consider some of the following ‘sticks’ to ensure that the CRM is used to its optimum capability.

  • Ensuring that new starters are trained in the new ways or working and compliance can even form part of their terms of employment
  • All opportunities and pipeline to be inputted onto CRM and kept updated prior to a sale for commission payments to be made
  • Use of the CRM and how well it is used could form part of some roles’ performance management objectives and could be discussed as part of regular performance reviews
  • Sample checking by the audit department, finance department, team leader or manager on a regular basis can produce feedback to individuals regularly falling foul of good data entry.
A to Z ViewPoint CRM Training is Crucial

Training is often the part of a CRM project that can get lost amongst the plethora of other activities that needs to be done before go-live day. Putting a comprehensive training plan in place will make all the difference to whether the CRM solution adoption succeeds.

A ‘one size fits all’ approach to training is also not a good idea. There may be some common areas of the CRM system that can be trained in large groups of cross-department users, but even those areas may be being used in different ways depending on the function of the department or even the role.

As part of pulling training plans together it is important that role types and functions are considered so that training can be tailored to suit the new ways of working that may have been designed in the early stages of the project.

So, there are 4 main areas of training to consider:

  • System training – how the system actually works – what screens are where, how to fill in forms and data and any nuances particular to your organisation that have been customised to your needs or integrated with other systems.
  • User type training – particular focus on areas of CRM that are pertinent to the roles in the organisation e.g. sales, marketing, customer service etc. This type of training may cover the broader system training, but then drill down into role-specific activity – e.g. pipeline management and reporting for sales, or Mailchimp integration and segmentation for marketing.
  • Manager Training – Managers in an organisation may only be interested in reporting, escalations, authorisations and higher-level tasks. It may be appropriate to offer shorter training opportunities for these user types.
  • Ongoing training – All CRM solutions are updated from time to time, depending on the solution that your organisation chooses. It is important that users of new feature-rich updates are given training on how this is to be used in your organisation. Depending on the complexity of the updates, the more thought should be given to how these new features should be deployed and users trained in their use.
A to Z ViewPoint CRMUser Definitions

We’ve already touched upon some of the different types of users that will be using your CRM system and these should be defined as part of your solution design at the outset. Your organisation may want to limit access by individual user, role, department or managerial hierarchy. These will vary from organisation to organisation. You may wish to keep certain information within a department, or limit certain fields from view of others. You may wish to give everyone read access for all areas, but give editing, creation and deletion rights to others.

In our experience, the more visibility the better, but some organisations may wish to hold back showing certain data to certain role types.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Vision

You’ve done your research, understand the value of implementing CRM in your organisation. You’re clear on what you want your CRM solution to help you achieve. Now it’s time to communicate that vision and value to the employees that will be using it. Ultimately, it’s your users who will drive your CRM’s success.

Having a vision and communicating it throughout the implementation and beyond is a fundamental part of the project. Explaining the ‘Why?’ at a role level can make the difference between strong user adoption, laissez faire adoption or, at its worst, active sabotage.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM What’s in it for me? (WIIFM)

The introduction and business change involved in a CRM implementation can be daunting for many people, especially if they have been working in a certain way and on a particular system for many years. Effectively communicating the ‘WIIFM’ at an individual or role level can be the difference between people embracing change or actively sabotaging the project. Use your CRM champions, internal marketing as well as individual managers and senior leaders, to sell the benefits of your solution.

So for a salesperson, they can have all of their customer information accessible in one place; quotations, sales history, pricing, interactions with other departments, pipeline as well as the ability to schedule follow-ups and appointments. This can save the salesperson a huge amount of time and allows them to focus on revenue generating activity rather than hunting around for information.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM eXample Setting

Resistance by users in using your CRM system can encourage their co-workers to act the same way. After all, why should they use software if their co-worker doesn’t?

Everyone needs to feel like they’re working together as a team, or you run the risk of people’s non-adoption impacting the overall success of your CRM implementation.

For your user adoption strategy to work, your leadership team needs to sing its praises and demonstrate just how useful it is. They need to actually use the software themselves and actively promote the use of it.

A vote of confidence from leadership gives your vision and strategy impact.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Your Role as a Leader

All leaders within the organisation, but particularly the project sponsor, needs to be 100% behind the CRM implementation, not just during the project, but also particularly during and immediately after deployment.

The project sponsor is typically going to be a senior level executive within your organisation. They will be accountable for the overall success of the project and help drive it through the organisation. Their day-to-day involvement will normally be light, but they will be responsible for ensuring the project stays on track and help resolve any conflicts or obstacles that crop up.

Perhaps one of the main qualities to look for in a sponsor, beside their ability to effectively steer the project, is a willingness to get hands on with the technology, people AND ways of working.

A to Z ViewPoint CRM Zeroing in on Success

If you’ve followed these steps and gone live with your CRM solution you should be well-aligned for success, but it’s important that you continue to monitor how the system is being used by users and how they feel about the system. There are bound to be bugs to be fixed or issues that need resolving that haven’t been picked up during testing and training. Tackling these quickly will be key to users confidence.

Use your CRM change champions to gauge the users’ feedback on the system; what’s working well, what’s not and what could be improved. You may even find that once users embrace CRM, they will find even better ways of doing things than the project team designed. These are to be encouraged because it shows that they are embracing the system. Key will be managing expectations as to whether these ideas can or should be implemented and when that may be.

We hope you enjoyed the A to Z of Embedding CRM into your organisation and hope that you are now armed with more information when considering purchasing a new CRM solution.

At StyleTech, we’re here to help our customers with their CRM journey and guide them through the process from A to Z! Get in touch with our team today for a demonstration and to discuss your needs.