Successful CRM Implementation – Top Tips

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In this blog we will share some of our top tips for a successful CRM Implementation.

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

However, we understand that embarking upon a CRM implementation project can be daunting and can bring changes that happen at all levels of the organisation and can involve most employees.

Get An Executive Sponsor

Many academic studies have shown that CRM projects fail due to a lack of support from senior executives; therefore, getting your senior leaders on board from the start is essential. Assigning an executive committed to the project, staying informed, clearing roadblocks, allocating resources, managing saboteurs (people invested in the status quo), and acting as an advocate for the project will help improve the speed of decision-making.

The day-to-day implementation and ongoing running of the CRM implementation will reside with the project team.

A Business Project Not IT

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

Project Manager / Project Team

Building the right project team will be crucial to successfully implementing a CRM solution. Include the right people, give them the time and authority to complete project tasks, and ensure all team members are committed to the project’s success. This is particularly important in small to medium-sized organisations where most or all of the project team will be assigned to this project in addition to their existing duties. Make sure that team members are allowed to spend the appropriate amount of time to make the project a success.

At a basic level, you should include:

Project manager: This person should be in a position in the company that will enable them to assemble the internal resources necessary to complete the project.

Project management experience is a must; ideally, they should have experience with the primary areas where the software is to be used. The success of the implementation will have little to do with the technical elements and a great deal to do with business processes as they are implemented with the software. Therefore, a project manager with expertise in that area is a plus.

Application analyst: responsible for data migration and cleansing.

Application developer: in charge of system customisation.

QA test engineer: heads up testing efforts.

Subject matter experts from all key user groups, e.g. sales, marketing, customer service, and finance.

Implement In Phases

Many organisations want to implement a complete 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 appropriately. and your 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 phases allows your business to take stock of what has worked, what hasn’t, and what needs to be done next.

Involve the users

A new CRM system will help transform many established processes for your team. Therefore you must involve the management team and users during the planning stage of your CRM implementation. Aligning your CRM project objectives with the company’s overall strategic aim requires management’s input 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 daily. If they are not interested, your new CRM implementation can be met with resistance which can be a significant pitfall for CRM projects—understanding user reservations and requirements before any implementation will help to ensure a successful CRM rollout. The more areas of your business the CRM touches, the more comprehensive your implementation strategy.

Keep It Simple

Simplicity is essential. Many organisations overcomplicate what they want their CRM to achieve, which can often leave users confused and instead of streamlining a process, it can actually make it worse. Focus should be given to the business critical processes, taking the opportunity to streamline where possible and ideally implement change in phases to minimise disruption.

Your Data Is Key

A CRM system is only as good as the data within it. Ensuring all your data is entered in a clean, structured format will ensure the smooth running of a CRM system. Draw up user guidelines and decide which data elements should be mandatory to facilitate business processes and which are merely optional. You can avoid record duplication and breaks in business processes with clean data. Check out our blog for more information on keeping your key data up to date.

Collaboration Is Crucial

A CRM system cannot be implemented and run by one person. Therefore, collaboration is key during a CRM project’s life cycle. Allowing users to provide feedback along the way will help create a CRM system best suited to your 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.

Change Means Training

Implementing a new CRM system will mean change, and a new software tool may disrupt your employees’ usual routine. To ensure a smooth transition, training is one of the keys to CRM implementation success but is often an afterthought, and many projects look at CRM implementation success as being achieved when the software is rolled out. Hands on training is vital when learning any new system or process, and helps to minimise the risk of your CRM system underperforming or failing.

Work With A Quality Partner

Choosing the right CRM provider can mean the difference between the success and failure of your CRM implementation, particularly during your project’s implementation and launch phases. Once user training has been delivered and your CRM solution goes live, end-users must continue to have ongoing support, particularly in the weeks following the implementation.

Here at ViewPointCRM, we continue to support new users by recapping training points, answering support questions and taking action on change requests. More importantly, successful CRM implementation projects will have power users and change champions across the organisation. These are resources that teams and individuals can contact for internal help and support. These will be knowledgeable about the departmental area users work in – and understand the day-to-day tasks they encounter. Change champions will be able to identify what issues or challenges users experience so that the project team can move quickly to review and fix these problems. This will go a long way to maximising user adoption.

Once the system has bedded in, CRM change champions are your eyes and ears as they’ll provide valuable insight and updates about how the system should evolve to keep pace with new requirements and change requests from users.

We hope you enjoyed our top tips for a Successful CRM Implementation. If you did you may also wish to read our A to Z of CRM Implementation.

If you would like to discuss your business challenges and how ViewPointCRM can help your organisation, please get in touch with our expert team today or book a demo.