Thinking about implementing a CRM system? Here are a few tips from the certified Salesforce consultants at Nexstara.
The Benefits of CRM
A CRM system enables you to track every interaction with current and future customers. Why is this important? Because tracking is everything. Tracking enables you to see exactly what’s working and what’s not. Tracking gives you visibility into your operations allowing you to measure everything. What’s measured improves, and creating a culture of continuous improvement is, in our mind, the ultimate, long-term benefit of CRM.
What’s the Business Driver?
If your business reason for CRM is that your competitor has one, go back to the whiteboard. Why? Because you need stakeholder support at all levels, and to get it, the vision for CRM must be crystal clear.
Make the Commitment
CRM is a big commitment with an even bigger payoff if implemented successfully. Here’s what you’ll need:
Future CRM stakeholders, managers, and end-users from every division will need to get involved. Focus groups should be created to look at how things are done now and they could be improved upon in the future. For instance, a sales organization will want to review everything about leads, opportunities, accounts management and marketing campaigns, and determine how they should be implemented in CRM.
While time invested can fluctuate greatly depending upon the scope of the project, you can expect a minimum of 180-210 hours over 12 weeks to implement CRM correctly. It can take more time if you’re migrating from a previous CRM or integrating with another third-party system.
You’re also going to need money. Gartner’s research states if you’re a larger company, you can expect to pay an additional 75-100% on top of your annual license fees to implement a cloud-based CRM and 100-150% for an on-premise system. A smaller company can expect a minimum spend of around $20,000.
Adoption is Everything
The most important key to implementation success is getting everyone to use the system. Eventually, usage hits a point where the effort it takes to learn the CRM is less than the effort it takes to resist it. At this point, adoption issues become a thing of the past. To get to this point, focus on the following:
- Data Accuracy
- User Experience (UX)
- Order of Deployment
Make sure the data you enter is complete and accurate. If the data isn’t correct, employees won’t trust the system and subsequently won’t use it. If you’re migrating from another system or importing a lot of data, use a duplicate checker such as http://www.cloudingo.com/ to cleanse the information. If your CRM has the capability of preventing incomplete records from being entered, take advantage of it.
User Experience (UX)
Less is more. What happens when a user has to fill out 100 fields for every account, contact and opportunity? They won’t. Each user role — think Inside Sales, Outside Sales, Marketing and Customer Service — should see only the information relevant to them on a single, easy-to-view screen.
You can’t learn to ride a bike at a seminar. The same goes for CRM. While a day or two of classes before your go live date is a must, there’s nothing like combining training with on the job experience. Continue training after CRM is implemented to ensure the training sticks.
Order of Deployment
Employees will use a CRM when it’s valuable to them and makes their lives easier. Keeping this in mind, heavy telephone users should be implemented first. CRM instantly makes their job easier and they facilitate getting data into the system to make it more useful for others. Here’s the suggested order of implementation:
- Inside Sales Reps
- Customer Service
- Sales Operations
- Sales Executives and Consultants
- Sales Management
- Sales Reps
Find the Right Consultant
The greatest cost of implementation is failure. When looking for outside help, find a consultant with equal parts business and technical savvy. Why? Because CRM can usher in new levels of profitability if combined with the best in business processes. Just slapping automation on broken business processes will simply make you execute errors faster.
Nexstara is a certified Salesforce implementation partner and business consulting firm.