CRM Implementation & Training
CRM software provides more than just contact management. It drives revenue growth, productivity and customer satisfaction. Many companies have achieved remarkable results using a CRM system, but some have not achieved everything they hoped for. Instead, they have faced implementation challenges including cost overruns, integration problems, and poor user acceptance. The good news is that all these problems are avoidable – if the CRM implementation is well-designed and executed.
When implemented correctly, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool can deliver a significant return on investment by streamlining sales processes, improving sales processes, and giving employees access to more complete customer information.
1-Set measurable business objectives
Define the specific business benefits you expect from your implementation project. This may seem obvious, but many projects fail because this step is not completed. Clarify exactly what you want to achieve.
- Increase average revenue per sale?
- Improve customer loyalty and retention rates?
- Get more sales managers?
- Reduce the cost of customer acquisition.
- Improve the accuracy of sales forecasts?
- Improve customer service response time?
- Improve sales completion rates?
CRM solutions address all your sales, service, and marketing needs, so you need to prioritize what you want to achieve and choose the best tool accordingly.
Also Check: Accounting Software & ERP Implementation
2-Align business objectives and the IT department
CRM is driven by technology, but it is not about technology. CRM aims to improve customer-facing processes; technology is only a means to that end. Everyone involved in developing a successful CRM implementation plan understands this and puts structures and processes in place to reinforce it.
Combine business and IT, but the business is the driver. CRM functionality is driven by business objectives that are focused on delivering meaningful results. If IT and LOB managers are aligned on well-defined measurable objectives, they can in turn drive CRM development.
In successful CRM projects, the responsibility for system development and implementation lies with both the business sponsors and the IT staff. Business needs and requirements should guide configuration decisions. There is a need for shared responsibility, which is why in many companies the business project manager and the systems project manager work together to make functionally and technologically appropriate decisions.
3-Get executive support and sponsorship before starting an implementation project.
CRM projects are strategic initiatives, so senior management should actively support them. Without management support, including an explanation of how the new system will help achieve business objectives, the CRM initiative may be rejected by the people who will need to use it. If CRM is critical to survival – which is increasingly the case – senior managers need to communicate this from the CEO down.
4-Let business objectives determine functionality
Just as CRM configuration must be driven by business objectives, every configuration decision must support business needs. So if a feature doesn’t directly help you serve customers better, it probably isn’t needed.
Each configuration must support at least one of the five business objectives:
- Improve profitability
- Increase customer value
- Simplify/rationalize business/sales processes
- Reduce technology costs
- Improve system performance
Businesses can also use CRM to extend (or even change) job functions where this is necessary to support a business objective. For example, the sales team will use CRM to better manage customers and sell more. But they can also use it to support existing customers with customer support issues, thereby increasing customer lifetime value.
5-Minimise customization through local functionality
Customization is often the most expensive, time-consuming, and complex aspect of CRM implementation. Therefore, choosing a CRM application that meets your requirements can significantly reduce the total cost of ownership over the lifetime of the solution.
You want to avoid too exact a replication of legacy solutions. Instead, carefully select a CRM solution that provides the core functionality that meets your business needs.
Before you plan to start customizing your CRM, first consider the application’s existing functionality. You may find that the core functionality supports your business requirements much better than anticipated, eliminating the need for costly customizations.
6-Use trained experienced consultants for implementation
Software consultants often boldly claim to be able to meet the requirements of CRM implementation. To ensure that CRM implementations are done on time and on budget, look for consultants who are thoroughly trained in the right implementation methodologies and have real-world experience in implementing these applications. How do you know that a potential integration partner meets these criteria? Hire someone who has been certified by the CRM software supplier for the latest version.
By using certified consultants at BestaxCA, you know you are working with people who understand the software inside and out.
7-Actively involve CRM users
Incorporate the expertise of end-user professionals into the system design. If you do not solicit and take into account the views of users, you risk implementing a CRM that confuses and alienates the people it is intended to help. Once you show them the basic features of the solution, they will tell you exactly what to do with the product to help them improve their efficiency.
8-Invest in CRM user training
Ensuring that CRM users are properly trained is crucial to the success of your implementation project. Training should not be overdone, nor should it focus solely on demonstrating how to use the software’s features. Instead, training should teach employees how to effectively implement the business processes offered by the CRM system.
It should also focus on change management, given that CRM implementation changes the business processes of a company. Employees need to understand how the new processes and the CRM solution will help the company better serve its customers. If employees understand how the system will make them more efficient in the long term, they will readily accept it.
9-Use a phased-in timetable
Most successful CRM projects follow a phased implementation schedule, focusing on a specific objective in each phase. Each successive phase builds on the work and lessons learned from the previous phases to quickly make a significant impact on the business.
By breaking down a complex project into more manageable chunks that deliver ‘quick wins, the phased approach generates enthusiasm for the new system from the integration team to the CRM users.
The advantage of a phased implementation is also that you can learn as you go. You can test new ideas in a low-risk format, incorporate customer feedback into the project under development and avoid repeating mistakes.
Phased implementation should not be confused with postponement. Each phase of a multi-phase project should have its own strict timetable to keep the overall implementation project on schedule. Most implementation projects should complete the initial phase in one quarter and be fully implemented in less than a year. The roll-out should not exceed six to eight quarters and the return on investment should be visible even earlier.
10-Measurement, monitoring, and tracking
Once a CRM system is operational, its effectiveness should be measured, monitored, and tracked in order to continuously improve its performance. Companies that benefit from CRM benchmark their processes early on. They identify the key performance indicators of these processes and measure the impact of the newly implemented CRM system on these indicators.
Customer attitude and behavior surveys should also be carried out periodically to assess the impact of CRM on customers. Use an independent service for customer surveys. Outsourcing will not only allow specialized skills and access to industry benchmarks but will also increase the likelihood of obtaining unfiltered customer responses that are more reliable.
Finally, the results of monitoring should be communicated to everyone involved in your CRM system.