Deploying a CRM Solution? Follow These 8 Guiding Principles

“I wish I’d known…” Many managers have uttered this phrase when recalling their customer relationship management (CRM) implementation experience. Choosing the right CRM platform for your business is no small feat. These guiding principles will help you avoid common pitfalls encountered when deploying new CRM.

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Start with the end in mind.

The CRM you choose must work for your people and priorities. Before researching software options, define your project goals, describe who will use the technology, and map how the CRM will affect the customer life cycle. Identifying desired outcomes and outlining an implementation strategy takes work up front, but it is well worth it in the long run.

Anticipate change.

When envisioning your CRM strategy, ensure it is flexible enough to weather inevitable change—in the marketplace and your business. Choose a CRM that can adapt to such change —configuration flexibility versus customized add-ons and enhancements. Software that meets current priorities and has the capacity to scale as your business expands is a non-negotiable.

Ask users for input.

Get stakeholders involved as early as possible to ensure buy-in and encourage adoption once the CRM is launched. Ask focus groups to share their CRM wish lists so you can deliver on key business needs. During the research process, allow key internal and external users to provide feedback about your top software options.

Focus on alignment.

CRM should not operate as a solo platform. Plenty of solutions can be integrated with other technology and productivity platforms such as email, marketing, and enterprise resource planning. To maximize the value your CRM provides and streamline company-wide processes, consider how CRM will align and integrate with other critical business systems.

Ensure ease of use.

All research and planning are wasted if your chosen CRM software is not user-friendly. CRM software exists to remove the angst often associated with data and analysis. This means your end user need not be a data scientist or technologist. It also requires a CRM platform with mobile capabilities and real-time updates for users—like sales professionals—who regularly interact with customer data on the go.

Keep it simple.

Like easy access, an intuitive user interface is critical for CRM software to be widely adopted by stakeholders. Avoid solutions with inconsistent nomenclature and little guidance on how to navigate account entries and customer data. When it comes to fields, less is more—only the most important details about each contact or opportunity is required, with the option for users to add more detailed information when it becomes available.

Create implementation milestones.

Build morale with quick wins. Avoid being overly ambitious by deploying CRM features that confuse or intimidate users. Instead, allow stakeholders to gain comfort and familiarity with the software’s foundational operations before adding a new layer of complexity. An iterative CRM launch will deliver high value in a short amount of time and help you achieve a better return on your investment.

Major in metrics.

You don’t know what you don’t measure. As part of your CRM project plan, create metrics for each of the proposed business areas that will be impacted by the system. Track and report metrics regularly to ensure your new software is achieving intended outcomes.

A bonus principle

Many CRM users tout this final “bonus” principle as the game-changer for a successful CRM launch: Find expert support. Alleviate implementation pressure by allowing a team of technologists, business thinkers, and project management professionals to guide you every step of the way. BroadPoint Inc.’s Microsoft gold-certified consulting team is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.

 
 
Zach Volpicelli