Top 5 Rules for Successful CRM Deployment

With any new product or service launch, a well-crafted plan requires an upfront investment but pays off in the long run. Save your organization money and time by following these five rules as you prepare for your CRM deployment.

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The truth lies in the balance

Many companies over-customize CRM to perfectly match their current practices. This mistake adds significant initial and ongoing development costs when customizations must be undone. Other companies choose CRM that doesn’t include enhancements needed for the software to grow with them. Down the road, they require expensive upgrades for their changing needs.

Instead, choose a “middle of the road” CRM strategy. First, select CRM that provides adequate configuration capabilities considering your current practices and future growth plans. Next, keep initial configurations to a minimum and test the application with users to understand what should and shouldn’t be changed. Follow an iterative launch process that includes at least one pilot phase to ensure final deployment accurately reflects your organization’s and users’ priorities.

Beware the shiny penny

Productivity applications are helping companies do more with less and increasing business process efficiency in numerous ways. If you’re not careful, however, the bells and whistles these products offer can be distracting.

CRM is designed to gather customer data, but effective deployment requires a plan for how you’re going to use those data. If you’re gathering data for the sake of gathering it, you’re wasting users’ time and your resources. Instead, look for ways to apply customer data to improve marketing and sales processes and increase customer engagement and retention.

Also, a CRM system is only as good as the data you feed it. If your customer data are outdated, your CRM’s outputs will be irrelevant, too. Before moving forward with your CRM launch, understand how data will be used in the coming year and how they have been used in the prior year.

Set strategy and stay the course

Do you know the business goals you plan to accomplish through CRM? For example—tracking customer buying behavior to inform product decisions, increasing sales process efficiency, or reporting real-time metrics of ongoing marketing campaigns. Once you’ve described your CRM strategy, determine what operational changes are needed to accomplish these outcomes. Finally, identify the stakeholders who will own the achievement of each goal.

CRM is not a magic bullet for business priorities; rather, it exists to support critical process changes in sales, marketing, and customer service. Don’t spend money on CRM until your vision forward is crystal clear.

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Products don’t solve people problems

CRM deployment is successful only if people use the system. The most important step to ensure user adoption is getting buy-in from the top. Senior leaders in your organization must be involved in planning, testing, and deployment. They must communicate to the entire organization the process changes that are coming due to CRM and promote the many benefits individuals in sales, marketing, and customer service will experience.

Second, identify individuals to act as ambassadors for CRM deployment. These “super-users” are involved early and often in the deployment process and work closely with the CRM vendor. They are advocates for CRM adoption when other users have questions or concerns.

Teach them to fish

Set your organization up for success by giving them all the support they need throughout CRM deployment. For example, share common usage guidelines that are easily available and clearly state what needs to be done and when, and how to use the CRM system to accomplish these tasks.

Master fundamental tasks before moving on to more complex CRM functionality. If users don’t know how to complete simple tasks like data entry, it’s difficult to realize the more impressive benefits CRM provides such as fast and relevant customer service, sales pipeline tracking, and email marketing campaigns.

Finally, all users need training. Provide multiple channels for people to learn depending on where they are located and how they will use the software. Include an introduction to the CRM system when onboarding new employees to equip them with the tools they need from the start.

Could you benefit from additional project management expertise and training support for your upcoming CRM deployment? Contact BroadPoint Inc.’s Microsoft gold-certified consulting team to learn more.

 
 
Zach Volpicelli