What Makes for a Successful CRM Implementation?

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What Makes for a Successful CRM Implementation?

In this blog we are going to discuss some of the steps organizations can take to have a successful CRM implementation.  We will provide a list of 7 practices for a successful CRM implementation.

In our experience having a CRM implementation plan that includes the following 7 practices typically leads to success.

  1. Get outside guidance and help
  2. Look to streamline
  3. Anticipate as much as possible
  4. Get participation across an organization
  5. Transition in stages
  6. Make training a priority
  7. Reassess your project at completion

Get outside help

Getting some outside advice and guidance can really help increase a CRM implementation.  Outside help can come in the form of consulting, integration, and even platform administration.  CRM vendors will be able to assist to some degree.  However, it is best to bring in a resource with unbiased vendor-agnostic perspectives.  It is also best to bring in a resource that will look at your business as a whole … and not just see everything as a CRM project.

Look to streamline

As much as possible, organizations should look at a CRM implementation as a blank slate.  Starting with perfect world scenarios can help organizations think outside the box and develop the best final solution.  An outside consultant can help with this and can bring experience from other similarly sized businesses and companies from related industries and segments.  When looking to streamline, organizations must aim to keep their processes simple and straight forward.  They should also make every effort to clean up any data that will be imported and purge old records before importing them.  If records to not match a CRM implementation template this needs to be addressed up front.

Anticipate as much as possible

It might sound like it is obvious but when starting a CRM implementation plan it is best to anticipate as much as possible up front.  One thing organizations will want to get a grip on is migration timelines and schedules.  Gannt charts will assist with this visualization.  Easy to use tools like Smartsheets can be a big help.  Another big topic that needs to be anticipated is what will be connected to the CRM.  Some common modules businesses want to connect to their CRM include quotation and proposal options, appointment setting, email, SMS, chat, and telephony.  Others might include, commissions, inventory management or e-commerce.  Anticipating as much as possible will really help.  Not every module needs to be deployed at initial roll out either.  Making a CRM implementation template or plan is part of the anticipation we recommend.

Get Participation Across the Organization

A good outside consultant will interview all the stakeholders in an organization and ensure that as many needs and requirements are met as possible.  If you go it alone you should try to do this as well.  Consultants are typically trained and versed on change management.  They will be viewed as impartial outside observers and may be better able to gather needs and perspectives than inside resources.  Once a CRM implementation plan and CRM implementation template are developed, getting participation for roll outs is also crucial.  As much as possible, team leaders should help roll out a new CRM to their team and be part of the process along with outside experts.  For this reason, train the trainer models should be encouraged to develop institutional knowledge and buy in

Transition in Stages

A good CRM implementation plan will typically have stages.  Whether this is rolling out by department or rolling out basic features, and then add on modules, is up to individual companies.  A CRM is a critical business tool, and its adoption should not be rushed.  Like they say, “Rome was not built in a day”.  CRM rollouts should take as long as they have to, within reason.  Working with a good consultant and software integration company will allow businesses to develop a schedule, visualize and plan, with proper project management methodology and discipline.

Make Training a Priority

One thing we have found at Valenta repeatedly is that training must be made a priority.  We have had many projects where we have “re-implemented” poorly executed CRM roll outs.  Our work has included re mapping and renaming CRM fields.  Projects have also included re training and re-documenting in a company’s own language, … along with referencing any newly remapped fields and definitions.  No CRM implementation will succeed if users do not know how to use the tool.  They will also fail if everyone is not using it in the same ways once it is rolled out.

Reassess your Project

Finally, once you have completed a project you need to assess how you did and reassess if the assumptions you made at the start were the correct ones.  If you grade yourself poorly at any stage of your roll out, correcting that ASAP is the best course of action.  Likewise, if you missed a key requirement at the start that is now glaringly obvious, now is the time to go back and fix it.  Every healthy business should be aiming for a continuous improvement flywheel.

Want to learn more? 

Hopefully our list of 7 practices for a successful CRM implementation resonates with you and your business.  Some may seem basic … but taken together they can be very powerful.  At Valenta we can consult, handle integrations and launches and provide system administrators once a CRM platform is rolled out.  We have many projects completed with Salesforce, Zoho and other CRM.  We are exclusively focused on providing services to SMB clients.

If you would like to learn more about CRM, this blog is a great place to start:  What Is CRM

If you would like to get in touch with us related to CRM, or anything else, please reach out to us here. Contact us

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