CRM Software Development Checklist

PostedOn: 2017-06-06 12:07:06

Periodic CRM Software Reviews Add To Software ROI 

As another year begins wouldn't it be great to start fresh without the leftover IT hassles from the prior year? Customer relationship management (CRM) systems touch both your customers and a wide population of your company staff. Making improvements in your CRM systems can have material and sustained benefits in the years to come. Now may be a great time to take stock and make some tweaks to your CRM software in order to improve customer facing business processes and customer service, to both your internal and external customers.

  • Unless you use the SaaS CRM model, start by catching up on your CRM software vendor's Web site for all new patches and updates and apply them now before the work starts piling up and this fails to make it to the top of the priority list. This is an important software maintenance item and it's good practice to get into the habit right at the start of the year.
  • Also check for and install related software patches for your operating systems, web servers, databases and other related applications.
  • Have any glaring holes in your CRM applications that need to be filled? Any missing software modules that could help with staff productivity? Any newly released features that you haven't implemented yet? Now is a good time to talk with your CRM vendor to see if they have special end-of-year pricing or similar promotions that they'd like to unveil to bolster their revenue before the quarter or year closes, while helping you fill your needs.
  • Are there any remaining customer relationship management application training issues that need to be gone over with your staff? Can your users help your business get more out of the CRM system by getting more in-depth training? Can your staff help you bring in more sales, customers and business opportunities by improving their knowledge and skills with the application? If so, now is a great time to look at additional training options to expand software skills. Investing in your staff who use these tools can only help maximize software ROI.
  • Make the rounds to speak with staff and ask them how the CRM applications are working. Are there functions that need to be improved? Are there any bottlenecks causing problems? Identify the problems or opportunity improvement areas and talk to your IT staff to get them fixed.
  • Reach out to a sampling of key customers in order to see how your company is serving their needs. Ask them to be candid and honest. Listen to them carefully. If there are communications, service, order processing or any other issues caused in part by your CRM software then get them resolved. Remember, CRM applications are there to help your business help your customers, not hinder them.
  • Do a simple top-to-bottom systems review of your CRM software deployment and see if there are improvements that can be made to reduce data entry, minimize screen to screen navigation, decrease cycle times or get more helpful information out of the system. Many times, small changes in navigation or page structure can lead to big improvements and happier users.
  • Are all your business systems integrated? Is your enterprise resource planning (ERP) application interfaced to your CRM system properly so that customer, order, invoice and related customer information flows back and forth as needed? Are there any issues that show a pattern on IT trouble tickets that need to be fixed?
  • Ask yourself some big picture questions: Is there anything we could be doing better in our CRM software system? How can we make those improvements happen? What are we waiting for?
  • Give praise. Your IT team and your staff have worked hard through one of the toughest economic cycles in recent history. Yet there you are, still standing in one form or another. Somehow you have made it through the challenges, though probably not without sacrifices. So remember to personally thank everyone on your team and in your employ for their help, dedication, patience and efforts. Let them know that they are appreciated. Such praise will also provide dividends for future IT projects. 

The new year is often an ideal opportunity to review your information systems with an eye toward continuous process improvements. Business software systems such as CRM applications are never 'done' and letting them go stagnate is a recipe for growing user dissatisfaction and reduced software ROI. However, the opposite is also true. Periodic reviews and upgrades grow user buy in, increase IT's value to the company and significantly raise software ROI.