It’s important to start right with CRM. Decisions you make in the beginning can come back to haunt you if they are not the right decisions.
A CRM system can do many things, but it’s important that you decide what is most important to your business while your system is still in the planning stage.
Knowing what’s the most important aspects of CRM for your business will help you plan out your system’s architecture and will let you make those important aspects the easiest and most efficient in your particular system.
The success of your CRM system depends largely on getting your people to actually use it. Most CRM failures result from sales staff and other employees not using the system and a big part of CRM implementation is to prevent that.
This takes a sales job to convince employees of the benefits of CRM in the way they do their jobs. Point out the benefits and stress how CRM will make their jobs more productive and profitable.
Selling CRM is an ongoing effort and you have to keep selling it even after the system is up and running.
You can’t effectively train your staff on CRM in a single session. It will take repeated efforts to get people sufficiently comfortable with CRM to make them proficient.
Plan to start your CRM training sessions early and repeat them as the implementation progresses. Continue training as the system rolls out.
Back up the training with resources that can help employees help others to master the system. Also, offer printed materials such as cheat sheets and manuals to help your people master the CRM system.
Strive for simplicity in your processes and workflows with plenty of easy-to-follow screens. The easier you make it, the faster your people will learn and the fewer mistakes you will have.
Spend the time to design screen and workflows that will flow naturally and be easy for your workers to follow. It’s worth spending hours on this process to shave minutes of each use of the CRM system.
By the same token, be sparing of the amount of information you ask your employees to input, especially in the beginning. Your people aren’t data entry clerks and they will resent having to enter a bunch of data for every transaction. As much as possible, automate the data entry process and never ask to enter the same information twice.
There is a natural tension between marketing, which wants all sorts of information, and the people collecting it. Think carefully and make every piece of information justify itself.
A CRM system represents a lot to absorb in one gulp. That’s one reason big bang rollouts don’t work well. Instead, divide your CRM system into phases and phase them in one at a time.
It will take longer to get fully up and running, but the process will go a lot more smoothly.
All new processes need leadership from the top and CRM is no exception. Stay involved and keep pushing implementation as you go along. Weak or non-existent leadership is a major cause of people not using the CRM system and the resulting failure.