Managing a successful CRM Implementation

A successful CRM implementation relies on many elements coming together. Through several dozen launches, we’ve narrowed down the ingredients for success to six critical factors. These are:

  1. Build the right stakeholder team
  2. Define your goals and the overall vision
  3. How CRM integrates with your other systems
  4. The right partner
  5. User guidelines
  6. Training & adoption

This can look a little daunting at first, but when you break each piece down they aren’t so intimidating. With your bases covered in these six areas you’ll help ensure a successful implementation.

1. Stakeholder buy-in

The successful implementation of any CRM is based on buy-in from users. A lack of support from your stakeholders, especially senior staff, will have a trickle-down effect through the organisation, slowing the adoption for all employees. 

The implementation of a new CRM involves most, if not all, parts of an organisation – so your senior executives and top levels of line management must be involved from the start and become champions of the software. This builds credibility and inspires other users to adopt it. Get them involved from the get-go and their passion for the project will help ensure its success.

2. Define your goals

Defining the goals for the new system should be done by a team of people from across the business. Building the right team in the early stages of the project is vital and will complement the stakeholder buy-in you have achieved in step one. In this team you should collaborate to understand your overall vision and set the right goals for what you want to achieve, and validate this with your key stakeholders.

Once those initial goals and vision are set, the project management team should begin orchestrating the entire project, ensuring constant engagement from all staff and making sure all the correct steps are taken, the timing is right, and all goals are being met as the project progresses.

3. Integration

If your new CRM is consolidating several workflows, then it's highly likely that it will need to feed into, and receive data from, other systems. Luckily, integration is no longer a dirty word in the CRM world! A good CRM will integrate out-of-the-box with most common systems, or use APIs, and will be able to utilise a large ecosystem of plug-in functionality to meet specialised requirements.

The same applies if you’re upgrading or replacing an older system in most cases. If you have the right partner (see point 4 below) this side of things should be well and truly covered in the initial project discovery phase to ensure there are no surprises.

4. Engaging the right provider

Choosing the right partner for your CRM implementation will involve meetings with multiple providers. There are many factors to consider in choosing a provider and they are often specific to what your organisation needs. TIP: Ask them how they’ll help you with the points above.

No matter your size, needs or budget, it is important that your CRM provider is there for you from your initial planning stage to well past the actual implementation to:

  • Give their understanding of your vision, and show how the technology will be used to deliver on that vision
  • Provide you with the overall architecture and the underlying technology – and explain how that aligns to the goals you have set
  • Elaborate on the various services and solutions the vendor and its partners provide, and see how and where they can assist your organisation
  • Explain the total cost of ownership in black and white
  • “Explain and train” in detail the functionality of the application how to utilise it

5. User Guidelines

A CRM is only as good as the data that is put in to it, which is why it is essential to have a set of common usage guidelines. If your users are unaware of how to enter data in the correct format, it will be difficult to make the most of your new software - such as tracking sales progress through pipelines, reporting, sending emails or offering the right customer service.

Usage guidelines should be made readily available and should state exactly how data should be input and managed within the CRM.

6.Training, Training and Training!

While the guidelines you have set up in step 5 will be important, if your users are unaware of how to use the system then there’s just no point.

All of us learn differently, so while you will have early adopters who will love a brand-new system, there are those who may be more reluctant to change current process and be wary of something new. Your project manager should have the correct strategies in place to be able to handle both types – and for those in the middle. One thing is for sure, no matter where they are on the adoption curve everyone will need training!

Given people learn in different ways, it is best to offer some options. Be it classroom style or on-the-job training from your partner, online courses or learn at your own pace documents, there are plenty of options for the delivery of training that will serve most learning styles. A good idea is to have passionate experts internally, who can mentor other employees through the first three months of adoption.

An introduction to your CRM system should also be included in the induction programs you run, so that your new employees will learn, and understand, that this is the way you work in your organisation. 

Conclusion

The implementation of a CRM will be a project that requires detailed advance preparation, a high level of commitment from senior stakeholders and cooperation from all levels within your organisation.

Most importantly, this will be an organisation-wide change in mindset, as a CRM will transform the way you do business - for the better. This is not a plug-and-play solution, it’s a new way of thinking within your organisation, putting your customers front and centre.

If you would like to see how a Fusion5 CRM solution can benefit your business, contact us on the form below to arrange a consultation or demonstration of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM solution. 

Contact us today to arrange a free demonstration of Dynamics 365 for the Construction Industry

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