CRM: Implementing a system people will want to use


crm blog imageCustomer Relationship Management (CRM) software has never been more accessible. A cloud based solution is quick to implement, easy to use, cost effective and can drive business growth IF you implement it correctly and your team use it.

Achieve project success and drive user adoption with our top tips:

Choose the right implementation partner

When investing in software, have three potential implementation partners pitch and quote for you.  Ask for a minimum of three references from your preferred supplier, and contact two prior to committing.

Meet with your lead consultant before you sign on the dotted line. Sales people are good at the face to face stuff – your technical lead needs to be too. They’ll be responsible for teasing out requirements and training your team.

Have an internal project manager

Your partner will provide you with a proposed roll out plan – this needs to be a shared project plan.  Appoint a dedicated internal Project Manager (PM) who knows what’s realistic in your business and can build in adequate review and sign-off time.  Don’t fall at the first hurdle with a delayed launch!

The PM should be the internal ‘go to’ person and have weekly calls with the partner PM to track progress. If this person isn’t going to own the system on go live – agree and communicate who is up front.

Use cross department working groups

When it comes to scoping, use working groups to nail down key requirements and get buy in early. Have a representative from sales, service and marketing involved from the beginning.  They will have different needs and thoughts on what’s important – if the team are going to use the solution, it needs to make their jobs easier.

Involve the Senior Management team. They might not use CRM every day, but will rely on its reports, which will help define inputs.

Take care not to overpromise on nice to have’s and under deliver on value add. Manage expectations – be clear on phase 1 deliverables and what will be considered later on.

Have a project sponsor

Moving to a new system won’t excite everyone in your business. A change in how you work, new processes and data capture will have some of the team drag their feet.  Have a senior sponsor – someone to fly the flag on the importance of the project AND who can make things happen if needs be.

Data, data, data!

Don’t underestimate the time and effort that will need to go into getting your data in order. Businesses can have years of contact information on business cards, in mail boxes and people’s heads! Clean, complete data is essential to the success of your system.   It’s your data so you need to own it, not the partner.  Use CRM as an opportunity to have a clear out, and make sure you categorise data before import – this will help with targeted marketing campaigns and reporting.

Have a comms plan for roll out and launch

A new CRM system should excite not intimidate users, so make some noise about it!  Keep users informed on progress and generate some hype in the lead up to go-live. Consider holding a launch event and providing some give aways!

Make sure users know who the go to person is for queries, and the process and details for logging cases.

UAT and Sign-off

Have your working group test and accept the system before going live and signing off with the partner.  Time is money when working with service based organisations, make sure they have delivered what was promised and that it works!

Document your customisations

Have the partner document your customisations – this is anything which is not ‘out of the box’. This should be done as part of the initial project and will make it easy to hand the system over to another partner should you become dissatisfied with service.

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