Here's what you should consider when implementing a CRM system
After long, nerve-wracking weeks and months full of meetings and continuously weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of all offered systems, it is finally time to decide on a CRM! The joy is great, it can finally get started. Decision-makers are all excited when they look at studies on CRM usage. According to Hubspot, implementing a CRM can increase company revenue by nearly a third, and sales team productivity increases by the same amount. The marketing department also has reason to cheer. Conversion rates can increase by up to 300% under the influence of the new CRM. So, roll up your sleeves and get going!
However, despite all the excitement, the CRM project is still in its infancy as the operational phase now begins, focusing primarily on the question: How can the rollout of the new CRM be a complete success?
Here are our five tips for a successful CRM rollout, based on our conversations with customers and implementation partners.
Tip No. 1: Involving the tea
With these prospects, it's clear that the expectations of the decision-making team for CRM are high. But what is the point of having even the best idea if it is not accepted in practice? That's why involving future users as early as possible is the be-all and end-all for the success of a CRM project.
What are the individual expectations of CRM?
The first step here is to define who will be working with the CRM from now on. Also, can the requirements for the new system differ between departments? Looking at marketing, sales, and support separately, it quickly becomes clear that each team has its own requirements for the CRM in order to be able to effectively meet the challenges of their everyday work.
Therefore, all departments in question should be involved in the CRM implementation to offer a user interface with which all departments can start productively right away at the time of going live.
Suggestions and concerns can be exchanged and considered in open dialog with key users within the departments. In this way, the CRM rollout can be firmly established in each department even before going live. hanks to key users representing the departments, the rollout is not perceived as a project imposed "from above", but as a joint project in which the individual users are also heard.
Furthermore, this will have a positive effect on the acceptance of the system within the team. After all, even if the CRM implementation brings a lot of positive benefits, it is and will remain a significant change in the daily work routine. You should be forewarned that, as a creature of habit, many colleagues will find it difficult to become enthusiastic about the new CRM because, before the sales laurels can be harvested, they will first have to familiarize themselves with the new structures.
Get your team excited about the new CRM!
So, the first thing to do is to convince the team! How will everyone benefit from working with the new CRM system? Try to identify the biggest advantages for the respective departments and communicate them clearly afterward.
Can the implementation of an automated workflow eliminate several work steps at once? Can the CRM make it easier for prospects to contact the sales team? Will the greater transparency of the CRM enable a clearer statement about the buyer persona? And can this in turn simplify the sales process and make it more precise?
These are all points that act as motivators in the CRM rollout and reduce hesitations. Start looking for the specific benefits that will open for your company – and dare to use them to promote your CRM project!
Tip No. 2: Not "over-perfecting" the CRM
Even so be careful, even if the team's feedback is worth its weight in gold for your rollout, the structure of the CRM must not become a wish-fulfillment concert. After all, there's only a fine line between active user participation and a complete bogging down of the CRM rollout. Put the feedback from the departments together and identify the minimum requirements for the CRM.
Clarifying milestones on a roadmap
The outlined requirements are a very good starting point for further implementation decisions. By creating a roadmap, the milestones of the rollout can be defined, and at the same time, further expansion stages can be identified, and these can be tackled even after going live.
The fixed points on the roadmap should always be kept clear in mind to avoid overloading the system. Even if suggestions for workflows, custom fields, or activities come directly from the team, an over-perfected system runs the risk of not being used in its depth. In the worst-case scenario, the CRM will be completely ignored with a simple "I'll do this like before, it's faster than learning a new process" – and that's something we should avoid at all costs.
Tip No. 3: Trusting strong partners
A CRM rollout is a mammoth project with many dead ends and loops that cannot be planned or circumnavigated, even with the best preparation. In order to supposedly save costs, some companies decide to outsource the CRM rollout to their own IT department as an internal project.
However, the fact that this saves capacity and resources is usually a misconception. Since IT must shoulder the project in addition to its actual day-to-day business and usually has no explicit experience with a CRM rollout, the implementation can become very cost-intensive and an unpopular time-consuming task.
To avoid a bottleneck in the IT department, it is, therefore, advisable to work with an external partner. The rollout can proceed independently of day-to-day internal issues, and all efforts are focused on the planned go live. Why not take advantage of the extensive experience of an external partner who has already successfully implemented many such projects? In this way, one or the other lengthy extra round can be avoided in any case. In addition, during an exhausting rollout, everyone will be grateful for an effective and targeted implementation without unplanned delays.
TIP: If you are still looking for a suitable partner or have further questions in general about working with external partners, just get in touch with my colleague Stephan Katzenberger. He is responsible for partner account management at snapADDY and is very well connected with numerous implementation partners in the DACH region. I am sure that he will have an independent tip for the best partner for you!
Tip No. 4: Starting clean: cleaning data
Regardless of whether you are switching from one CRM system to another or whether you are switching to data maintenance via CRM for the first time, one thing is crucial for the acceptance of the new system: high-quality and valid data.
Right from the start, it must be easy for the user to work with the existing data. After all, we all know from a painful experience: a wrong number in the extension or a subsequent error message when sending an e-mail represents a potential cause of frustration. Even if it may be tempting to simply transfer all old contacts to the new system in order to start with the broadest possible database - don't do it! Even the most expensive, fastest, and best CRM system cannot help the user if the data is incorrectly maintained.
Get rid of unwanted data that lead to frustration - it is worth it
From the very beginning, when configuring the new CRM, the principle should be that only complete and correct data belongs there - so clean the old data!
That sounds like an unplanned, lengthy extra loop that could be risky for the going-live, right?
TIP: Ask a service provider to come on board and implement the data cleansing according to your specifications, so they can get to work independently of your CRM project team and external partners. This way, the going-live date remains unaffected, and the CRM goes directly live with high-quality data!
The snapADDY team has already successfully prepared numerous data sets of our clients in data cleansing projects. Through close cooperation with our clients and an initial proof-of-concept with a few test data sets, the expectations and results can be defined in advance. An approach that is consistently well appreciated by our clients: "The data quality achieved by snapADDY is surprisingly good. All automation in this field saves us quite a few working hours." (Market leader in the healthcare sector).
Tip No. 5: Turning key users into internal multipliers
Even though an external partner can take a lot of the burden off your shoulders, you also need a project team internally to ensure that the CRM is optimally integrated. After all, only the users in each department can provide feedback on the actual work situation and the resulting requirements.
To prevent the respective teams from being blocked by constant CRM-related meetings, it is worth setting up key users. Of course, they should ideally also bring "a little something" to the table. A key user may or may not be a manager. However, they should have sufficient know-how to be able to identify and represent the most important expectations of their own department. In this way, they can act as a voice between the project team and their own department to negotiate optimal conditions in CRM.
There should also be a general interest in the CRM project. Those who are already reluctant to change the system will hardly want to or be able to support the dynamic project.
Ideally, your key users should be enthusiastic and able to act as evangelists, so to speak, to proclaim the good news of the CRM project. The influence of key users on the internal acceptance of the CRM system is immense. They stand up for the system, become the face of the new software through training and become the individual contact person for the end users - a potential that you should not leave unused.
If you follow our five tips, you will create a very good groundwork for your CRM rollout. This way, your CRM project will not become a grueling time-eater, but a corporate vision that future users will look forward to.
Eva Keller has been an expert for digital sales at snapADDY GmbH since 2017. Previously, she worked for a PR agency in Darmstadt where she was responsible for clients from the children and lifestyle segments. The political scientist started her career as PR manager for a member of the Bavarian parliament.