How to start implementing CRM in 10 basic steps

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Author: Heidi Ojamaa

How to start implementing CRM in 10 basic steps

The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool collects, organizes, and manages company-wide customer-related information so you can track the path of each of your customers – with whom, when, and how you interact. The right software helps a company reach its full potential and provide better customer service.

A good customer management tool simplifies, standardizes, automates, and integrates processes across the company’s departments, such as sales, marketing, and customer management.

CRM comes into play even when a company has enough activity to need automation. When there are few customers and activities, sales invoices can be safely transferred to an Excel spreadsheet – as long as you can deliver with them, there is no reason to think about more expensive alternatives. The second story is when the goal is to grow. Start-ups may initially have a small customer base, but for rapid growth to be possible, the base needs to be tidied up.

How to start implementing CRM?

  1. Assemble a team – create an in-house team responsible for the project and don’t forget to appoint a product owner. A CRM implementation project will not come out if it is just an additional hobby for a few employees. The ideal team consists of a business analyst, a project manager (product owner) and a data analyst. Make sure the team is really interested in what’s coming, as they should become the company’s most passionate CRM proponents. Also, start building a culture of knowledge transfer right away. Document everything, create an internal knowledge base, be strict with external consultants – they must also document everything! Yes, it is very likely that you will need a team of external consultants, more on that later.
  2. Identify the most difficult business issues you plan to address through CRM deployment / migration and turn them into goals for your project.
  3. If you are not completely clear about your data architecture, business processes, and enterprise architecture, invest in a business audit and get an overview of where you are and where you want to be.
  4. Give up the idea of ​​creating your own CRM solution. If you can do it and it’s user-friendly, stable, scalable, secure – you’re in the wrong business.
  5. Choose a CRM solution. Review the compiled list of business issues, strategy, and growth expectations and relate it to the functionality of the recommended CRM solutions. Remember, it is critical that your CRM solution be scalable as your business grows. On the one hand, migration is a costly and time-consuming process. On the other hand, sticking to and innovating with a solution that doesn’t follow your growth is about as effective as trying to turn your VW Golf into a plane.
    As your business grows, you will need to rebuild existing functionality, which will cause problems with other components – this is called “technical debt” and is costly to get rid of.
  6. Review possible integrations with other platforms in use. The goal is to avoid data silos, duplicate data, and duplicate customer profiles. Ideally, keep CRM, customer support and marketing automation in one solution. Salesforce has this capability.
  7. In-house implementation vs. professional services? Similar to building the solution yourself, try to get rid of the idea of ​​implementing it in-house as soon as possible. Doing it yourself is great, but it brings with it a number of problems, such as the accumulation of “technical debt” mentioned above, an incorrect assessment of the project leading to higher costs, a lack of a “big picture” view and a lack of relevant experience within the company team.
  8. When choosing an implementation partner, consider the following aspects:
    – relevant experience in the same / similar field;
    – the partner’s willingness to support you not only until going live, but also to provide maintenance;
    – Background of the implementation partner’s staff (data architect, technician, business and industry knowledge). Check that the external experts assigned to your project are properly certified. For example, when implementing Salesforce, not only an administrator certificate is enough, but at least a Salesforce Consultant certificate.
    From a security perspective, it is important to understand whether the partner company employs freelance / outsourced consultants or whether they are all their own employees. If the company uses outsourced or overseas labor, confirm their profiles and location. Remember that this team will deal with your customers’ data, think about data protection and GDPR.
  9. Be sure to set up a proper knowledge and skills transfer with the Implementation Partner team and assign your internal team member to overshadow the external team during the project. One sign that you have made a good choice of implementation partner is that the external team keeps the communication channels open, is proactive and agile in creating a transparent project management framework, and is ready to educate your internal team.
  10. Divide the project into stages and start your implementation with employee involvement. Create strong internal communication around the pre-CRM deployment, showing that something cool is coming and that they are taking a new and exciting step in their careers and professional development. In Hilti, for example, the Salesforce deployment project was heavily promoted and even named Evolution.

Define a pilot group / pilot markets / pilot sector of your company’s users who will be the first users of the new platform and start preparing to go on board from day one. The testing and deployment plan should be an integral part of the implementation project.

What mistakes to avoid when implementing a new CRM read from here.

If you have decided to take customer management to a new level and want to be sure that the system reaches its full potential, come and lets have a talk.