Implementing a new tool or process in your business is a big decision, regardless of what that tool is. At Base, we’re known for our easy CRM implementations. To that end, we wanted to share with you some tips for making your CRM implementation as seamless as possible – no matter what CRM your company chooses.
Quick Start CRM Implementation Guide
1. Be a smart shopper
Some businesses make the decision to invest in a CRM without much thought at all - don’t let that be you. CRMs are meant to change the way your sales team operates (for the better), so make sure you do your research. Some features to look for include sleek, easy-to-use design, flexibility and monthly subscription model; you don’t want to be stuck with a tool that cost tens of thousands of dollars if you don’t end up loving it. To get you started here, we created a CRM requirements template that will help you define what you need in your software and sift through the software vendors to find the best fit for you. You can download it here.
2. Reduce friction
The key here is to start slow. Use a bottom-up approach and find out what your primary users need. When implementing your CRM, outline a few key KPIs and identify the sales activities that go along with them. A CRM that’s full of obscure features and functions can make the system seem cumbersome and user-unfriendly. Start small and build out new features as you grow.
3. Don’t re-enter data: migrate it
Data importing is often seen as a barrier to implementing a new tool – but if you partner with the right CRM, it doesn’t have to be. Where some tools will only accept a certain kind of file with certain fields, others make it easy as pie by offering flexible solutions to import your contact information and deals, like Base’s deal importer tool. Other CRM’s also offer import options.
4. Find your cheerleader
It’s easy to be a cheerleader at the beginning when you’re implementing a shiny, new tool that promises to encourage knowledge-sharing, increase productivity and ultimately increase sales. However, your cheerleader has to see it through. Set up a series of checkpoints throughout the implementation to ensure your team is using the tool as your business sees fit – and retrain as necessary. (By the way, building the right CRM implementation team is just as important – read more about it here.)
5. Keep your documentation simple
While writing down best practices and processes is good, don’t overwhelm your team with a documentation guide the size of “War and Peace.” Your teams should be able to understand how to use their CRM tool at a glance, so keep it simple. Place a copy in a shared drive where everyone can see it.
6. Make the executives use it
This is a key piece of driving adoption, because if your executives start off using your CRM and move away from it as the implementation goes on, that sends a clear message to your sales team: this tool isn’t important. Even if it’s just keeping their profiles current and using the tool to create reports, every single member of your sales team needs to buy in.
7. Don’t support multiple systems
Change is hard, so some of your team may want to continue to use spreadsheets, e-mails, and handwritten notes, because “that’s the way we’ve always done things.” To prevent this, top management should refuse any report not generated with the official system. The reluctant will quickly figure out that it’s less work to use the system than to rekey the data.
Check out 12 Rules for a Successful CRM Implementation, written by Geoffrey James, columnist at Inc.com.
What challenges have you had to overcome when introducing new tools to your business? Let me know in the comments section below.
More Business articles from Business 2 Community: