Charlotte Davis

Posted on

Successful CRM Implementation Explained

Business Customer CRM Management Analysis Service Concept manage
Home / Blog / CRM / Successful CRM Implementation Explained

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) implementation focuses on utilizing solutions and strategies for centralizing brand-customer communication.

One of the crucial aspects of CRM implementation is choosing and learning to work with CRM software that supports your company’s structure, workflow, and vision. But CRM software itself is not enough to achieve the goals of successful CRM implementation.

You will need proper research, planning, and, most importantly, a good understanding of what type of tool a good CRM software is to use all of its potential for your benefit.

But how to do that?

In this article, we will talk in-depth about the importance of a CRM system and how to implement it properly so you and your team can use it to the full extent and generate the most significant profit.

After reading this piece, you’ll be better equipped to introduce and implement a CRM in your company, giving your brand the highest chance of success with this software.

What Is CRM Implementation?

At first glance, the CRM implementation process seems relatively straightforward. In theory, it all comes down to choosing CRM software, transferring your customer data to the platform, and learning and training teams on how to use it.

However, this project can be more challenging than it looks on the surface. In fact, some companies hire CRM implementation specialists to ensure a smoother rollout, relying on somebody else’s experience in this matter.

Still, this process can be accomplished successfully without outside assistance. There are various CRM software platforms available on the market, many of which offer all the essential features and tools for managing customer relationships. Those can be incorporated relatively easily into your company’s internal processes.

Even more complex tools can be implemented without many complications along the way if you know what you’re doing.

How to implement a CRM system, and what are the benefits of having a good implementation plan in place?

The Benefits of Proper CRM Implementations

Pointing out advantages of using CRM to manage your customer relationships is easy. A quality CRM platform will offer you means to automate different tasks, streamline your work in various teams, and create more foolproof strategies that ultimately increase your client retention and profits.

There are obvious pros to strategizing the CRM solution implementation process as well. These would be:

  • Saved money. Knowing your goals and needs means you’re spending your money wisely, not settling on insufficient solutions that cost you new deals and customer retention rates. Getting your CRM vendor right is the key to success.
  • Saved time. Good strategizing will make CRM implementation seamless in all your teams and departments. You will have the chance to achieve your goals faster and use a CRM system to its full capacity.
  • Utilizing the potential of your CRM data. CRM software is only one piece of the puzzle, and there is not one miracle CRM platform that will offer you outstanding results with CRM data that is disorganized and outdated. A proper CRM implementation strategy will eliminate this issue, allowing you to review all your customer data before incorporating it into your new CRM system.
  • Giving all CRM users solid foundations. The way your teams understand and utilize the system is crucial. In the initial stages of CRM implementation, as well as further down the road, offering sufficient support to your employees in terms of training sessions is very important and a prominent element of a good CRM implementation process.
  • Working with tools that support your objectives. What support structure do your teams require? Do you want to focus on your sales team or support your marketing team? Are you looking for a comprehensive tool that will provide you with all the essential features for both your sales reps and marketing specialists? A good implementation strategy will offer you answers to those questions.

Successful CRM Implementation Plan – What It Includes?

Now that we have established the importance of a good CRM implementation plan, it’s time to focus on the most important part — the CRM implementation strategy itself.

What steps should you take to ensure that the implementation goes smoothly and the end results are what you’ve hoped for?

  1. Think about your business needs
  2. Find the best CRM app for your objectives
  3. Pick a plan that works for you
  4. Integrate the rest of your tools
  5. Create a CRM Implementation Team
  6. Set out your metrics, KPIs, and goals
  7. Prepare your CRM data
  8. Onboard your team
  9. Collect the feedback
  10. Analyze the data

Let’s take a closer look into how each stage can be implemented to successfully introduce and benefit from CRM technology.

Sits by the table with laptops. Young business people in formal clothes working in the office

How To Implement a CRM System – 10 Important Steps

Think about your business needs

You are at the very beginning of the implementation when it’s crucial to identify and focus on your business processes and requirements, the nature and size of your industry and company, the size of your teams, and what kind of support they need.

You might find it helpful to answer a few questions, like:

  • What are your main goals that the new CRM system should help you achieve?
  • Do you want to find a tool for managing customer relationships and marketing automation?
  • Do you need a tool to gain new leads?
  • Do you need features for team management?
  • How many team members and teams will be using the platform?

Find the best CRM app for your objectives

The next step is to see what’s out there regarding suitable CRM apps and platforms. Fortunately, the CRM software market is overflowing with various quality solutions. There are apps for small businesses and freelancers and platforms for bigger organizations with multiple teams and larger customer bases.

Having your goals clearly outlined will be a big help in selecting the most optimal CRM systems for your needs. Consider other clients’ reviews and compare the pricing of tools that interest you. Select one or a couple of platforms that show the biggest promise.

Most CRM systems offer free trials, so you can easily test out different products and choose the one that provides you with the most benefits.

Pick a plan that works for you

Successful implementation is about setting realistic frameworks for the CRM and your business; part of that is smart budgeting. You can benefit from the free versions of software, but in many cases, that won’t be enough to meet your needs and goals, and you’ll have to switch to a paid plan.

Be prepared to set a comprehensive budget for your CRM system, and make sure that it doesn’t impact your company’s financial standing (especially important in smaller organizations, where CRM software is often an additional cost, not the absolute necessity).

Integrate the rest of your tools

Integrations are an essential part of any initial implementation strategy. The new system must be compatible with the tools you already use. For example, connecting your CRM with your accounting software and social media dashboards is crucial, so choosing a system that supports these integrations is a must-have.

This will ensure your system fits seamlessly with other apps and software platforms you rely on in your everyday work.

Create a CRM Implementation Team

It’s also important to appoint a dedicated implementation team that will learn this new technology and will be able to train others down the line. Having such a backup will make it much easier in the rollout stage.

Choose a project manager to run this project. This person should be experienced in carrying out new initiatives and preferably should have some experience with CRM software and how they operate.

Set out your metrics, KPIs and goals

In this stage, you want to establish the metrics against which you’ll be evaluating the effectiveness of your new marketing automation tool. After all, you can only benefit from solutions that bring you real value, and it’s harder to see that value when you don’t know what angle to view it from.

These metrics could be:

  • Length of the sales cycle.
  • Upsell rate.
  • Cost of CRM vs. sales and profits.
  • Effectiveness of marketing campaigns in acquiring new leads.

Prepare your CRM data

One of the essential CRM implementation phases is preparing your CRM data for a transfer. You will likely have some duplicate data and out-of-date information to remove. It’s important to do so as it will significantly improve the effectiveness of your marketing and sales processes.

If you’re preparing for the data migration from one CRM platform to another, you may benefit from CRM tools that will merge duplicate data and remove all the unnecessary information for you. And there’s always the option to hire professionals to do it for you, although it might not be the best solution if you own a small business and your budget is tight.

Onboard your team

Once your CRM platform is up and running, it’s time to bring your entire organization on board. It’s beneficial to ensure your employees have enough time to learn the ins and outs of the new CRM. Make sure your sales managers, marketing team, and other departments have sufficient resources to learn the new system.

Hosting training sessions or company-wide CRM onboarding events is a good strategy to ease the entire team through this process. You may also want to consider accommodating ongoing training for team members in the future.

Collect the feedback

One of the last stages of any good Customer Relationship Management implementation process is collecting feedback from the CRM users. It will help you evaluate the effectiveness of a tool and how it supports your employees in their work.

Analyze the data

Last but very crucial step in the CRM implementation journey is the analysis of gathered feedback and other valuable data (this is when you want to return to the metrics and KPIs you’ve set earlier).

Granted, the analysis should take place after you and your team have spent some time with the system. You can do such evaluation at the end of the free trial or even later, after a couple of months.

Remember that the evaluation stage is an ongoing process, and you should conduct it regularly to keep your finger on the pulse. This last step should give you a good idea of what works and doesn’t work in your current CRM strategy and what type of changes (switching to a different plan or CRM solution) is worth considering.

What Is the Cost of CRM Implementation?

Proper CRM implementations impact the quality of work, the ease with which companies use CRM systems, and, ultimately, customer satisfaction. And we know that even 70% of CRM implementation projects fail. That is why a proper CRM adoption plan can make such a difference.

We explained how to seamlessly migrate to CRM software, but how much does it cost to implement CRM?

Of course, the costs will vary from business to business. For example, suppose you decided to hire one of the CRM implementation companies. In that case, you will be looking at costs associated with the process and additional fees the company will charge you.

Generally, CRM implementation costs can be broken down into two different categories.

Time investment

  • The research stage
  • Implementation and rollout process
  • Existing CRM data migration
  • Training

Fees

  • CRM app subscription
  • Add-ons
  • CRM implementation company’s fees
  • Customization features
  • Ongoing training and staff support
  • Data clean-up and migration
  • Staff overtime during implementation

The CRM implementation process can cost you $5,000, $10,000, or $20,000, depending on the size of your organization and the complexity of the tool you’re choosing.

Key Takeaways

CRM implementation doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Although it can be somewhat time-consuming and requires dedication from your teams and financial investment, with proper strategy in place, it is worthwhile.

Implementing CRM into your company’s fabric can take even two months, but it’s a valuable time that offers you insights into your CRM needs and goals, as well as how well your CRM system fulfills them.

Following our implementation plan will offer you the highest chance of success in introducing and utilizing your CRM solution to the fullest, making the whole process easier and, more importantly, profitable.

If you’re interested in more similar articles, check the Productively blog! We share a lot of valuable resources and reviews of the best CRM apps on the market.

Subscribe
our newsletter

Stay ahead of the tech curve with our cutting-edge software and technology newsletter

Index