Why Launching a CRM Involves More than the Flip of a Switch

Launching A CRM SwitchUnfortunately, implementing a customer relationship management system (CRM) is a bit more complicated than choosing a solution, flipping a switch, and watching all of your data magically fall into place like a game of Tetris.

In fact, a CRM project begins long before you start shopping for a solution. The first step is to figure out what you want your CRM to do and what results you want it to deliver. You need input not only from the senior manager who calls the budgetary shots, but the end users who expect the CRM to make their jobs easier on a daily basis.

Of course, the end user doesn’t always know what a CRM is capable of. They might struggle to articulate what they want. This is one of many reasons why it helps to work with a CRM consultant who can interpret sometimes convoluted input and say, “I know exactly what you’re talking about. Here’s what we can do.”

Different departments will use the CRM differently. Business processes need to be defined at the department level so they can be integrated with the CRM. Use cases, objectives and benefits need be identified and explained for each user group. This is how you get company-wide buy-in.

Without collaboration and proper planning, a CRM is less likely to meet user expectations, and people will stop using it. Without widespread adoption, a CRM can’t deliver much business value.

Remember, a CRM is designed to make life easier for employees and better serve your customers, so don’t be afraid to do a little internal marketing. Talk up the value of a CRM. Plan a launch party. Get people excited!

Once you build support for your CRM implementation, it’s time to take a look at your IT infrastructure. What applications will your CRM need to support? What systems need to be integrated? Is your infrastructure mobile-friendly and cloud-ready? Before you implement a CRM, make sure your IT environment can handle it.

Now you can start looking at CRM solutions. Holistic Business Solutions is a Zoho Alliance Partner, and our clients love Zoho’s cloud-based CRM systems. The cloud is great because it provides you with anytime, anywhere access to your data on virtually any desktop or mobile device. It’s the most cost-effective, scalable model, and you can add or remove services according to current business needs with pay-as-you-go pricing.

Once you’ve chosen a CRM system that has the functionality you demand, the CRM needs to be configured to do what you need it to do. Remember, a CRM is about more than collecting and accessing data. The true value of a CRM comes from its ability to automate previously manual processes based on pre-configured triggers.

For example, suppose a website user fills out a contact form and requests more information about a product. The user receives an email, thanking them for their interest and explaining that they will be contacted within 24 hours. The sales manager is alerted and the request is routed to a salesperson. Based on the nature of the request, the user is added to a segment of an email list to receive notifications with targeted information and promotions.

The stage is set to build a relationship and convert a lead into a customer. All of this is done automatically – if the triggering events are identified and the CRM is properly configured.

Once your CRM is configured, you’ll need to document processes and guidelines and develop a customized training program to ensure correct, consistent usage. Consider rolling it out to a small group so you can test and validate the configurations and design before launching it across the company.

In a nutshell, there’s a lot to think about when considering CRM implementation. Like any new technology, a CRM requires careful planning and specialized expertise. That’s why we’re here. Let Holistic Business Solutions walk you through your CRM project so you can take control of your data.