10 Steps to a Successful CRM Implementation

1. Identify why your organization needs a CRM system. Your organization will maximize the benefits of a CRM system by first identifying which areas you want to improve or which problems need to be addressed.

2. Research the many vendors in the CRM bracket to find one that will be a good fit for your organization.Consider factors, such as:

  • Strength of the vendor’s product
  • Vendor’s experience in the CRM market
  • Knowledge level of the vendor’s employees
  • Vendor’s corporate vision
  • Vendor’s experience in working with companies the same size as yours
  • Customer references

3. Instill good businesses practices before implementing your CRM system. The last thing you want to do is automate bad processes or deploy a CRM system that forces you to change the way you do business. Evaluate the quality of your business procedures and improve any shortcomings, then make sure the CRM system you choose can accommodate your practices.

4. Create a formula to assess the system’s benefits for your company. Declaring intangible benefits, such as increased productivity and better communication, is relatively easy to do, but gauging concrete payoffs, like a million dollar revenue boost or a 10% increase in customer retention, requires some planning. Knowing the system’s benefit calculation is important because it benchmarks the success of your customer strategy and validates the importance of the system.

5. Identify which areas within your organization will use the system. Gather input from all areas to ensure everyone’s needs are met. You’ll want to make sure that all users are satisfied with the functionality of the system because everyone must use the system in order for it to succeed.

6. Develop a realistic budget that accounts for all expenses associated with the implementation of CRM system.Be sure to discuss all of your expectations with your chosen CRM partner so you can both work to meet your budget.

7. For the first phase of your CRM implementation, estimate how you might want the system to evolve in the future. For example, are there areas of the CRM system you will want customized to meet your unique needs? Add users? Find out if the system will be able to accommodate these changes.

8. After the first phase of implementation, you can consider additional phases for rollout. For example, once you have used the system for a few months, you might want to extend the system to other departments, implement other modules or other customizations that you did not consider during the initial implementation.

9. Evaluate whether you will need the system to interact with other software, such as your accounting or human resource systems. Discuss ease and cost of integration with the vendor so you are aware of what the process entails. What type of software integrations will help you best run your business? Examples of software implementations include: QuickBooks CRM, which helps finance departments with both business and customer financial data. It also eliminates data duplication as well as generating invoices and estimating orders.

10. Implement the CRM system with a trickle down approach. Support for the project must come from the top levels of management to instill a sense of importance and commitment toward using the system.

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