10th Oct, 2018
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CRM – a solution terminology which is not a new sound to anyone in the business domain today, even if they are using one or not. These software programs for customer relationship management, have been upping the satisfaction quotient of business managers since years now, by helping them with a sorted and healthy sales pipeline and lead management.
Coming to the present-day scenario, CRM software usage is no more a prerogative owned by only large enterprises, rather even small and medium entities and in fact, even start-ups are ditching the excels and leaping onto the multi-functional contact management application, i.e. CRM tool.
In fact, now the transformation pathways have led us to the evolved avatar of CRM software – intelligent and integrated CRMs. Integration of technologies like AI, RPA, Analytics etc. have led to this revamped version of sales tool which is now evolving constantly to deliver better customer experiences and increased turnovers to the companies.
With the row of benefits now being longer than ever before for CRM tool adoption, it would be a hard decision to still mar your ROIs by getting stuck in traditional excels and data logs.
However, even if you understand the importance of CRM for your business and are convinced to adopt one or if you’re looking at changing or upgrading your existing CRM software solution, it’s critical that you be aware of the common yet generally overseen tactics/ best practices of CRM implementation.
After all, the returns in sales are always a function of effectiveness of an implementation otherwise it’s quite an easy channel to drain your investment in case if the implementation is not thought-through.
10 Tips to make the most of your CRM software implementation
Chalk out a Match-Map
Idea is to add up your needs and your goals and then lay your hands on the CRM software solution which maps onto your personal mix the best. You’d need to assess your own pain points and precise needs before zeroing down to an answer to this question.
But once you’re sorted with that, you have cleared one major step in ensuring that you get the most out of your CRM tool. Keep the long-term plan in mind to avoid any pull-back or unplanned expense later. Basically, this first step is all about gathering the complete set of requirements for your business.
Speed Date your Prospective Users
It’s critical that you know the users of the CRM tool well as an aerial view may not help you there. In fact, you can also look at running an internal survey as well to understand the basic most pain areas or expectations of the prospective users. It will also give you an insight into any peculiar channels your workforce has resorted to in order to streamline their work or lessen their efforts.
In a way, it will also give you an insight about the existent gaps – both from internal and market perspective since your users would be the perfect people with ground market knowledge and what may or may not be missing in you existing system.
Carry Out an Industry Survey
It is not just about what the competition is doing but also about how the industry trends are evolving. Be it concerning AI, ML incorporation and the emergence of a smart CRM software solution or how your customer landscape is changing.
Take into consideration at least a 12-month window and try to perceive what you may encounter and accordingly take a call. This is another effective step for doing a thorough analysis of any existing or impending variances in your process/ plan w.r.t. market needs.
Take Time but be Right in Vendor Selection
Even if your needs, goals and future plans are perfectly chalked out, it may not guarantee that you’ll get the perfect product or the perfect implementation so easily. Things like service providers’ market experience, industry reviews etc. play a big role in helping you to finalize one for yourself.
Training provision, real-time support etc. are few things that should be top quality before you plunge into that contract signing. Also, the ease of configurability of the solution which is being offered should also be a criterion for selection.
Involve Your Workforce
Yes, this goes without saying. From the very beginning itself, it is important to make them feel a part of the deployment in order to ensure a willful and complete adoption later on. Show them the value add which the solution holds for them and go beyond the benefits for the company as a whole.
Their sign-in defines the eventual adoption rate of the solution. Their involvement from the time of initial configuration and all the way to testing the platform is going to prove a major motivator for them to adapt to the solution upon final deployment.
Don’t Rush, Take One at A Time
It goes without saying that rushing in this aspect is not going to get you the desired results and in fact, can derail you from your original plan. Go gradual and pick up elements in phases to ensure a smooth and seamless transition without giving your workforce a sudden blow of change.
Train Your People Thoroughly
The benefit-yield of any solution deployment is dependent upon how effectively it is being leveraged. If the workforce is left on its own to figure out the way to use the CRM tool to its maximum potential, then you’re headed for a failed implementation.
Inertia or a resistance to change is a common human instinct and forcing people to switch onto something new without giving them ample support to do the same is a recipe for non-compliance or alternate-channel build up. Every section of the workforce, be it managers, sales team or marketing, would need specific training to be able to get on with the system.
Mine the Data to Make Some Sense of It
There is no point in just collating piles of data if you’re not actioning on the same. Use the advanced analytics to mine the data and have some insights drawn from the same. There are CRM software solutions which come with built-in analytics features also or you can top-up your solution with additional features.
However, a failure to make the sense out of the data being collected would just translate into your storage space being filled up without giving you any intelligent headway for strategic moves.
Keep Some Scope
Nothing in this world is perfect…at least in a business sense. Every process and solution hold a potential for further improvement. This is especially true when we look at the dynamic times we live in where the technology is altering every aspect of an industrial landscape at a pace we never imagined earlier.
Aside from this reason, even you may encounter something specific to your business while using the solution which may call for some changes or betterment in the CRM tool, hence, it is advisable to keep a scope for changes or policy updates as and when required.
Customization and scale-up provision in your CRM software solution are going to go a long way in ensuring you get the most out of your bucks.
Don’t Forgo the Strictness
CRM will contribute to your revenue as much as you will make it useful for your business, hence, setting some ground rules/ policies regarding the usage of CRM software is also essential. A seamless transition and a thorough adoption are what will ensure that your money is well spent and is helping you get more returns in terms of productivity, lead quality and final closures.
With these best practices on your tips and a view into what the future holds for the market, are you ready to take control of your CRM journey and turn it into a profitable adventure?
Let us know your thoughts on the best ways to ensure a perfect CRM software implementation in the comments section below.