Selection of a CRM vendor is a marriage, not a date. Enterprise buyers must think carefully about the vendor partner they choose and understand the long-term commitment of these decisions.- William Band
William Band has very well explained the importance of selecting a good CRM for your company, as implementing and rolling out a CRM software for a business is a big commitment and we should make a wise decision to not to fall in a trap of unwanted expenditures and unhealthy business deals.
Once we come up with a final list of selected CRMs, we need to go through the different phases of software implementation before actually rolling out the CRM for the company. Let’s discuss further on some of the prerequisite of CRM execution.
1. Features of a CRM software
Creating a list of required features is a good starting point to understand your company’s business requirements. In addition, it provides meaningful estimates on the budget and the training requirement for the company before investing in a CRM software. The CRM system must support the following features in today’s world of technology:-
- Contact management
- Outlook integration
- Account management
- Opportunity Management
- Knowledge base
- Sales Tracking system
- Escalations and more.
2. Business Requirements
A high-level business requirements document is a broad survey of company’s current pain points and possible business solutions. This document is usually derived from business stakeholder and end-user discussions to understand the requirements of a futuristic plan. The document can include business problem/solution pairings and its current state/desired future state details.
System design is the specification of the business to gets down to the actual design of how the system should work. In the CRM world, this system design will specify how the actual data will be listed and how the system has been formulated to help the company in different phases of the sales process. System design will have a complete list of spreadsheets and details about the software design.
4. Non Functional Requirement
The non-functional requirements can include specifications such as:
- System availability: 99.9% uptime
- Scalability: Easily scalable to handle the company’s incoming user traffic.
- Backups: Complete data should be backed up continuously without any leakages.
- Disaster Recovery: Redundant data centers with a minimum failover time
- Cost: The system implementation and running cost should not cross a particular limit.
Once we understand the prerequisite of the CRM software selection, we should be in a comfortable position to select the best CRM software for your business needs and good to go for rolling out the software. Let’s understand further on how to successfully rollout CRM software for our firm.
1. Understand the “Why” of the CRM adoption
Once we understand “What” can a CRM system do for our organization, we should begin by defining the strategic goals and vision of our organization. In other words, we should understand “Why” do we want a CRM for our business?. Start by engaging your executive leadership team to identify a set of realistic, measurable requirements. For example:
- Understand your customer-base to mitigate the risk of implementing a new CRM.
- Establish a 360 degree view of our customers, including communications, issues, profitability areas.
- Better understand sales and marketing campaign performance to help determine future marketing budget.
It’s important to prioritize and define your goals so that you can clearly identify your business problems and understand the pain areas which will be resolved with CRM migration. We should have a clear picture of the sectors which needs a functional help from a CRM system and work towards integrating the solution with the problem for a seamless adaption of a new technology of CRM into our business system.
Many startups and new ventures feel the need of implementing a CRM software to their system but end up in just adding a few new process for the team by inefficient CRM rollout process. A clear picture of the pain areas in the company, like non productive customer service measures, mismanaged contact details, manual report generation system and more can be some of the main requirements of a firm to shape your selected CRM system.
2. Build a roll-out team
CRM adoption in a firm is a group effort. Once we decide on the right CRM software for our organization, the next step is to formulate a team to handle implementing it. Along with sales, marketing and IT team, company’s management and leadership members must be on board in order to successfully adopt a new system. You should also assign a team leader who should be in charge of the operation and will be responsible for running the day-to-day operations of the CRM implementation.
Often CRM adoption need to change entire mindset with regard to customer relationships, therefore it’s important that business leadership is not only involved in seamless adoption, but also proactively communicate its importance to the entire firm. All managers and leadership team should be fully trained and ready to support their team members in adopting the system.
Different phases of training should take part to explain the idea of CRM to your employees, especially the sales staff who will be most affected or benefited of the lot after the CRM implementation. If your employees don’t believe in the CRM effort, adoption will be slow and painful, even if it does not implode entirely.
Also, training the system administrators and users will also play an important role in CRM adoption into your system.Plenty of time and sufficient resources for training should be provided to team members to make them understand how the parts fit together and why they’re doing what they’re doing.
3. Identify the timelines
One of the most important factor during a rollout is the initial timetable and milestones for the CRM implementation. Minor alterations in the overall implementation schedule are expected in something as complex as a CRM implementation as long as they are communicated early and carefully controlled. However, it’s important that every stakeholder understands that changing the requirements in order to meet the timetable is unacceptable and it’s everyone’s job to maintain the schedule and deliver the milestones on time.
Meanwhile, the higher management and team leaders should be well aware of the system limitations and plan the human resource availability as per the business requirement. Some of the main criteria which should be taken into consideration while the rollout process are as follows:-
- Stakeholder Availability – The more involved stakeholders are, the faster the CRM implementation will go. Team leaders should be well aware of every team members availability during the rollout process so that no dependency dreadlocks are not created and a smooth transition of CRM implementation can be done.
- Business Need – We should consider the sales and marketing team campaigning timelines so that we need not hit any major existing business deal due to rollout process. Also, we should understand any business upgrades and scalability activities scheduled during the rollout period which may because unwanted delays in CRM adoption process.
- Training schedules– Consider the amount of time it will take to create training content/materials, demo videos,schedule inhouse training, and coordinate with team members and more. These help us to plan our rollout process effectively and schedule our work items accordingly.
These regular phases of rollout process should be planned effectively to create a seamless transition of CRM software without hindering day-to-day business work.
4. Are you System Ready?
One more common issue which arises while rolling out the CRM software is when the business system is not ready to adopt the CRM integration. With improper integration steps and dangling features, employees tend to become reluctant to use the software further. Hence we should add system adaptability in the list of prerequisite for the CRM implementation.
We should also make sure that CRM system should increase efficiency and collaboration of business processes and not inhibit it.
5. Employee Insight
One more important point to determine in a CRM rollout is the people who will own your CRM application. Every employee involved in the transition should understand the value of the rollout and should be mentally prepared to adopt the new methodologies involved as part of CRM implementation. Ideally, the individuals who will continue to own CRM beyond the initial implementation project are the real stakeholders during a rollout. Training sessions and workshops on the daily usage of the software is very important to make the staff aware of the complete details of the software and appreciate the full worth of the software.
Ultimately, adopting a new CRM system means changing our old habits, many old employees and traditional process may feel the pitch of new implementation in the initial phases but if the transitions of these rollout methodologies is efficiently implemented then CRM will be one of the most helpful tools that can be used for business process and customer relationship management.
Also, after completion of the rollout process, an organization should indulge in regular follow up with its employees to gather feedback around the usefulness and value perception of the software.