In my last post I introduced CRM systems and what benefits they can provide to a growing organization. Hopefully that was helpful and started you down a path of discovery towards getting more out of your interactions with clients and prospects, and providing them with more value as well.
Choosing and implementing a new customer relationship management (CRM) system can be challenging. Most businesses struggle to find the right CRM system that suits their organizations needs, and even if they do the implementation can be a daunting task.
But don't let that scare you into putting off this must-have any longer! Stay a step ahead of your competition by improving how you manage your customer database.
Choosing a New CRM
Whether you’re implementing a new CRM system for the first time, or even replacing an existing one, deciding on the best system for you and your business can be difficult. You have to evaluate multiple business-specific factors to determine the kind of CRM system you need.
For example, you should:
- Research CRMs that fit your company’s goals
- Decide how many CRMs you want to test prior to starting your search
- Reach out to each provider and set up a free trial
- Build a team to help evaluate each solution from different viewpoints
- Review your findings with your team
The good news is that there are solutions for all business types and sizes. If you are unsure of how to choose a CRM system that works for your business, these tips will guide you through the process.
Understand End User Needs
Depending on your business and goals for your new CRM, you’ll have specific end user and management needs. Only you know how your business can maximize CRM usage to ensure successful client interactions and relationships. Having a detailed understanding of your unique needs will impact your decision making when choosing between CRM options.
Establish Clear Expectations
You’ll find a wide range of cost options when researching CRM systems. How many users are you going to pay for? What features do you need? How much data storage do you need?
The answers to these questions and more will determine which CRM you choose, but it’s important to have the right expectations before starting your hunt. If you don’t hash out a clear budget before shopping around, you might spend a lot more money than you would’ve if you’d been prepared. You could also become frustrated debating which features are must haves, or get roped into features that sounded great, but end up not getting used.
Choose a CRM with Training Materials
Keep in mind that after you choose a new CRM system you’ll have to implement it. Before you make your final decision, ensure that the system you settle on has some kind of ongoing user training, documentation, or training materials. Trying to figure it out yourself can become a nightmare and will prevent you from using your new CRM to its fullest potential.
Find a System That Integrates with Other Software and Applications
Choose a CRM system that will streamline your business operations by seamlessly integrating with existing applications such as HR software, marketing solutions, or your billing system. If your CRM system doesn’t work well with the rest of your toolkit, you won’t be getting the efficiency and effectiveness you’re seeking.
Tips for Implementing a New CRM
Once you have chosen the right CRM system for your organization, you’ll need to go the extra mile to nail the implementation process. Change is difficult to carry out across an entire team, but the results are worth it.
Designate a Project Manager/Superuser
Appointing a project manager will help ensure that the initial setup runs smoothly, necessary actions are performed on time, and your goals are met. The manager or superuser should be well versed with the system to help and support others through the transition processes, and act as the vendor contact person.
Designating a superuser will also help to bounce back from any issues without experiencing excessive downtime, and will take unnecessary pressure off of team members who only need to have a simple understanding of the CRM system to complete their tasks.
Train Your Team Thoroughly
While new systems excite some people, others get skeptical about change. You need to have regular and continuous training to ensure all the employers are comfortable with the new system. Make sure to set usage guidelines on data input, such as how to register sales and add new company data.
The more thorough and accessible your usage guidelines are, the easier it will be to track data, pull informative reports, provide quick customer service, and more.
Establish a CRM Strategy
A CRM system is not just a technology that you’re adding to your business plan—it becomes an integral part of how your organization functions. A CRM strategy defines the steps you will take at each implementation stage, the goals you intend to achieve, and how you will measure those achievements.
Adopting a CRM system means you are ready to change your business processes to focus more on customer needs and experience! CRM systems have a variety of functions that can significantly improve your business.