“… when I ask executives if the CRM system is helping their business to grow, the failure rate is closer to 90%”
– Scott Edinger in a Harvard Business Review article.
The challenges that can emanate from a typical CRM implementation & adoption are often overlooked by businesses.
The truth is, businesses often follow the hype and expect the CRM to magically ‘fix’ everything else. This, however, is far from reality.
Small businesses, specifically, face CRM implementation challenges due to various factors such as-
- Lack of a clear implementation strategy
- No Leadership involvement
- Inadequate customer support
- Lack of team collaboration
- High cost of ownership
To manage these challenges and to avoid finding themselves in such adverse situations, businesses need to map out a detailed implementation plan before moving ahead.
With an effective implementation plan and the right CRM software, businesses can realize maximum ROI from their CRM investments.
CRM implementation when done right can result in:
- Elevated customer engagement and service
- Enhanced sales effectiveness and process transparency
- Better customer segmentation and targeting
- Timely and accurate communication
- Increased customer loyalty
- Reduced likelihood of customer complaints and defection
- Long-term realization of investment (ROI)
For an in-depth look into the benefits of sales CRM software for small businesses, you can head over to this blog.
Matching a business’ expectations requires a comprehensive and clearly defined plan.
While there is no one formula or process that works for all businesses, there are some guiding principles that can help facilitate a successful CRM implementation.
The 3 factors that define successful sales CRM software implementation are-
- Selecting the right technology and framing an effective implementation plan
- Creating & executing the right change management plan
- Ensuring adequate product training and user adoption
This process is concrete yet agile and is our effort to help small businesses improve their chances of CRM success.
4 Stage Process for Successful Sales CRM Software Implementation
Stage 1 – Selecting the Right Technology and Chalking Out an Implementation Plan
Businesses need the right mix of technology, resources, and support to successfully implement the new CRM suite.
The team, along with the CRM provider can create a defined blueprint to cover all bases and ensure that they get the CRM implementation right.
1st Step: Selecting the Right Sales CRM Technology
The CRM market is the largest software market in the world, so you are not short of options when it comes to choosing one.
And that means it is a tougher job than you can imagine. What you need then is to find answers to the below points-
- How to define your needs/asks
- What to look for in a sales CRM
- Comparing the best in the business
- Getting a quote
- Getting a feel for the product and team
Haven’t found the right CRM for your business yet? Head over to this blog to know how you can.
2nd Step: Chalking Out a Blueprint for CRM Implementation
With a clearly defined blueprint, all important stakeholders know what the plan is, know the upcoming steps as well as responsibilities in the days to come.
Businesses must work with an account manager assigned by the CRM provider or hire a consultant who can guide them through the process.
To make the process quick and effective, ensure that you communicate your expectations to your CRM provider or consultant so that they can help design a process in accordance with your business processes and expectations.
A CRM implementation plan will include crucial information like-
- Team Composition & Roles
Once the team and the blueprint are ready, you can move to the customization stage.
Kylas pro tip: Make it a practice to be in contact with your account manager regularly to address any issues, changes in parameters, addressing the reasons for change, expectations, and keep track of the overall progress.
The case with Kylas– Unlike most sales CRMs, Kylas provides you with a dedicated account manager who will guide you through the onboarding process. Plus, it takes us just 30 minutes to help you get started.
Don’t believe us?
Stage 2 – Customizing the Technology to Your Business Requirements
1st Step: Sales CRM Customization to Suit Your Business’s Entities & Workflows
While customization may feel like a small chore, it is in fact the biggest cost and time guzzler in any CRM implementation process.
Customization requirements must be a part of the blueprint and share accordingly as part of the change management plan. Do understand that the nuances of defining a CRM system are specific to every business and will require teamwork to get the best out of it.
Customizability can be broken down into three aspects-
Data Fields & User Control- User control is where the account owner or system administrator can control access based on user role, allowing access to critical information like customer data, and sales data analytics only to a limited few.
Data fields and entities are where the sales pipeline is managed based on existing workflows and terminologies used to suit the business and the industry.
Software Integration is where the sales CRM is integrated with technology from a third party.
These are software tools that you might already be using and which need to be integrated with your sales CRM software for seamless functioning-
- Email integration (Gmail, MS Outlook)
- Communication (Chat – WhatsApp, SLACK & Video – Google Meet, Zoom)
- Accounting (Intuit, Xero)
Workflows & Automation of certain processes reduces time spent on admin tasks, improves data collation like-
- Auto-lead capture
- Auto-segregation by source
- One-click conversion of leads to contacts, deals, and companies.
2nd Step: QA and Feedback to Ensure That the Software Is Tailored to the Business and Not the Other Way Around
The CRM provider will test the platform and ensure that the plan stays on track. The final go-ahead is provided by end-users, i.e., the leadership and managers.
Moreover, QA exercises help end-users get familiar with the platform, as well as provide a greater sense of ownership when the technology is fully deployed.
Kylas Pro Tip: Instead of using your existing database, use dummy or unused datasets to test the various scenarios.
Stage 3 – Make Sure That Your Sales Team Gets Proper Training and Hands-on Experience for Better Results
1st Step: Product Training for End-Users to Know How and Why to Use Sales CRM Tools
A sales CRM software will create a business ecosystem driven by a tech stack, all of which require users to get some hands-on experience.
While an easy-to-use CRM may require users to put in only a few hours of training, complicated CRM systems may require users to go through proper training programs with documentation, videos, tutorials, and even one-on-one sessions for managers and above.
Kylas Pro-tip: Ensure all CRM users get into the habit of maintaining digital discipline by-
- Maintaining data-quality best practices
- Knowledge-sharing and collaboration
- KPIs tracking and reports management
- Introduction to the support index as well as the ticketing system
These habits will ensure that the CRM tool is implemented right and used to its maximum potential.
2nd Step: User Adoption
Growing businesses, often, lack the time and resources to allow for wasted endeavors. And the biggest waste is that of improper product usage and adoption.
On one hand, this defeats the purpose of the transformation, while on another, not using the entire feature suite and correctly leaves significant value on the table.
Work with the CRM provider for a CRM adoption plan and regular communication with them to keep product usage at a high.
How can the sales CRM platform help ensure product adoption and usage?
- Track data to identify sales CRM features that are being used and identify those that are being ignored or not used properly.
- Communicate relevant content and services to users to encourage better utilization of the CRM.
Stage 4 – Data Migration and Getting Started on Your Growth Journey
After the product training exercise, the business will need to move the databases to the new sales CRM software.
Often, the database filing system will differ from the CRMs default system. Depending on your choice of CRM, data migration can be a simple task done in minutes or may take days and weeks.
Either way, there are a few guidelines we suggest you implement when working on data migration with your technology partner.
- Identify the data and collate it in a single folder.
- Remove existing inaccuracies like duplicate contacts or incomplete data.
- Identify the correct file format accepted by the CRM.
- Test the migration with a limited dataset and make changes if necessary.
- Run the final transfer.
The 4 stages outlined above are highly critical for ensuring a successful CRM implementation.
However, managing an organization-wide change like this needs a robust change management plan and this often is ignored.
Managing Change Effectively Across the Organization
Change Management is often misunderstood. It is not just about keeping the organization updated about the changes taking place or listing out the roles employees need to play.
Change Management is essentially an overarching initiative that covers the entire gamut of activities starting from picking the right tool, implementing it right, and then using it right.
A key outcome of this initiative is to manage any resistance or difficulties that employees might feel in their new way of working.
Employees are always keen to know how their work might change due to the technology being introduced.
What can be very helpful is for the leadership team to create and articulate a relatable Change Story.
For instance, what can the organization and its employees gain from this change?
In this case, you can focus on articulating the benefits of using sales CRM software very clearly to the entire organization.
How a Sales CRM tool can help the organization grow, help the Marketing and Sales team target & convert leads better, and how it can improve overall team collaboration. These benefits may be communicated in-person to each team, announced during town halls, shared in regular emails and newsletters.
When such org-wide change is orchestrated well, all employees know what to expect and how they can contribute to the change.
Effective Change Management requires all critical stakeholders like business leadership, managers, and the CRM implementation manager, to be on the same page regarding-
- Progress of the initiative,
- Role of each stakeholder at any stage, and
- Any course-correction if the need arises
Change Management doesn’t just help in a successful CRM implementation, it also helps in ensuring that employees continue to use the tool and leverage it to the maximum.
Your Freshly Minted Sales CRM Software Is Ready for Use!
Remember that most people, especially salespeople, are resistant to change.
This predicament can lead to improper CRM implementation and low product adoption, which is a no-go for any business.
However, when done right, the sales CRM can help manage the entire business from one single platform.
This is why Kylas offers-
- FREE and on-demand product training
- Dedicated account managers for every account
- Easy customization and data migration processes
- Access to unlimited users