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Best Practices for Successfully Implementing CRM

A well implemented CRM solution can provide an organization with a robust platform for accelerating revenue growth, improving coordination across divisions, and significantly reducing cost of sales and service.  A poorly implemented solution can produce just the opposite by constraining people and dragging down their productivity and effectiveness. 

So how do you ensure your CRM initiative is a success?  We've provided the following insights and best practices based on our experience and research to help you realize the full benefits of a well-implemented CRM system.

CRM Implementation Best Practices

Involve Executive Management Management should view the CRM initiative as a strategic effort with the potential to deliver significant long-term benefits to the organization. Helping define the vision, scope, and expectations for the project as well as consistently communicating their support will go a long way in encouraging involvement and ownership from others.
Make Sure it Drives Greater Performance Ensure that your CRM implementation increases the productivity and effectiveness of the target end-users and doesn’t just provide managerial or oversight capabilities. Key ways to accomplish this include integrating the CRM system with other systems (such as marketing automation or ERP), automating sales processes within the CRM system, and making proposals, quotes, emails, and other documents and templates readily available.
Provide Sufficient Training and Support Effective training and support are critical to driving end-user adoption. If your reps feel comfortable using the system and can get their questions answered in a timely manner, they’ll quickly overcome the learning curve and integrate CRM use into their daily activities.
Make it Easy to Use Usability plays a critical role in driving end-user adoption and a responsive, intuitive environment should be a key requirement for any CRM system on your short-list. Some of the key features to look for include the ability for your salespeople to access and work in the CRM system from within Microsoft Outlook (both connected and on the road), single sign-on and web-based access, and the flexibility to customize it to match your business processes.
View CRM as an On-Going Process CRM systems offer a lot of potential for organizations to improve their customer-facing operations, but getting it right takes time and effort. Set priorities and work within your time, budget, and resource constraints. Realizing value early-on and then using your success as the foundation for future initiatives is an effective approach that everyone, from senior management to end-users, can buy into.
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