So, your business is expanding – congratulations! With such rapid growth, it only makes sense that you are considering getting a CRM. There are a myriad of reasons why that is a good business decision, from automating functions to enabling sales team to have better visibility over what is going with clients. Once you have done your research, you know exactly what product will fit best with your business needs.

However, one of the sticking points of a CRM is its implementation. You have likely learned that adoption, and the subsequent learning curve tends to be the biggest hurdle. The likely question then, is how can you ensure a successful implementation? Here are a few ways to make the process smooth and seamless.

1) Lead by example

The only way to keep your team engaged throughout the process is for you to stay engaged as well. Show up for meetings about the implementation. After the meetings, check-in with your team to learn about their concerns. Use the system, and show your sales team how the CRM is helping you to support them in their roles.

2) Get your team engaged

One of the bigger challenges during this time is garnering enough engagement to make the investment worthwhile, so it is essential to get teams engaged from the very beginning. The best way to accomplish this is through research. Is there anyone in your company who has used a CRM before? What was their experience? Can this person be a champion for the project? Use their feedback to create an engagement strategy that really showcases why a CRM is much needed.

3) Organize your data

During this process, work with your team to identify all potential data sources, and how best to manage that. Some might have important client information in the accounting system, such as Quickbooks. Others may maintain extensive data in Outlook…or even a simple drawer full of business cards.

Either way, work with your implementation team to segment the client information properly. Separate current clients, from past clients, potential clients, suppliers, and other network connections.

4) Customize accordingly

A CRM cannot really reach its full potential if it is not properly configured to address your unique needs. To really maximize your investment, the system must be customized to align with your business operations. This entails mapping custom fields that may need to be added, or additional record types. Also consider what tags you plan on using, and communicate these points early on to minimize any last minute implementation delays.

5) Maintain communication

It might seem tempting to drop off early and let the process take care of itself, but that will ultimately be detrimental to long-term success. Maintain communication and review your workflow with the team – this will help reduce last minute requests and delays.

Consider the process from simple to complicated, and how that is handled. When do I add a new contact to the CRM? When do I add an opportunity to the sales pipeline? Use real examples of existing clients. Data helps to provide context to your team, making it easier for them to understand the system.

6) Review internal processes

A CRM implementation is the best time to review important processes such as your sales process, and see where there needs to be improvement and how the CRM can help with that. Use it as an opportunity to assess your sales process, and fix any gaps. What activities do you expect your team to complete in each stage of the pipeline?

7) Show why it is needed

Teams may be reluctant to adopt the CRM initially, so it is essential to maintain a line of communication and reinforce its worth. Explain why having a CRM is important, and how it is expected to add value to ongoing processes. Remind your team that the CRM is essentially a new member of the team – it is there to help them remember. Keeping good notes in the system is an integral component of successful sales activities.

Okay, I’m ready to go live!

That is definitely exciting news, but it is important to keep some things in mind during the initial launch phase. Ensure that there is a technical resource, whether in the form of a person or other materials that is extremely familiar with the system and is able to address questions and concerns.

Adult learners have some interesting dynamics: they do not like to ask questions. So, make sure there are enough resources to walk them through how to use the system, and avoid frustration.

After you go live, get feedback from your CRM users about the pros and cons. Are they facing challenges, and if so, what are methods to mitigate that? Work with your implementation team to update the system to improve the things that are challenging.

Does this sound like too much work? Luckily, this is our passion and what we love to do. If implementing a CRM sounds overwhelming, contact us and we will be happy to assist!