7 Ways To Get Your Business Ready For A Successful CRM Implementation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

4 Tips to Choose the Best CRM for Your Small Business

If you manage the sales team for a growing small business, you have your work cut out for you.  Every week, there are more leads to follow up on, and they’re all different.  They all became leads on different dates, they all have different needs and wants, and they’ve all had different interactions with different sales reps.

There’s John Smith, and one of your sales reps, Harry, is pursuing him.  He became a lead 6 months ago.  Harry’s called him 4 times, and in one of those calls he told Harry he doesn’t like calls after 4 p.m.  You’ve sent him 16 emails and a packet of promotional materials.  He’s been on your website 5 times and read one of your eBooks.

Then there’s Mary Jones, whom another rep, Jim, is after.  Mary just became a lead last week.  Jim called her once, and during that call she told Jim she doesn’t like calls—she prefers emails.  So, you’ve sent her your introductory, welcome email.  She’s been on your website twice, first when she filled out an online form and read a blog, and a second time when she read the same eBook as John

That’s a lot to remember, or to manage with Excel spreadsheets.  Now multiply it by 5, or 10, or 100, or 1,000.  How do you keep track of all those interactions, preferences, and varying degrees of sales-readiness?

What Is Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?

Keeping track of, and effectively managing, the totality of data related to your business’s interactions with every current and prospective customer is referred to as customer relationship management.  It’s a way ensure that, at every touch point, your salespeople have the right information to be optimally effective and drive sales.  Salesforce defines CRM this way:

“Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategy for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with your customers and potential customers. It helps you improve your profitability. CRM enables you to focus on your organization’s relationships with individual people – whether those are customers, service users, colleagues or suppliers.”

So Many Choices

The good news is that there’s a multitude of CRM software tools on the market to help you do manage customer relationships.  The bad news is that there’s a multitude of CRM tools on the market to help you manage customer relationships, and they each have different strengths and weaknesses and come with different price tags.  That means you need to make some tough decisions.  With all those software options, how do you choose the best CRM tool for your small business?

Here are 4 tips to help you choose the best CRM for your business:

  1. Choose a CRM flexible enough to grow with your business:  before you select a CRM, you need to assess not only your current needs, but also where your business is likely to be in 5 or 10 years.  What new sales channels might you add?  How much do you expect your business to grow, and what does that mean for the size of your sales team and your customer base?  Make sure you choose CRM software which is scalable and can adapt to you changing needs over time.
  2. Go with software you and your team can understand and use:  CRM tools have varying levels of complexity to meet different business needs.  If you choose a CRM that’s too complex for you to work with, you could wind up with a very expensive tool that doesn’t really help you grow your business.  Look for a CRM that makes it relatively easy for your team to access the information they need most quickly, which can easily be integrated with current marketing strategies, such as email marketing, and which adds to your team’s sales productivity.
  3. Don’t pay more than you need to:  currently, almost half of all CRM is sold as a SaaS (software as a service), and for good reasons.  When you subscribe to a CRM service, as opposed to owning it outright, there’s a smaller initial investment.  In addition, with a cloud-based service, you don’t need to invest in new hardware or new people to maintain it.  Equally important, when you subscribe to a CRM service, you can start at the lower end of the scale and upgrade as your needs change.  For small businesses, subscribing and outsourcing is generally a better option.
  4. Take it for a test run:  you don’t want to sign on the dotted line before you’ve had the opportunity to try out an evaluation copy of a CRM.  This will allow the members of your team to test all of its features, reassure you that it will deliver on the functionality the vendor promises, and demonstrate that it will integrate seamlessly with other software you use for your business.

Conclusion

The right CRM tool will help you manage all of the touch points related to current and prospective customers, but choosing the tool that will work best with your business can be challenging.  To get help making an informed choice for your CRM needs, contact us today.

How A Skin Care Clinic Automated Their Business Seamlessly With Infusionsoft

Businesses, whether large or small, often struggle with processes and operations – especially in their implementation. As businesses grow, so do daily functions, and many struggle to keep things running smoothly while still continuing to grow. While this may sound challenging initially, we have learned just how beneficial automation is for long-term and short-term success.

A perfect example of this our ongoing work with a skin care clinic to automate their business, and help them sustain their growth. Prior to our services being engaged in March 2016, this clinic had a few systems in place.

However, none of them were integrated and that made it hard for them to keep up with their rising growth. They continued to receive order notifications at an unprecedented amount… but all of their order notifications went straight to their email inbox. While an inbox is great for email, it is not really an efficient system for tracking order fulfillment.

But the skin care clinic kept growing, as did their orders. Their acne program continued to gain consumer attention, especially since they were catering to a niche market. A simple Google search for natural acne treatments was leading customers straight to their website, but the clinic was having trouble keeping up with that level of demand.

Our ultimate goal was to help this skin care clinic automate their business with Infusionsoft. But we needed to establish baseline measures, and really get to the core of what they were hoping to accomplish by doing this.
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More On Connector Apps: Scheduler Link Connects Acuity Scheduling to Infusionsoft

Have you heard of Connector Apps?

One aspect of our business that is of continued importance to us is creating seamless, integrated solutions for our clients. Though sometimes it is tricky to design apps and other methods that allow for increased connectivity, our overall goal is to create an experience that is easy and convenient, while solving our client’s business needs.

One method through which we accomplish this is through connector apps. You might be wondering what that term means, but it is simply creating an app that connects two solutions and allows for better integration between different systems. One example of this is our app, Scheduler Link. Scheduler Link connects Acuity Scheduling to Infusionsoft.

InfusionSoft is a CRM with e-commerce and marketing automation functionality, and is tailor-made for making business operations error-free and smooth throughout the process. Acuity Scheduling is a booking app, making the appointment process far more streamlined and easy to navigate – they also have great customer service.

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Why Pipedrive CRM for a Distribution Company?

John is the owner of a Colorado based distribution company. He recently hired Mike to help him with sales. Mike lives in Kansas. With a growing sales team, John wanted more visibility over how sales activities are progressing.

In small organizations, when the sales team hears that now they will have a CRM, their first instinct is to resist, because they worry they will be micromanaged.

This was not a problem in John’s organization. Mike used a CRM in his previous job. He understands that tracking sales activities in CRM would give John visibility over his workload. It would also enable John to be proactive, and take action to support Mike in his role when necessary.

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International Travel Agency Using Insightly: Integrating the Cloud and Automation

You’re probably reading a lot about how the cloud and software automation continue to make businesses run more efficiently. What you maybe didn’t know is that there are a lot of cloud systems that provide automation for small businesses. These two together add a lot of value to small business owners who use customer relationship management (CRM) platforms.

CRMs have become some of the most useful tools for customer communication, data organization, and automation services.

One CRM like this is the affordable and powerful Insightly, a program we’ve integrated into numerous businesses. We want to tell you a story about how Insightly helped a travel agency in Colorado, Chalets USA, that targets European tourists coming to the U.S. during ski season. This story should give you insight into how automation and the cloud integrate to aid many tasks otherwise taking hours to do.

© Can Stock Photo / swisshippo

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Got Business Cards? Awesome CRM Business Card Scanning Apps will Get You Organized

If you do any amount of face-to-face networking, you know how business card quickly pile up. Once your wallet or organizer fills up, you dump the business cards you’ve collected in a file or drawer. Or maybe you wait until you have enough cards to wrap them with rubber band and store in a cute box, like this one!

Box with business cards

Sure, it’s good to have those cards lying around for when you need to get in touch with a contact. But with so many cards, can you reliably find the contact you’re looking for in a timely manner? Unless you are super organized, it’s tough to find the card you need at the moment you need it.

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CRM Spring Cleaning for Small Business

Garbage In, Garbage Out

CRM Spring Clearning

Tips to keep your CRM data sharp!

No doubt you’ve heard the old saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Well, it couldn’t be truer when it comes to managing your business data. A cluttered CRM will hinder your business processes and your customer engagement.

Your Challenge

You’ve worked hard to get your CRM configured just right for your business! It serves you well, and you’re growing–Congratulations! Now you’ve hired additional people, and they’re all working hard, adding new contacts, new companies, and new opportunities. As you may have already experienced, things can get really messy really fast if you don’t have some processes and guidelines in place to keep your information clean.

CRM Spring Cleaning Steps

We have some tips for you on how to clean and maintain your CRM data. In the spirit of spring, begin now! Moving forward, if you adopt this mindset and establish good habits, from now on spring cleaning won’t be so daunting.
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Have you ever met with a SCORE Mentor?

I’m excited today to share an educational opportunity with you, but first let me ask you a question: have you heard of SCORE? It doesn’t have anything to do with basketball or your credit, but it has everything to do with an often overlooked wealth of knowledge for small business owners.

SCORE was previously known as the Service Corps of Retired Executives, but is now recognized as SCORE, “Counselors to America’s Small Business”. They are one of the main reasons why I’m business today. Here’s my story of the crucial role three SCORE volunteers have played in my own business development.

Back in 2013 when I was a student at DU, I met Jim Skagen (blue shirt on the photo). His words of encouragement gave me confidence to start my own business.

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A Small Business Software Puzzle!

Small business software puzzle

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / AnsonLu

The Vision

You are a small business owner. You started your business, got a website, and then after a period of time, you realize your business is growing, and you need more than just a website!

  • You need a way to track your interactions with your customers.
  • You need to automate some of your tasks.
  • You want to have better data about your customers, so you can send them information and coupons for products and services they are interested in.
  • You want to streamline your process to ship your products.
  • You want to make sure it is easy for your team to locate information about your customers orders.

You are not alone! There are several business owners in this situation.

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