8 Ways to Ensure CRM Success

Taking the first step is often the hardest part of change. It’s natural to resist change, especially if someone hasn’t bought into the fact that change is something that is really needed.

As technology infiltrates daily life, there is a tipping point. We’re talking about the day that a decision was made to buy the first cell phone, the flat screen television, upgrading the computer to the latest operating system, or even trading an old and faithful car for something new and fresh.

Not only is making that move a little scary, but the process of letting go is not one that most people do without a lot of research and buy-in from others.

Technology in the workplace is no different. When trying to make the change to something like CRM software, it is sometimes difficult to “sell the vision.”

Here are a few suggestions on how to ensure CRM success:

1. Get Input

Take a representative from each department and have them attend a planning meeting. Have them take a few minutes and poll the others in the department to get a list of the features they would like to see. Have them make a list of the “must haves” and the “would be nices.”

2. Map the Process

During the brainstorming session, write “SIMPLE” on the whiteboard. Simplicity is your goal. One of the largest hurdles of implementing anything new is the complexity of the process.

The most important thing you can do to ensure good adoption of any your CRM is by choosing a simple CRM. Start with the essential steps and the key players, then refine from there.

Remember, that technology is going to play a new role, so some old ways of doing things can be retired.

3. Start with the End in Mind

Knowing the end goal and making sure every step moves toward it will help you simplify the process. Each department will have its own ideas, and they are all equally important. Help everyone understand that merely implementing technology is not the question. Instead, HOW that new CRM will be implemented is the reason the meeting is happening in the first place.

Once you’ve established the end goal, you can collaborate to achieve the best result.

4. Settle on a Budget

Achieving CRM success doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. In fact, a good CRM should be inexpensive and should pay for itself many times over.

Consider this: There is an expectation that using technology will make life easier. If saving time, tracking processes and products, and fitting more into a day is adding to your bottom line, you may have more of a budget than originally thought.

5. Do the Research

Don’t be blinded by sparkly things and fancy doodads. This is the time to consider a few things:

  • First, simplicity. Will you be able to use the CRM, or will you end up leaving it in confusion and frustration?
  • Second, your process. Can the CRM software accomplish the things on the list within the confines of the product?
  • Third, is it customizable? Can you customize your CRM for your workflow?
  • Third, is there adequate support? Will you be able to get answers when you need them or days late?
  • Finally, how time out of the day will it take to train on the use of the system? Hopefully not too long.

6. Set Target Goals

Dumping a new technology on a group is tough on everyone, regardless of how excited they may be. There will be some resistance as changes are made to processes and culture.

Setting target goals to migrate into the new CRM, to be trained on the system, and to have full cooperation in the system will help everyone understand that this is a serious change. It also helps give an opportunity to those who may feel they are being left behind to ask additional questions for clarification or to request additional training.

There will always be a shining star or early adopter. Having them help others that are still not quite getting it could be a real morale booster for everyone.

7. Pull the Trigger

Making the decision as to which CRM to use is essentially like choosing a new business partner. That jump will not be perfectly smooth.

Making sure that the solution is the correct one will be evident quickly. If the answer to questions, changes, and continued needs is, “Sure, I just need a credit card number,” then reevaluating the decision may be in order.

8. Persistence

Keep at it. Don’t give up. Change is hard, but it is worth it in the end. Ever heard the classic story of the miner who quit without knowing that he was just one foot away from his treasure? Don’t let that story come true for you.

With all of these things in mind, adopting a CRM successfully will be easy as pie. You’ll look back and wonder how you ever got along without it.

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