CRM Implementation Tips from Industry Experts

by ComparisonX Editorial Mar 12, 2019

Industry experts share their top CRM implementation tips for companies getting started with a customer relationship management solution for the first time.

1) Create a plan how your company will use CRM and stick to it

Engage Users Early — Change management is critical to success. Share the benefits of the new system early and often with users to help them overcome their resistance to change

Secure Executive Sponsorship — Ask your leadership team to communicate the vision of CRM’s role in the success of the company

Understand Business Process Today — The way we always did it, may not be the best way anymore. Look at your business processes to make sure they support the fast pace of business today

Don’t Be Afraid to Automate — When considering what to automate, forget about the software and be creative – with CRM you’ll have the flexibility to enhance and automate any kind of business process

Roll Out Gradually — Consider an iterative approach to deployment. BroadPoint can help you plan a test implementation followed by a department-by-department roll out

Develop a Training Plan — Training your people on standard processes and practices will help your organization maximize the value from the system.”

Alex Quinn
Marketing Manager
BroadPoint
Follow BroadPoint on LinkedIn

“Don’t just jump in and start using a CRM without doing your research. The way you start using your CRM now will have consequences (good or bad!) for years to come. Do your due diligence to make sure the CRM you’re choosing is going to meet your needs both now and in the future as you grow.”

Carina Duffy
HubSpot Specialist and Lead HubSpot Trainer at IMPACT
impactbnd.com
Carina Duffy Linked-In

“Know what you want to use it for.  There are a lot of possibilities: contact database, sales pipeline, website analytics, campaign tracking, prospecting, account management, lead distribution, etc. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Most CRMs have endless lists of functionalities. It’s easy to get sucked down the path of wanting to use the system to its full potential. However, most companies, especially when using a CRM for the first time, only need to use a fraction of the features available. Decide what you really need to get out of the system and ask yourself what you’re going to do with that data/information. Once you know, you can focus on those features.”

Erica Stritch
RAIN Group
VP of Marketing
Rain Group
Raingroup.com on Linked-In

2) Focus on quality customer data

“Embrace a data hygiene process! For companies that are just getting started with a CRM, I have seen them make the mistake of uploading massive lists of data from a variety of sources such as old CRM systems or marketing tools. The issue with this is that the data is likely formatted in different ways and it also may be stale. Rather than importing this questionable data into your fresh new CRM, I’d recommend identifying the most engaged prospects, and bringing only these users into the system, along with your current customers.

Once you’ve taken some steps to clean your list prior to import, you can begin to engage with your list. When on-boarding your sales team into the CRM, take the necessary time for team training. Don’t rush into it and run the risk of key processes not being followed or data becoming unmanageable or convoluted. During your CRM rollout, be sure to factor in training and on-boarding as a mandatory part of the process.”

Drew Cohen
Senior Marketing Strategist & Team Lead
SmartBug Media
Drew Cohen Linked-In

Create rules for how the CRM will be used and enforce those rules.
For example, it’s essential that you not let your CRM get cluttered with incomplete or duplicate contact information. Your CRM system is only as good as the data you put into it. Be sure there are clear rules around inputting data and that all users are following these rules. If the expectation is that sellers are to log all calls and emails, check in and make sure they’re doing so—and doing so correctly. People are generally stuck in their habits and resistant to changes in expectations. Especially in the beginning, you may want to incentivize using the CRM or create a regular check-in system.”

Erica Stritch
RAIN Group
VP of Marketing
Rain Group
Raingroup.com on Linked-In

3) Don’t over complicate things

“Look for simplicity. The key to successfully implementing a CRM system is engagement. Make it as easy to use as possible so you can sell the value to the users of the system. The more complex, the tougher it will be to convince people that this tool will make them more efficient rather than simply create more work.”

John Campbell, President
Blue Frog, Dynamic Marketing
Blue Frog

“Understand that CRM systems are basically created from three components:  1) A database, 2) tools, 3) user interface. Having information stored in a central database provides some value but the most value will come from the tools your users will interact with. And the quality of the user interface will ensure or kill adoption.

What legacy CRM providers have done is to create “one-size-fits-all” systems and placing the burden of “customization” on the customer. This creates very costly projects and reliance of 3rd party consultants and  plugins, because the systems ignore HOW you sell. They’ve made the assumption that salespeople know how to sell and should just log what  they’ve done. Most CRMs are just databases, with a very limited set of tools.

For this reason, you have to start by really understanding HOW to sell  to maximize effectiveness. Once you know that, you will know which tools  that will generate the most value. Then you can go hunting for the best CRM solution. Not before that. Membrain is specifically designed for B2B  sales, where sales cycles are longer and more stakeholders are involved.”

George Brontén
Founder/CEO
Linked-In
Membrain

“Your CRM should be a means to solve your problems, to make the life of your employees easier and consequently help make your customers happier.  So, you should set a clear destination for your business development by using a definite CRM, collaborate and communicate closely with your team in order to make it all work; then, the next step is probably the biggest one as you will have to sync and customize all your business processes within a definite system and, finally, but most importantly, evaluate and improve your processes every time  so that you get the result you really will appreciate. That’s where your tech partner and a consultant can be of real help.”

Lily Smirnova
Marketing and Business Development Manager
CoreValue

 

Read industry leaders opinion on the best CRM for small and large business

 

 

ComparisonX Editorial

ComparisonX articles are written by a panel of independent experts. If you would like to join an expert panel or submit an article for consideration, drop us a line at hello@comparisonx.com. We welcome users with a range of experience. Key for our readers is having people who actually use the products we are reviewing on a daily basis.

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