CRM Implementation Tips

By Brian Boguhn
Updated: February 14, 2011

You’ve been taking a look at CRM recently, becoming knowledgeable about it and starting to think about implementing it in your company. Where do you start, however? How do you research a CRM solution, and what are the basics of implementing it into your business? We’ll take a look at these questions and send you down the right path.

Researching a CRM Solution

The best way to begin researching a CRM solution is to know what kinds of needs you’re looking to meet. You probably have questions and issues that are unique to your business that you’re looking to solve. Look for answers to these questions and issues. It will help to know how you arrived at the answers to your questions, as that will then help you in identifying how each CRM solution suits your specific needs. Check with various CRM developers for more information on their products. Knowing what you want to accomplish and armed with the “how” of arriving there will help drive your search to the solutions that best fit your needs.

Take the time to look at several products that meet your needs. Evaluate them if that option is available. A product can sound sensational on a manufacturer’s web site, but be difficult to implement and use. Nothing beats getting to know a piece of software like using it. Make sure you get key users in your company involved in the evaluation and selection process. You’ll want feedback from those who will be using the software. Having the users involved will go a long way in the ultimate acceptance of the CRM package.

As you look at various solutions, you’ll begin to favor one over others. If you’ve done your research right and had an opportunity to test the software, then you will know if you’ve chosen the right solution for your company.

CRM Implementation Basics

  • Make sure you have an in-house person to champion the CRM solution. This person should have a good understanding of the business processes and weaknesses. Your champion will be a main driving force behind the CRM implementation, and help to keep others excited about the process. If any negative messages develop within your staff, your champion can help smooth them out.
  • Most providers will offer implementation services along with the software package. If your provider does this, take advantage of it. The provider will know the software better than anyone in your company, and can get you up and running faster than your own IT group.
  • Don’t overlook training. A CRM solution might be great, but if your workers don’t know how to use it, then it’s pointless and will drag their productivity down instead of bringing it up.
  • Question the vendor on the best ways of implementing any feature within the CRM solution. The vendor knows the CRM solution better than you, but you know your business better than the vendor. Asking questions will help you to get the best from your system.

In Conclusion…

Researching a CRM solution shouldn’t be a daunting process. The tips provided will get you well on your way to finding something that works for you. As far as the implementation tips, there are many more to consider, but these are some of the most popular to ensure that your installation goes as planned. Knowledge is the key. The more you have, the better off you’ll be.
 

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