So many organisations delay their CRM implementation because they fear the process will be difficult and disruptive. Unfortunately, CRM projects do have a high failure rate some 50% are thought to fail completely or miss their objectives. This is perhaps not surprising given the fact that most people leading CRM implementations will be doing so for the first time.

That’s why it’s important to have expert CRM consultants by your side, helping you de-risk your CRM implementation and get it delivered on time and on budget. We’ve been helping organisations to get the most out of CRM for 20 years – here we share 10 tips to make your CRM implementation run smoothly.

#1 Know your goals

At the outset, get clear on WHY you need a CRM solution. What are the problems you’re trying to solve? Do you want the management team to better understand the way the business functions? Do you want to improve efficiency? Or increase profitability through better targeting? Having clear goals and prioritising them will give your CRM implementation project the focus it needs to succeed.

#2 Define the scope

Understanding the parameters of your project and clearly communicating them helps diminish risk of scope creep, one of the most common causes of CRM derailment. A properly scoped CRM implementation will mean your priority goals are met on time and on budget. We use the MOSCOW approach (Must have; Could have; Won’t have). Additional requirements can be captured for a next-phase implementation.

#3 Get your business processes right

Matching your CRM solution to effective processes is very powerful. Planning a CRM implementation is an ideal opportunity to identify processes which may need to be recorded, improved or altered. Expect to continually review your processes to refine how you serve customers and improve productivity.

#4 Get buy-in

Every part of an organisation, from sales to operations to finance, can potentially benefit from using CRM. However, your CRM implementation can face resistance if it means a change to people’s usual ways of working. The best approach is to be proactive in managing the people-related issues, and communication is key.

We find it’s helpful to get a Board-level sponsor and identify champions from different teams for the duration of any CRM implementation.

We would also advise that you take a medium-term approach. Because the organisational implications can be far-reaching, adopting a CRM strategy should be viewed as an evolutionary process. Small changes can bring significant benefits, so tiny steps rather than giant leaps will support your progress.

#5 Think about data handling

Your CRM solution will be dependent upon good quality data. At the outset of a CRM implementation, it’s important to ask: What do you need from your data? Where is your data across the organisation? Is the data up to date? How can it be used to grow the organisation?

This data review will ensure your CRM solution is designed so that only useful data is collected and that it is centralised, not stored in silos across the organisation.

#6 Choose the right software

Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE is a great CRM solution for organisations of all sizes. It is feature-rich and hugely capable, and its modular approach means you can adapt it as your organisation’s needs change.

However, the only way to truly know if it’s the right solution for you is to see it in action. Free trials are available, but they have their limitations, what you really need is a tailored CRM demo. Through a tailored demo, our team can help you understand how the solution could work for your organisation’s specific issues and goals.

#7 Integrate with legacy systems

Information is what drives business, but it comes from many different sources.

At an early stage, it’s important to consider your other IT systems and how you want your CRM solution to integrate. Find out what information your legacy systems are managing and whether they are business critical. This will help identify areas of overlap with CRM and will mean other systems you need to continue to work with are properly integrated from the outset.

#8 Mitigate the risks

Every CRM implementation carries some element of risk. What’s important is to understand where failures could occur and to take steps to prevent them, or to deal with them quickly if they arise. With 20 years’ experience in helping organisations to adopt CRM, and a proven CRM implementation methodology, risk management is pivotal to our approach.

#9 Follow a rigorous CRM implementation process

Following a strict implementation process helps deliver a solution to meet your precise needs, on time and on budget. Cost will not spiral out of control, risks will be monitored and lines of communication will be clear.

Here at Caltech CRM, each project undergoes six phases with reviews and sign-off points to ensure everything stays on track.

#10 Review

When your CRM solution has been fully implemented, it’s important to review every aspect so that you get the most from your investment. Is data stored and working correctly? Are teams fully trained? Are reports easy to access and use? Can your teams share data easily?

Post-implementation, we recommend that you continue a small user group to ensure the solution continues to adapt as the organisation changes and evolves. It’s also helpful to keep abreast of your chosen technology as new updates are released and new functionality added: we provide regular updates to keep clients informed.

What to do next

Adopting a new CRM solution is a big decision, and there are clearly many factors to consider before you begin. Our CRM experts have worked with more than 100 private and public sector organisations over the past 20 years so have the expertise and experience required to make your CRM implementation a success.

If you are considering a new CRM implementation, please get in touch for more information and advice or to arrange a free, no obligation discussion.

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