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The CRM Implementation Process: 10 Steps to Success

Looking to implement CRM software? Follow these 10 easy steps for a successful CRM implementation for your business to see a 65% increase in sales.

The CRM Implementation Process: 10 Steps to Success

When business is booming and your number of customer interactions starts to spiral, guess what - those ol' ledgers, file cards, access databases and spreadsheets just aren’t going to cut it for your sales team. What do you need? A CRM, my friend. 

 

A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution, may sound like an expensive and time-consuming venture - but, fancy name aside - if you miss out on hopping aboard this bandwagon - you'll be exchanging opportunities for liabilities.  Implementing a solid CRM system like Hubspot's  will help you:

 

  •       Convert site users and visitors into sales through drip campaigns and newsletters.
  •       Ensure your sales team keep on top of customer queries and complaints to improve the customer experience.
  •       Communicate more effectively with customers and build customer satisfaction and customer retention.
  •       Retain an accurate understanding and knowledge of your customer base to improve the lives of your marketing team and the overall sales process.
  •       Spot and take advantage of advertising and marketing opportunities.
  •       And loads more…

 

But don’t just take our word for it.  In 2020, a study showed that CRM uptake had increased across the board, in one year from 56% to 74%. Talk about a leap!  However, according to the same article, 75% of all CRM projects fail. *Gulp*. 

 

Therefore, before you embark on Hubspot CRM Implementation, you need to get your system squared and centralised so you can ensure a safe and steady journey ahead! 

 

 

Ready to align the maketing and aales team? Find out how Neighbourhood can belp  achieve your goals!

 

 

10 Steps to a Smooth Transition and Successful Implementation

 

TL;DR.

 

  1.     Define your Goals and Key Metrics for Success.
  2.     Review and Select your CRM Provider.
  3.     Prepare your Data for the Transfer and Build Your Implementation Team.
  4.     Define Criteria for a Successful Transfer.
  5.     Obtain Buy-in and Feedback from All Stakeholders.
  6.     Budget Appropriately – Time and Money.
  7.     Plan to Innovate – Incorporate Opportunities.
  8.      Roll out the Basics, with an Expansion Plan.
  9.     Assess Success – Integration, Completeness, Accuracy, Fit.
  10. Revise and go for Full Implementation – with Periodic Review.

 

1: Define Your Goals

 

As part of phase one - think big about what you want your CRM system to achieve.  Is it primarily to communicate with potential customers?  Or are you using it for marketing automation?  A bitta' both?  At this stage, brainstorm all that you might want and then distil it down to an achievable wish list.  Err on the side of ambition at this stage ... dream big. 

 

2: Review and Select a CRM Technology Provider

 

If you've spent longer than 2 minutes in a room with us (or 30 seconds on our website), you'd know that we froth Hubspot and think it’s a hugely powerful tool for your business processes at large. However, we know and appreciate that it’s not the only customer relationship management system in town - you've got a few choices to make.  So be sure to check out the competition and what’s on offer, so you can be dead-convinced on a system that will give you everything you need, without charging you for features you’re certain you’ll never use.

 

As a tip; carry out a risk assessment, because you’ll be transferring data over from your old system to the new one - and even with best will in the world (or crossing your fingers really tight) things can still go pear-shaped.  Some of the risks to bear in mind will include: 

 

  •       Loss of Data – some of which may be challenging to recover.
  •       Loss of Time – transition inevitably creates a slow-down.
  •       Data Corruption – errors you may not discover until downstream.
  •       Loss of Functionality – things you once could do easily, now you cannot.

 

To mitigate these risks, you can plan to do a sample transfer.  If you’re going to use a data transfer partner, they’ll perform a data quality audit on a test sample, before you commit to a full transfer.

 

3: Prepare Your Data / Build Your Team

 

This stage is a great opportunity to get the feather duster out on that data.  Weed out the deadwood and make sure your data is accurate and complete, and think about what data fields you’ll want to fill in the future. 

 

In tandem, build a team to manage the implementation.  This may be a combination of in-house and external personnel (if you’re using an agency).  The skills you’ll need to assemble as part of your CRM power-house include a:

 

  •       Project Manager – to oversee the project.
  •       Data Analyst Lead – to take charge of data migration.
  •       Systems Engineer – to handle the tech and logistics.
  •       Application Developer – to ensure the CRM works for you.

 

Leadership is the key to an effective roll-out - especially if they're 110% across all the benefits the CRM will bring about. But don’t forget buy-in from key personnel including management, sales, marketing, customer service and R&D.

 

4: Define Criteria for a Successful Transfer

 

Here’s where you hone in on the final selection of features of your CRM System, and luckily for you - this part, in particular, isn't rocket science ... Simply decide what you want to see as part of your CRM, and what a successful CRM implementation will look like to you and then use this as the blueprint for your entire CRM set-up. Just ensure that everyone has bought into your final project definition, as it'll be super costly, time-consuming (and a pain in the ass) to make changes down the line. Trust me.

 

5: Obtain Final Buy-In Organisation-Wide

 

Here’s where the project team put the final proposal to the whole company.  You’re guaranteed to get a volley of feedback in return - and sometimes not all of it coherent or compatible.  However, this will help you make the final few tweaks to your CRM that will have the biggest impacts to your team. As well, feedback - no matter its form or context - is always a good thing, because there's always the chance some bright spark will throw up a clever idea or an unforeseen problem that will cause a vital course correction.

 

Now is when you need buy-in, especially by middle managers who may not have contributed creatively but know how their customer-facing teams will actually use the system. We'd recommend you engage in internal marketing, by taking the time to sell the new system to your employees. 

 

6: Budget Appropriately

 

Before you finally make the data transfer and potentially enlist a data transfer partner, make sure you’ve set up a realistic budget for any expenses you might encounter along the way as part of your overall implementation budget. 

 

As well as the subscription charges and fees for any partnership providers, there may be costs associated with downtime, time out for training and a period of transition where your productivity may inevitably dip while the team gets used to operating inside the new system. 

 

One of the major benefits of a system like the Hubspot CRM is the comparatively smooth transitions it allows, with intuitive dashboards, menus, and features.  Hopefully, you’ll quickly make back whatever you spent in terms of new opportunities and improved lead conversion and sales activity.

 

7: Plan for Innovation

 

As well as thinking about what you’ve used in the past and what you need right now, CRM systems are powerful tools that will allow you to do EVEN more and exceed customer expectations. 

 

Now is the time to plan for future developments and sustainable growth as part of a long-term implementation strategy.  Make sure you take a moment to allow for future innovation and growth in the implementation cost.  Put on your entrepreneurial hat and allow for add-ins you won’t immediately use, but could prove vital in the future. 

 

8: Rollout the Basics

 

The CRM Implementation process is made up of 3 main stages: 

 

  1.     Test Data Transfer
  2.     Core Systems Rollout
  3.     Full Implementation

 

Here’s where you move to test data transfer with just a sample of your customer data, then, when everything’s looking hunky-dory, roll out the basics and build user adoption as quickly as possible, so that your business continuity doesn't suffer.

 

If you’re using an implementation partner, they should be able to provide face to face training and/or online training material to help everyone get quickly up to speed.

 

You’ll also need a timetable to roll out the less routine features of your CRM – things like marketing campaigns, integration into social media, newsletters and more.

 

9: Assess Success

 

Remember the success criteria you worked out in step four?  Well, this is where you'll see whether reality matches your aspirations.  If it doesn’t, no sweat, you haven’t gone into full implementation and can still make changes before everyone gets too deep in the new system.

 

You’ll get plenty of feedback from the teams on the ground who actually have to use the systems.  Remember that nobody likes change, and that learning new systems can often be a faff for teams.  There’s often a bias against the new just because it’s unfamiliar - but riding it out will mean that in no time at all, new systems will become second nature and your team will wonder how they ever managed without them! 

 

Broadly speaking,you can assess success with these four main criteria:

 

  •       Integration – how well has the transition gone?
  •       Level of Completion – is all the data there?
  •       Accuracy – is it accurate?
  •       Fitness for Purpose – can you continue business as normal?

 

10: Revise and Fully Implement

 

Make changes based on the above assessment, consult the team and then when you’re ready… it's time to push that big red button. 

 

Remember, you should plan for regular assessment and tweaking – and please ... don’t disassemble the project implementation team.  You’ll still need them from time to time as you finesse the design of your system, as well as additional training in the internal processes and ongoing user training of the customer relationship management strategy.

 

Using these 10 steps to success you'll be on track to see a 65% increase in sales, 74% better customer relationships, and 27% enhanced customer retention. However, guaranteed implementation benefits require a lot of effort and investment ... so if you're looking to apply proven implementation practices to your project and get professional assistance from CRM experts, be sure to reach out today! 

 

Want to know how a CRM process makes your sales team more efficient? We've got  all you need. Check it out here! 

 

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