Whether you’re considering Salesforce, Hubspot, or another CRM system, it’s important to understand that with great rewards in efficiency and optimization comes great risk. An investment in your organization’s digital functionality is only as successful as how well those within your organization adapt to the change. As you begin the transformation journey, consider these 6 keys to successful CRM implementation.

1. Clearly Define your Business Needs

First things first, what are the current gaps within your organization and how can those gaps be filled? A proper gap analysis will help you dive deeper into these needs. What areas of opportunity are currently present in your sales flow, and how can you streamline those opportunities with a CRM system? As you walk through the step by step closing process from cold lead to closed sale, determine the phases of the process that could utilize more support and structure. In addition to that, think beyond the sales team’s need at the current state of the business, but more into what general competencies you would like your sales team to acquire as your company steps into its mature years.

2. Define your Future Sales State Organization

What’s the vision, and will the CRM you’re considering help pave the path to get there? Do you have to upsell and cross-sell opportunities that you might integrate into the sales process as you grow, or are there additional opportunities for subscriptions and memberships down the line that your CRM would need to support? Consider today and tomorrow when beginning your CRM software selection process. Whichever software you choose, enable flexibility within the system to adapt to business needs as the business continues to grow.

3. Organizational Change Management

This is the number one key to all successful digital transformations, but it’s especially true for CRM implementation. The reason being that CRM systems are made for sales organizations. Sales organizations often show the most resistance to change because the additional administrative work is often seen as a ‘non-revenue generating activity”. Documenting tribal knowledge and inputting customer data could sometimes seem as newly-added busywork keeping the sales representatives from pursuing incremental commission bonuses.

For this reason, always position the conversation around ‘WIFT’ – What’s in it for them? From start to finish, highlight all the ways the new CRM will support them in making more money in the grand scheme of things by creating synergies amongst the team and keeping the details from falling through the cracks. After all, the Sales Coordinators and Account Managers will have insight into the process and can offer support to help take leads across the finish line once the new CRM is utilized to it’s fullest capacity.

4. Integration to Other Systems

CRM systems have functionalities and business processes that are geared toward sales organizations in a higher capacity than general ERP systems. The only thing they don’t necessarily have all the time is the cross-compatibility with the rest of the business. With that said, you will still need to figure out how to tie the data from your CRM to your back office financial systems and potentially create new processes for the functionality of the company as a whole – from sales to accounting and payroll. For example, when a product is sold, how will the inventory and revenue data be shared with the appropriate teams to ensure optimal business processes? Make sure to have a clear vision of what that will look like and what this component will entail before you venture into implementation.

5. Take Control of your Implementation

When you and your team have a lot on your plate, it’s easy to outsource these digital initiatives completely. I’m here to tell you – Don’t do it. Take control of your project and delegate integration tasks internally as best you can. The longer-term impact of an outside organization integrating a transformation can heavily outweigh the short term pain of taking on these additional tasks internally. This will also help drive buy-in from key internal stakeholders and soon-to-be users of the system, leading to better overall results.

6. Measure your Success

What metrics are you basing your CRM implementation on? Key performance metrics should be outlined in your original business case. The optimal business case will also act as a governor to the overall project, making sure all decisions are aligned with the goals and objectives outlined from the beginning of the pursuit. This will not only allow you to justify the investment by dialing in on an ROI and setting targets straight out the gate, but it will also create the guard rails of what adjustments need to be made to reach the desired outcome. Once the CRM is implemented, go back and check to be sure you are on track with what was initially proposed, projected, and outlined in your business case.

Your organization will look a bit different on the other end of a CRM implementation, and how you navigate the waters during the integration process will determine if you’re sitting where you once envisioned. If you have any questions or ideas about how to properly implement a CRM system for your company, or how to best manage organizational change, feel free to reach out to our team. We are always happy to help!

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