Posted by Chris Handy ● January 5, 2016

What You Need to Know About CRM Implementation

While many business software systems share a common set of implementation requirements and issues, each type of platform has its share of unique startup challenges too.

The following CRM-specific tips and guidelines should prove helpful if your company is planning to invest in its first application built specifically for customer relationship management.

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CRM is More Than Software

In his article for TechTarget, called Top 10 CRM implementation pitfalls, respected CRM consultant Richard Boardman strongly emphasizes how a project focusing only on the CRM software is more likely to fail than succeed. Boardman’s warning is based on the fact that customer relationship management is not just a name for a common group of software products, but is indeed a complete culture.

When you implement CRM, you are bringing changes to your organization which impact the way employees are expected to behave and to think. You need to develop a CRM strategy, with a clearly defined vision and set of goals to aim for. Marketing, sales and customer service processes will need to change to support attainment of the vision and goals.

Finally, CRM software should be implemented as the tool to help drive those processes and support the workforce in adopting and adhering to them.

CRM Software Implementation is Time and Resource-hungry

This is by no means a criticism of CRM software. In fact, most major software platforms take a lot of time and resources to implement successfully. Many failed software implementations are due to underestimating these requirements.

Armed with this knowledge, you can make sure you plan your implementation to a realistic timeline and make the necessary arrangements to resource your project sufficiently. By doing so, you can greatly improve your chances of a successful project and a CRM application that starts returning early on its investment.

Keep a Sharp Focus on User-adoption

Unlike some industrial software, the nature of sales and marketing in particular can make it hard to enforce adoption of your new CRM software. Therefore your implementation project team must be tireless in making the workforce want to adopt the system. You will need to employ best practices in change management and involve your employees as much as possible in solution design, while delivering clear messages as to how the system will benefit every team that is expected to use it.

What Do You Know About CRM Implementation?

If you took the time to read fully through this short post, you now know that CRM is a culture, not just a software application. You also know that you will need to allocate plenty of time and resource if you want your project to be successful. An understanding of those first two points will equip you well to succeed in getting end users engaged and ready to adopt CRM.

Get the approach right, get the resources right and get your workforce bought-in to the benefits—that’s a great basic formula to ensure your CRM implementation is successful not just at go-live, but also in the months and years beyond.

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