CRM offers massive benefits when implemented correctly (proof of completed work, higher commissions and rapid identification of ideal sales leads), but for some just the thought of CRM increases their heart rate.
So can you safeguard your CRM project from cracking? Well, we at Workbooks think so.
Let’s start at the beginning
You must have a successful implementation
John Cheney (CEO at Workbooks.com) writes: ‘If you are ever to get the most out of your CRM system, it's essential to get the initial implementation right. The way you structure your data and processes at that crucial first stage will determine how effective the system will be.’
If you’re in the trenches of multiple Excel files (often being edited by different people at the same time - Causing version control hell!) alongside dealing with your daily work and suddenly you’re now managing a CRM project, it’s easy to miss the implementation process whilst concentrating on features and benefits.
Our experience tells us the success of the implementation is far more important than any functionality - If no one uses your CRM six months later, does it matter what functions your CRM offered?
Okay, okay you already know that - Right? So how do you actually ensure a successful implementation?
We’ve overseen hundreds of implementations and recommend the following takeaways:
- Don’t underestimate the time it takes to migrate data
Shifting data from multiple excel spreadsheets or historical CRM’s can take time, use this as an opportunity to clean up your data - Remove those duplicates!
- Ensure key staff are involved (from the beginning!)
What do your staff struggle with? How can your CRM project help them without making their jobs unnecessarily difficult? This will help with both internal resistance and offer you a wealth of insight without anyone feeling missed out.
You must schedule in training time (budget for this from the beginning), training now can save you huge amounts future man hours.
- Avoid analysis by paralysis
Don’t get stuck in so much detail that you never progress with your project. We recommend making changes as your business and project grow rather than all at once.
- Accept resistance
Resistance is natural when any change is present, we recommend you have at least two ‘internal champions’ who can work between key departments to be responsible for the bigger picture.
Whilst preparing to craft this article I asked a popular Sales network what annoyed them most about CRM? I’ll leave this section with a direct quote for a salesman in the technology industry who wished to remain anonymous:
‘It's all down to implementation... If notepad and memory is easier, then the crm is not well designed. I use salesforce and I still email myself notes for later entry if I'm entering notes while mobile.’
Another recurring issue salespeople had with their CRM project was a frustration with entering data when what they were entering already existed somewhere else. So why not:
Connect the dots
Chris (Salesman at Workbooks.com) writes: ‘Creating quotes and Orders often sits in another system outside the CRM, so a lot of double data entry is required. More effort and no benefit to the sales people.’
Effectively the more knowledge your sales team has about a prospect, the better they can meet their needs, yet we see so many organisations whose sales and finance teams rarely talk let alone share key information with each other.
It’s paramount for sales teams to be aware of financial data such as current and past payment difficulties, renewal dates and order changes. Information such as this can help sales teams time communication in a much more productive way.
What about marketing information such as lead tracking, website visits and email open rates?
Can your sales teams identify which leads result in the greatest orders (commissions!)?
By choosing a CRM system that already integrates with your financial and marketing software you’re able to have all your data in a single location meaning sales won’t need to flick between several different software packages (and departments) to find out key information.
This should allow a greater view to be cast on your prospects - allowing sales to better meet their needs (and commissions) a win-win and a real reason to get behind a CRM project.
Okay, so you’ve connected the dots (integrated cross departments and software) but how can you improve what your sales teams report?
Jeff Ernst of Forrester Research, Inc., estimates that only about 5% of marketers use a full-featured marketing automation solution (Forrester Research).
A final recurring research theme was sales teams struggling with an abundance of manually entering data into fields (phone numbers, email addresses, job titles ect).
One sales member who wished to remain anonymous found entering data hellish:
‘Having to record landline and mobile numbers, address, email address, job title etc to simply add a contact, nightmare.’
Whilst CRM can be seen as creating additional admin work, with the right set-up you can actually reverse your admin load.
Many popular CRM tools such as Workbooks.com offer web2lead form capability which is a form hosted on your website (such as contact, quote or signup forms) that automatically creates leads within your CRM. Meaning no phone numbers, emails or job titles need to be recorded (as long as they are asked for on the form).
Integrating with popular systems such as Lead Forensics and Hubspot can accelerate the lead creation process even more so.
So what’s the number one factor which stops any CRM project from cracking?
Implementation, implementation, implementation! Better a slow implementation than a mentally and financially painful rebuild three years down the line.
By Sam Jefferies, Digital Marketing Executive for Workbooks.com; An easy to use CRM designed to dramatically increase sales teams leads and commissions.