Implementing new software can be a challenging thing, especially if you’ve been handling your CRM processes by following your own business logic for quite a while. Since CRM software is the new IT system, you are going to heavily rely on in the future, so serious preparations are in order.
If you don’t plan ahead, you can easily end up paying for a system that offers a plethora of benefits, hanging around unused. If you haven’t implemented an IT system before you will find this roadmap very easy to follow. Let’s see what awaits you on your road to a successful CRM software implementation.
Establish What Goals You Want to Achieve
Implementing a new software just because it is a trend in the industry is a recipe for a failure. It is very important to determine what goals you want to achieve by using it.
Is it to enable your marketing department to get more familiar with your current customers? Or is it because your salespeople are missing a crucial piece of information to act upon in order to close more deals?
You should know that a CRM software can help you:
- Track, record and store valuable information about your customers, including previous purchases and history of interaction.
- Automate repetitive tasks in marketing, service and sales departments.
- Automate assessment of lead quality and lead-to-agent assignments.
- Monitor, model and optimize your business processes.
- Analyze the actions your employees make in every step of the customer’s journey.
- Store the best practices and keep the company’s knowledge in one place.
When you have your goals written down on paper, it will be easier to communicate the benefits to your employees and motivate them to use the software, and, ultimately, know which features to look for when you are looking at numerous CRM tool options.
Decide: Cloud-based or On-premises Solution
Today most of the renowned vendors offer a choice between cloud-based or on-premises solutions. Cloud-based software is hosted on vendors servers. You don’t have to worry about data security, software maintenance and updates, and you can access it via any device, even when you are on the go.
An on-premises solution is installed on your company’s servers and your IT department will have to handle the installation, updates and security. Each of these options has its pros and cons, so take your time before you make a final decision.
Start Looking For A Good Fit for Your Organization
Now that you know what you want to achieve with this software, and whether you want a cloud-based or on-premises solution, you can start looking for a software vendor. Here is how to identify the viable options:
- Check the vendor’s reputation, seek social proof on their official webpage, snoop around their official social media profiles, and look them up on the popular business software ranking platforms.
- Browse through their software features, make sure that they are the ones that fit your business goals.
- Try to find out how long they have been on the CRM market, the longer the better.
After you have identified few viable options it is time to go to the next step.
Take The Test Run
Thanks to the huge competition in the CRM software market, the majority of vendors offer free trials to the interested parties. Start your free trial run and try out every feature you are interested in using hands on. Take a close look at the following:
- How easy is it to use the software?
- Is the user interface intuitive or do you have to spend a lot of time looking for buttons with the simplest functions, such as Create, Save, Send, and Print?
- Take a look at reporting and analytics features, and make sure that data visualization is easy to read and understand.
- If a vendor offers a dedicated mobile app, install it and test it. Does it work smoothly? Which is the lowest supported version of Android and iOS?
Now you are left with the easiest part as you have already communicated the importance and value of new CRM software solution to your employees and you’ve picked the best possible match to support your business goals.
Organize training for your employees. Make sure to cover each feature one by one, and introduce complex operations only after your employees are comfortable using the basic ones.
Hopefully, this roadmap to a successful CRM software implementation will help you to start using it smoothly and enable you to reap all the benefits this powerful system has to offer.