Implementing CRM

Benefits of Implementing a CRM System for Your Business

If you’re running a business, choosing just the right CRM solution is essential - but it’s not enough to just ‘have it’. How can you make it work for your business? Whether you’re a first-timer, or you’re simply replacing your tired, old customer relationship management system, your implementation strategy is going to need careful consideration if you and your team are going to get the very best out of your shiny new toy.

All of your customer-facing activities, and the solutions to any customer-based problems that may arise are all down to your CRM system. Get it right, and your business can garner the reputation for delivering well-timed and carefully targeted automated communications to your clientele, offering a highly-personalised customer journey. A good and well-implemented CRM system is not only going to give your customers the time of their lives service-wise, it’s also going to advance your sales team’s processes, allow you to provide exemplary customer service, and give customer retention a huge boost. As an added bonus, you’re also going to see an improvement in the communication between your company’s departments now that they have timely access to all the necessary information for making sales.

When it comes to planning a CRM system for your business - big or small - it’s important that all departments have a voice during the process. Your CRM has to work for every sector of your company, from your sales teams and marketing bods, to customer services and anyone else involved in customer interfacing. If employee voices are telling you that, from experience, they think that CRM is a ‘waste of time - it’s likely to be a past implementation failure that’s made them feel that way.

Step one is choosing the right CRM system for you. The majority of CRM systems today (up to 87%) are cloud-based, able to automate data entry and lead management. They also offer a better understanding of your customers and how they will react in certain scenarios.

Improved customer relationships

CRM systems lead to strong customer relationships. It is because the platforms allow your business to understand more about the customer, their behaviours, and their pain points. Therefore, the company can seek to satisfy the customer’s needs by responding to their pain points.

When customers find that your products and services meet their needs, they will be more likely to become loyal customers who return to your business regularly. It leads to strong customer relationships.

Better customer service

CRM software is an engine for promoting exceptional customer service. When a customer experiences an issue with your product, they will likely contact your company to resolve it. The CRM software records all previous interactions with the customer, giving your employees enough information to effectively address customer concerns.

Additionally, CRM systems also allow different departments in the business to collaborate in real-time and respond to emergent issues affecting your customers.

Increased efficiency through automation

CRM systems make it easier for employees to retain current customers and convert more leads to new customers. This is because the software can automate repetitive daily tasks, which frees employees more time to cater to more urgent customer concerns.

For example, simple tasks such as filling out forms, generating customer reports, and recording customer transactions can be automated to make the process more efficient and less time-consuming.

More effective marketing strategies

Implementing a CRM system can directly lead to more effective marketing strategies for the business. When you understand your customers better, you can implement a marketing campaign that appeals to their interests and addresses their pain points. This keeps current customers loyal and generates new customers.

Furthermore, you can also segment your customers into distinct groups based on buyer personas. Therefore, each group has distinct behaviours and preferences, and you can tailor your message to address the concerns of the various customer segments.

Improves internal communication

To keep your current customers happy and get new prospects, the entire business needs to be on board. CRM systems enable different departments to communicate more efficiently in response to the needs of customers. Data can be shared quickly and more efficiently across various areas of the business. In addition, employees can coordinate efforts across their departments to serve customers better and faster.

For example, a customer with a problem regarding their payment information can be served in real-time by both the customer care department and the financial department to resolve the payment issue. The end result is reduced costs, satisfied customers, and greater profits.

How To Successfully Implement A CRM System

The key to your business’s success is creating great customer relationships, but implementing a CRM system can be a daunting task for smaller companies that might not have a dedicated IT team.

So, how can you guarantee success when it comes to implementing a CRM system that brings results?

1. Leadership Involvement Is crucial…

….and we’re not just talking about signing the cheque - essential though that is! Proper support from those at the top is key in the success of any CRM project. After all, if management is involved it helps the whole company to get on board and show their commitment. In order to implement CRM, management needs to set the business’s priorities and make sure that everyone knows what they are doing and when. If you want your CRM to improve your business you need to make sure that the right people are making the right decisions, at the right time - and that starts at the top.

2. …So are clear project objectives

It’s always a good idea, before implementing your CRM software, that you know what you are trying to achieve with the system, and how you envision your business being different with a successfully deployed solution. Without knowing why you want to implement a CRM system in the first place, you’re going to struggle getting others on board with the project and be able to effectively demonstrate its impact. Clear objectives are important too because different teams within your business are likely to have competing priorities..

For example, your sales team is likely to prioritise getting more leads whereas your customer service people will be less concerned with that and more worried about getting a new customer support system in place. It’s for this reason that it’s imperative that you prioritise and define your business objectives, rather than letting everyone go rogue!

3. Find those that have a ‘can-do’ attitude!

When you implement your CRM it’s always worth starting in one area in order to start a domino effect across all of the departments. Go with the department that has the most to gain early on, and preferably one with a manager who realises the benefits of CRM and is really behind the project. That motivated, ‘go-getting’ attitude will be invaluable when it comes to getting the rest of the team fired up about the project. Once other departments see the results, they’re likely to follow suit.

4. Get people involved early doors

It’s easy to get over-excited in the early stages of getting your CRM implemented and forget to make sure that everyone is properly consulted and clued-in! Make sure that you put yourself in each user’s shoes and try to understand how the system will impact each of them. If you don’t do this you could end up in a situation where some of your team hate the new system and struggle to see its value. No one likes change, and the new CRM system is going to be different to what they’re used to - which can make them resistant! The best way to avoid this is to get everyone involved and ask for their input early on. If all of your team members feel that they are a part of the decision-making process they’ll be more likely to want the CRM implementation to be a success.

5. Set aside enough time to move all of your existing data

You’re bound to have data that you want to move to your new CRM system, and it would be a mistake to underestimate how much time that will take! Whether it’s all on a spreadsheet or scrawled down on scraps of paper (hey, we don’t judge!), make sure that you take the time to go through all of your existing data, remove any duplicates, remove people who have left, tidy up addresses etc, and just generally take stock of what you have.

6. Review your existing processes

The whole reason behind CRM projects is that the existing systems and processes in place just aren’t cutting it, and aren’t delivering the desired results. Unfortunately, the solution isn’t as simple as just replacing the technology. When you implement a new CRM, take the opportunity to review, and possibly improve, all of your business processes.

7. Know where your business is going

All business owners know that change is constant, and your processes and requirements are going to change as your business grows. This means that it’s important that you implement a system that is going to support the growth - not planning ahead could mean that you end up wasting time and money paying for additional add-ons or modules that you don’t really need - so think about what your business is going to need over the next 12-18 months from the very beginning.

8. Make sure you schedule time for training!

Training your team is vital if everyone’s going to get the very best out of your CRM system, so make sure you schedule in time where people can get rained up without being disturbed. It sounds like we’re just being over-dramatic, but it could end up costing you hours - maybe even days - in the long run if an employee misses a key point of working with your new system because of being interrupted during the training process.

9. Migrate data during quiet time

It’s probably not the best idea to migrate all of your data and transition to the new system during peak, busy business hours. Choose a quieter period to roll out your new CRM solution and do it in small, manageable chunks to ease everyone in slowly.

10. Choose the right partner for you

The CRM software market is huge, so you’re really spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing the best solution to suit your business needs. The majority of systems available provide a variety of great features, so take some time to think about what areas (if any) you want to undertake yourself, and where you’re going to need help…as well as thinking about your budget, before deciding on the best partner to join you on your CRM journey to business success.

CRM Questions?

If you're thinking of implementing a CRM system for your business, or would like to get more from your existing CRM system, we'd be happy to assist you with any support you need or questions you may have. Contact us here, and someone from the team will get back to you as soon as possible.