9 Things to consider when implementing a CRM

Mark Parton

Mark Parton

Mark has 25+ years of call center experience and is a lifetime entrepreneur. He is the founder of Call For Wine which he scaled and sold in 2010. His new passion as the founder of Incremental Business, is to help small businesses grow and thrive.
Mark Parton

There are so many CRMs on the market, it’s easy to get paralysis by analysis. If you have come to the point where you need to choose a CRM for the first time or need to replace your old one, here are a few things to consider when evaluating them to find one that works for you.

Is it a Cloud Based CRM?

You should have access to the CRM from anywhere, it needs to be backed up and secure. Your customer database is mission critical and having all communications in one place, accessible from anywhere, allows you to provide great customer service.

Do you have executive buy in?

Is everyone starting at the top on board? You must get the company leaders involved so they understand WHY you need the system and how it will help if EVERYONE uses it. They then need to embrace the tool and evangelize its use. If not, only some people will use the system, giving you only partial information and bad information at that. The whole purpose of the system is to collect good data that your company can act on. If only some buy in—then the data will be poor and the system will fail.

Have you discussed the system with the people that are using it?

I hear many times how CRM implementation is handed off to IT to take care of. Truth is IT doesn’t use the system so how would they know how to design the user view? Put together a group or committee internally made up of anyone that will be using the system that meets periodically as development is done. They can go over the user needs, work flow and layout for navigation. This group will also be your testers before you roll it out. BTW, you will not want to roll this out all at once. Even though testing will be done, something will be found once launched so launch to a small group so you can work through any issues.


Ease of use for reps

It’s important to pick a CRM that reps can navigate quickly. It shouldn’t take a rep more than a few days to learn a CRM and get on the phone. If the CRM is too complicated and takes weeks of training, it’s not cost effective and the reps will have a hard time getting motivated to make calls. Keep it simple.

Is it a system that multiple departments and staff can use?

Having a system that works with many departments allows for centralized customer information and a better customer experience. It also allows for more efficient sharing of information among staff, e.g. accounting to see sales that can see client services. Reports can be easily created for a stronger reporting detail as the data reservoir is centralized.

Will it integrate with your phone system?

Consider a cloud based PBX or call center system. They are relatively inexpensive if you go with a simple cloud PBX and a little more money if you go with the cloud based call center. This way all the data and recordings can be stored, you can increase calling efficiency and inbound calls can have a “screen pop” where the customer information is already available to the agent before they start speaking to the customer.

Does it give you an Omni Channel marketing view and can it integrate with your existing eComm, POS, reservation and email marketing?

It’s critical for staff to have a 360 degree visual of the customer info. All of the good eComm, POS, reservation and email marketing solutions have APIs that can be written to for strong integration with a proper CRM.

Can you continue to develop the system as your needs grow?

Things will change as your business may change. How easy is it to make adjustments and can someone internally or an outside source help you get those changes made?

Do you have ongoing training in place?

Do you have a strategy for ongoing training? New staff will come on board, some staff will move to other departments and existing staff will need refreshers. Try to find a go to person in house and create a binder. Also, have weekly tips for users so they can learn about the system over time and be introduced to new functionality.

This should be a good start. Share your own ideas in the comments and let me know if you have any questions!

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