Planning to implement a CRM Solution? Read this first!

Many people think that implementing a CRM system is just buying CRM software. This idea is completely wrong. Buying CRM software is just one step of implementing a CRM system in your company. Implementing CRM system is a very costly and complicated process. No matter how good and effective the CRM software is. Without a good implementation plan you are not going to end up with a useful tool but with a very expensive mistake. You also need to take your time before selecting the right CRM solution for you and your company. Selecting the wrong CRM software means that your project will fail regardless of how much money and effort you put into it.
CRM implementation steps:
1. Vendor contracting CRM software licensing.
These two processes are very vital to setting the expectations to what is going to happen during the implementation process. What kind of CRM system will be implemented and what is the cost. Not having a clear contract will result in cost increases and missed timelines.
2. Project Planning.
Good planning is the secret to any CRM implementation success. Good planning starts with choosing the staff that will be in charge of monitoring and execute the implementation plan and the plan must include:
A. Calendar: keeps track of the project progress and the completion dates of the major phases of project.
B. Work plan: shows what is the overall timeline and what is the cost should be.
C. Budget Spreadsheet: shows a list of all the costs per month during Implementation.
D. Task List: Shows a list of tasks for the staff to complete.
3. Software development.
Some CRM software just required basic setup to be fully operational but some other software require major customization .This depends on your company requirements and your view of how you expect the CRM software to fit into your company. During the software development you have to consider:
A. Getting Involved: You should review the features of the CRM software in development.
B. Track progress: Ask the CRM software provider what the features that they worked on are and what did they accomplish.
C. Clarify change requests and Bugs.  Identify any issues that appear to be bugs and ask the CRM software provider to fix it.
4. Data Migration.
If your company has information in an older system and you need to move them to the new CRM software system. You have to include that in the project contract because some Data requires professional work so it can fit in the new system. During Data migration you have to consider:
A. Data Gathering: Because most the companies have their data scattered everywhere. You have to locate the data that you want to migrate to the new system.
B. Identify available migration tools: Some CRM software has a data migration tools within the system .you have to see if these tools will be helpful for you or you will require professional help from the CRM software provider.
C. Test the Migration: To make sure that the data arrived to the correct places.
5. Training and support.
This is a very important step. Without training your users on the new system you will end up with a very good tool that nobody uses. So make sure to:
A. Identify your training options early: you have to ask yourself if the users will require training or you will use documentations and videos. Understand the training fees and the quality of the training provided.
B. Plan for gaps: Sometimes training materials are not sufficient and will not cover all the features of the CRM software and live training session may be required.
C. Train the Trainers: Use the knowledge gained from the trainings so some staff can train other staff.
Why most of CRM implementation fails:
Recent statistics show that more than %50.00 of CRM software implementations fails. These are some of the factors that could compromise tour CRM software implementation:
1. Not having clear goals for your new CRM software.
2. Not having a key performance indicator that will show if your CRM implementation was a failure or success.
3. Over customization of the software can compromise the whole implementation process. Try to add very little features as you can before test the new software environment. Adding many features to untested software environment can create loop holes in the system.
4. Not encouraging your employee to use the new system. Having a very good tool that nobody uses is just a waste of money.
5. Insufficient training means that nobody of your staff will get the benefits of the new system.
6. Failure to utilize the new system within your company’s different departments.
The success of the CRM software implementation really depends on the persons who created and executed the implementation plan. It is always better for you and your company to get professional help in implementing the CRM software in your company. This professional help can be from the CRM software provider since they have more experience in that field. Most the CRM software providers have special departments that perform the task of the CRM software implementation.

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