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Your company’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system has finally arrived.  The future is bright – sales, marketing and customer service will be seamlessly integrated.  Your customer relationships will grow stronger and marketing campaigns will be better managed.

Now, you just have to implement CRM and roll it into your business. Your IT group can handle this project, right?  Before you make that decision, let’s review the steps necessary to implement CRM on your own.

Sales Integration

Your firm decided to utilize a CRM system to optimize the sales process.  Therefore, achieving success with CRM starts with the sales team.  If implemented correctly, a CRM allows sales managers to own and gain total visibility into the sales process.  Comprehensive data will finally be available in a single consolidated place.  They key is to define, capture, and train your sales teams on these vastly different data points.

  • Prospect
  • Current customers
  • Ongoing deals
  • Pipeline
  • Revenue forecasts

A Team Effort

There is a need for data to be continually entered and processed. While some of this data can be entered automatically from lead generation forms – sales activities need to be entered manually.  Other team members might be involved in entering data after a conference.  The message needs to be consistently from the top management team down to first-line managers on the need to capture customer and prospect interactions at all points of the process.

Map Your Sales Process

  • Where do leads come from?
  • Where, when and how are customers contacted during the sales process?
  • How do you define your contacts?

All these questions need answers.  Your CRM should have functionalities to optimize all of these unique touch points and processes.

Technology Integration

CRM integration with your technology and processes can be a challenge.  Capturing leads from your website, lead forms, and social media – to individuals in the company receiving calls and enter notes can be time consuming.  Even if your company boasts the most powerful CRM platform that easily integrates with your website – you are still dealing with novice users and potential technological cross-platform integration issues.

Training

As mentioned earlier, successful CRM implementation requires a behavior change from most of your employees.  From CRM super users to project managers, sales reps and strategy managers interested in six-quarter revenue forecasts, a larger percentage of your employees will interact with a CRM – and all in completely different ways.  This requires the development and deployment of extensive training programs, including training for new features introduced in your CRM over time.

Visualization and Forecasts

Senior managers will be interested in developing and extracting revenue forecasts.  Analytic teams will be interested in advanced data.  Sales managers will be interested in dashboards that allow them to track campaigns and relationships.

Third-Party Integration

Your CRM should have the functionality with social media and third-party CRM apps.  Easy enough at the onset, but you still have to integrat these systems, troubleshoot, ensure the data is captured and entered correctly, and training your employees.  Social media and CRM can be powerful tools to explore how customers describe problems and the solutions they seek.

Bottom Line

Clearly, there is an extensive list of steps to implement CRM on your own.  It’s difficult, costly, and time-consuming.  To correctly implement CRM requires constant monitoring and supervision.  Instead of implementing it yourself, consider outsourcing CRM implementation to experienced professionals.

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