Every small business that introduces a CRM system does so to streamline processes, improve customer service, and find new business opportunities and customers. However, not every CRM implementation is a success. Or, at least, they don’t derive as much benefit as they could from the technology.
But why is this? And how could you avoid it?
What you will learn in this article
- The argument in favor of CRM
- 3 great tips for successful CRM implementation
- How to apply them to avoid the pitfalls
- Why best practice is important
- How to get started with CRM
The argument for CRM
CRM is arguably the single most important investment you can make in pursuit of business growth. There is plenty of evidence for this. Manual systems and spreadsheets have had their today. Unfortunately, they cannot keep up with the pace of change in the modern business world.
To obtain a 360-degree overview of customer relationships and business performance, there is only one contender. And that’s CRM. While stories of disastrous CRM implementation abound, there are a few simple steps you can take to avoid the same from happening to you.
3 top tips for successful CRM implementation
Small businesses should keep the following three items in mind to leverage the full potential of CRM.
Customize your CRM, not your business
Investing in a CRM system for your business is the first step toward better relationships with prospects and customers. However, the presets in CRM are generic best guesses. You will need to customize things to reflect your business and its unique business requirements. Customization like this will ensure you get the maximum benefit from CRM and give it a much more bespoke feel. Here are a few moves you should consider:
- Customize the CRM’s theme – You will want it to feel elegant and contemporary. Wherever possible, use your existing company color scheme to give the CRM system a more ‘corporate’ look. The appearance is essential as it’s the first thing staff will see when they log in. And the final thing they see when they sign off for the day.
- Provide the right tools – All your departments, from sales, marketing to accounts and customer service, need the right tools for the job. So ensure they have all the plugins and third-party integrations they need to do their job. This is likely to span apps like Marketo and Act-On for your marketing team while sales will want access to Twilio, for instance. Accounts, meanwhile, will go crazy if they suddenly can’t use Quickbooks anymore.
- Customize dashboards and workflows – Again, it’s unlikely the defaults will suffice. Spend time adjusting workflows, modules, reports, and dashboards to suit your company’s needs and staff.
Ensure accurate information gets updated
A chain is only as strong as its data. Or words to that effect. The point is that a CRM is only as accurate as the information being inputted. Therefore, you need to ensure that the data, which is being used across your entire organization, is up-to-date and being refreshed in real-time.
This is why it’s so critical that your CRM system is mobile-friendly. Today, mobile CRM is a given if you have staff on the move a lot to meet clients. You want them to access real-time information and add notes while they are out of the office. Mobile functionality is non-negotiable these days. It’s the only way to ensure everyone is on the same page, even if away from their desk.
Train your staff
This may sound glaringly obvious, but you would be surprised how many companies try to take shortcuts with training. It’s somewhat short-sighted not to train the people who will use the system and make it a success.
If you have primed staff early on the benefits of CRM, they are far more likely to adopt the technology and be willing to train on how to use it. Users will want to know how CRM can improve their job and make them work smarter, not harder. You should not leave them thinking the new tech is going to be clunky and difficult to use. It will also be a big help if the training focuses on functionality rather than process.
Why best practice is important
The companies that struggle the most with CRM have tried to cut corners and not adopt best practices.
Without a doubt adopting best practices is the easiest route to CRM success. However, remember that nothing happens overnight. It may take some time for CRM to achieve its full potential. However, you can give it the best possible start by bearing in mind our three top tips for CRM effectiveness.
How to get started with CRM
If you make any investment, you want, not unreasonably, to see the maximum bang for your buck. And the same holds for CRM. You want a CRM system that’s a good fit for your business. And one which is user-friendly and intuitive to ensure maximum uptake. However, don’t be tempted to skimp on staff training, hoping they will pick it up as they go along.
However, these concerns can be quickly answered, not least by taking up an offer of a free trial demo account to get first-hand exposure to the system.
Since the estimated number of CRM providers runs to around 400 or so, you will want a way to narrow down the field. For small businesses, the most popular option and feasible option are cloud-based CRM solutions. This is because cloud CRM is by far the most flexible and affordable solution for small businesses. There’s no need to run servers and have IT staff; that’s all done for you.
A new CRM implementation needn’t be fraught with difficulties so long as small businesses approach it in the right way. You can increase your chances of success right now, though, by contacting us. We are the cloud CRM experts for small businesses and will be delighted to talk over any concerns you may have.