You want to increase sales, and you understand that strengthening and managing your professional relationships with customers is the key to your success. So, it's likely you're looking to adopt a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Adopting a software like this isn't as easy as flipping a switch. It takes multiple steps and requires a detailed and organized process. At Acadia, having adopted several software applications for internal use, so we understand what goes into a change like this, and have become quite good at it. Our advice: don't go it alone.
If you're not as familiar with CRM tools, they're used to manage and analyze customer interactions and gather information about customers across a variety of sources inside and outside your company. Once just a sales tool, CRMs have adapted to become part of your overall business strategy, making them more complex to adopt. We've simplified the process and developed 6 steps to CRM success:
Perform a CRM Needs AssessmentYou've already decided you want to buy a CRM, but before jumping into deciding on a tool that fits your company, we suggest performing a needs assessment. It's necessary to define who in your company will access the system and engage them in the process to define functionality and reporting requirements. From marketing to customer service, asking the right questions of the right people is critical. Getting their buy-in is even more critical.
Decide on the CRM That Fits Your NeedsBy performing a needs assessments, you've identified the “must haves" that you'll look for in CRM tools. CRMs have basic functionality that's fairly universal, but each product has its unique attributes. Evaluate each one based on your specific needs and don't settle for a tool that doesn't measure up. Be sure there is support after the sale, too.
Have an In-house CRM ChampionThis step involves assigning one person from your team to learn the ins and outs of the software. Your champion will be working closely with your vendor or consultant and act as the middle man. Once you've started the process of actually adopting the CRM and training, they'll serve as your CRM expert and will lead your team through the change.
Work Closely With Your CRM VendorAs mentioned above, your CRM champion and your CRM vendor will coordinate to ensure that your software is implemented properly and issues are addressed as they arise. Often CRM companies have a defined implementation plan, but be sure it fits with your timeline. It's important to define and document implementation for staged training and deployment, not necessarily a quick turnaround.
Train Well and Launch CleanlyMake your CRM experience positive. Your CRM champion will lead the way, making sure that everyone in your organization is engaged in the process and embracing the change. Managing the change with your team can be just as challenging as implementing the software and new processes. Training well results in a seamless launch and a positive end result for all involved, including your customers.
Refine Your Sales Enablement Process
Aligning your people and processes with your new CRM tool requires continual refinement. This will improve internal efficiencies, so your sales people are more productive and important data is collected throughout your organization. With your new CRM tool, you'll also have increased visibility to your sales pipeline, so leads won't fall through the cracks.
But, before you do anything, you need to decide if your organization is even ready for a CRM. Adopting this tool without having some basics in place will frustrate your team and lead to poor implementation, not to mention wasted resources. This step is also crucial to figure out which CRM is right for your business. Click here for a simple questionnaire to assess your readiness.
Getting the right CRM and implementing it well will yield meaningful data about the health of your company. We are here to help you. Contact us today!