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3 ways to make implementing a CRM system a success.

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Great. You’ve made the decision to implement a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system into your business. You’ll soon be wondering what you ever did without it!

I recently caught up with one of our partners and good friends, Neil Saviano, over at CRM International to get his tips on how to make implementing a CRM system a raging success. If anyone knows CRM, it’s Neil.

1. Spring-clean your data

If you take nothing else away from this article, take this point and don’t forget it. While tedious, data cleansing is so important for a successful implementation. You wouldn’t get a shiny new car then fill it with grotty old oil, so don’t invest in a new CRM system and pack it out with naff data.

“Cleaning your data is paramount. Your CRM will fall flat on its face if you pack it chock full of old, incorrect data. See this as an opportunity to start afresh and put some legwork into cleansing your data before adding it to your CRM,” Neil says.

Consider getting an intern for the summer to data cleanse and check emails, phone numbers, and make sure even names and job roles are correct. Things can change very quickly in the business world, so check that the data you do have is all present and correct.

Neil also went on to say that data cleansing is especially important for companies that have databases that span many years and salespeople. “It’s not uncommon to find the work habits of former salespeople culminate in the form of misplaced data such as telephone numbers where job role should be or an email address where a telephone number should be.”

And clear out any companies or contacts that you know aren’t interested in what you have to offer. Spamming them relentlessly with irrelevant communication will only bring you down in their estimations. Your new CRM should be a clean slate that you can work on maintaining rather than wading through a lot of crap to get to what you’re looking for.

 2. Train, train, train

Regardless of whether your team has or hasn’t used a CRM system before, train them. And when you think you’ve trained them enough, train them a little more. “Training is an imperative and often overlooked piece of the implementation puzzle. The key is to make training accessible and easy for your users,” Neil adds.

Training is one of the best ways to encourage successful implementation and ongoing usage. Remember to check in regularly with your team to make sure there are no problems or issues that might not have yet come to your attention.

“Elect an in-house CRM champion who will be your go-to guru for all things relating to your CRM system. While the channels of support offered by suppliers are often incredibly extensive, being able to ask a colleague a quick question is much less effort.”  Neil also emphasized that it’s important that your CRM champion is the liaison with your supplier to ensure that both sides work together to drive a successful CRM implementation.

3. Encourage user adoption

A slump in user adoption is a surefire sign your CRM system is failing. “User apathy is one of the key reasons why CRM systems are condemned as a waste of time and money. Your users need to be aware of the reasons why you’re investing in a CRM and demonstrate the value that such a tool can bring to their professional lives.”

Show your sales team how easy a CRM makes it to manage and plan their day. Show them that they can bin their little black books and ditch their Rolodexes once and for all. Demonstrate how easy it will make managing customer issues for your service team. Finance can stay on top of billing and invoice dates, and marketing can keep track of a customer’s buying journey.  “More importantly,” Neil says, “your salespeople need to internalize how the CRM functionality overall can help them make more money!”

“Everyone wins with CRM. It’s something that can really transform your business for the better, so getting everyone on board and able to see just how much it will help their day-to-day lives is one of the best ways to make sure your implementation goes without a hitch.”

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