Most CRM implementations fail because users who should use the system do not do so. In most organizations, the need for CRM is driven by the top management to track marketing, sales and customer service. While senior management consumes information created by end users. Often, it is the end users who are left out of CRM selection and implementation.
The success of a CRM project depends on the end user’s buy-in. It is vital to demonstrate clear value to all users (direct and indirect) by focusing on ease of use. Otherwise, CRM implementations have a high risk of failure.
Make users an integral part of the CRM selection and implementation journey
Sales reps or customer service executives should be part of the CRM selection and implementation journey as they face the customers every day and really know what happens on the ground. The end user group should be involved in defining business requirements, and evaluation of CRM products and should be an integral part of the implementation cycle. It is also important to know whether some of them have past experience of using a CRM. If yes, those products can be evaluated. A set of proactive executives can dawn the hat of “CRM managers/power users” who can drive adoption in their respective departments.
Don’t cut corners in implementation. Clearly define workflows, and integration points and automate mundane and repetitive tasks
This step is the most time-consuming and also one of the critical to ensure CRM does what it is supposed to do. Ideally, this step should be divided into two phases. One, before the CRM evaluation – in which processes are examined for gaps and modifications and improvements are incorporated. This can then be converted into a use case that can be demonstrated by CRM implementation companies.
The second phase is where detailed BRDs and process charts are defined as part of the implementation and customization cycle. Work with your CRM consulting firm to debate, streamline and prepare process workflows clearly defining success and escalation parameters & get the system configured as per the agreed requirements. Here the experience of the vendors and your CRM consulting firm (working in similar industries) will also come in handy.
Part of the CRM consulting services & implementation also includes integration of the CRM software with other systems. E.g ERPs, telephony systems/dialers, SMS and email APIs etc. The objective of integration is the seamless flow of information to get the big picture which is critical for decision-making, automation of repetitive tasks and avoiding data duplicity.
Most popular CRMs can be integrated with APIs which are part of the CRM product stack. Ask your CRM software consultants to identify integration points and make them part of their CRM consulting services effort.
Make the system easy to use. Don’t implement all the features in one go. It can make the system complex
The ease of use of CRM systems is always at the forefront of our CRM advisory services. A lot of data input can make the system complex. Capture only vital customer information needed to track business processes effectively. Remember end users should focus on selling or servicing customers. Don’t turn them into data entry operators.
Don’t get swayed by the swanky features, great UI and dashboards. CRM implementation is a journey. Implement CRM in phases, including features, modules, and integrations vital in the first phase. Improve system usage – as adoption improves the next phase can begin.
Ask your CRM consulting firm to create a CRM project roadmap detailing on each phase of the implementation.
Show value: Make users see the value of how a CRM helps them sell more and serve customers better.
Make users see value. Show them how important pieces of customer information like past interactions, proposal information and support tickets can support their day-to-day function. Explain how a CRM can help to cross-sell and upsell.
Automate routine tasks. E.g., proposal or quote generation or finding solutions through a knowledge base and automated responses. As users realize that a CRM makes their life easy and assists in achieving KPIs the buy-in and adoption improves.
The ‘C level user’ must use the system. It has to be a top-down approach
One of the best ways to get the end user’s buy-in on CRM software & make them use the system is to ensure their reporting managers and senior executives use the system. All reporting, tracking of key process metrics and reviews should be conducted from the CRM. As the system settles down – manual mechanisms of reporting especially excel sheets should be strictly discouraged.
CRMs if implemented the right way can have a huge impact on making an organization customer-centric. Organizations should remember- a system can give the required output only when it gets the right input. This can happen only when users use the system. CRM vendors and consulting companies should stress on user buy-in and should build interventions to inculcate the same as part of their CRM advisory and consulting services.