Date posted: September 8, 2015
Over the past year we’ve been writing more about Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and it’s really not a mystery as to why. Everything an organization does needs to be focused on customers, from production to marketing to sales to service. As an increasingly sophisticated tool that provides data on how the customer is responding to corporate activity, CRM is increasingly on the mind of those responsible for enterprise applications.
A recent article on homecaremag.com provides a nice summary of the necessary steps to assure that CRM is adopted successfully. It takes around 10 to 12 weeks to fully implement a CRM system, and there are five key stages a company’s implementation team can expect during this time:
- Establish Goals
Before you interview CRM providers, you and your team should have a clear understanding of what you want from a CRM system. This may require a little introspection within the company to identify what you need most from a CRM resource. Involve all departments in the decision, and find out what each requires.
- Create a Timeline
Once you have selected a CRM provider, it’s important to establish a timeline up front from both the client side and the CRM vendor. This creates shared expectations where each party can hold one another accountable for established milestones. This is a good time to discuss best practices and define specific milestones with dates attached. Set expectations about how you want the CRM platform to work for you.
The discovery phase is utilized for data gathering. This is where the CRM team drills down into your company’s data. The CRM provider will request a sample data set pulled from a previous enterprise system.
- Connectivity Set-Up
This is the “nuts and bolts” stage of implementation, where your data team works with the CRM provider’s team to connect the data. There are different ways this can happen, but the three main elements you want to track include accounts, contacts and referrals.
As the purchaser of a CRM system, you should expect the vendor to provide in-person training, web sessions, online training guides, video guides and/or Web-based training. This service should be included in the CRM package. Post-implementation, you should have ongoing access to training and customer support. Remember, it’s you—the client—who creates value from the CRM system. Make sure you use the available training to make the most of your system.
As Peter Drucker said, “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” Having an effective CRM solution in place will help you reach this aim.