Every organization today — whether big or small — are starting to realize the importance of CRM.
CRM, or customer relationship management, is nothing but a platform that streamlines and automates the day-to-day activities of your organization.
Looking for CRM Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of the Best CRM solutions.
It acts as a centralized database whereby all customer information, customer interactions, and business information are stored.CRM technology can help in automating marketing and sales activities and maintaining a lasting relationship between partners, vendors, and employees.
Even after all the benefits, it has to offer, many organizations, like yours, are contemplating implementing a CRM. After all, CRM implementation comes with its own set of challenges that restrict brands from adopting any change.
But it doesn’t have to be so hard.
In this article, we will talk about different types of CRM and the CRM implementation process for successful deployment.
Let’s dive in.
Before we begin, it’s important to understand whether you need CRM software or not. This will help you remove any second thoughts you might be having about CRM implementation.
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Build A CRM Implementation Team
Before you start implementing CRM system, make sure you have the right team with you. These include-
- Project manager
- Application analyst
- Application developer
- QA test engineer
- Sales team
- Sales managers
- Marketing managers
- Project managers
- Customer service representatives
Moreover, it is essential to consider each member’s role in your CRM implementation project. On a larger scale, you will need advocates, specialists, and workhorses to make your implementation team a successful one.
Advocates are seniors in the organization and will help team members understand why the change is happening. There is always some resistance when something new happens, and they will act as a balancing force. Besides, these people have a solid understanding of CRM system implementation and ensure that the system is set correctly and data migration is handled well.
In-house Specialists will help you deal better with vendors and smoothen out issues faced during the roll-out period.
Workhorses are important as they follow specialists’ guidelines, manage new users, and make sure they are using the system effectively.
Your implementation team is the one that will help you run your CRM, so pick up people who will support you in your endeavor.
Create A Change Management Plan
A change management plan can be different for every organization, but some common steps that can aid the transition include:
- Analyzing the strengths/weaknesses of your CRM implementation team
- Working with advocates, specialists, and workhorses to make the change a reality.
- Identifying the gaps and expertise you have and how to overcome them
While companies can be deficient at all levels, the most overlooked team members include the advocates. Of course, you could also look at hiring a consultant, but they can be costly.
Before appointing a team, make sure you consider their capabilities and understand if they are tech-savvy or not. Besides, are they open to your CRM system implementation plan?
The next step is to plan how you’ll manage the change brought about by CRM system implementation. This needs breaking down the project into achievable stages and creating key milestones, including:
- User training and engagement
- Data migration
Make sure you devise a way to keep track of the project. You can choose to do it in Google docs, spreadsheets, or any other method your team is comfortable with. The whole idea behind this step is to-
- Provide your staff clarity on why you are implementing a new CRM
- Allow them to provide thoughts and feedback, and
- Help them adjust to the change
Luckily, you can enroll your members with ease and eventually make sure that each member has a clear view of what is happening and how it will impact their work life.
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Forecast a CRM Implementation Budget
Well, the cost of CRM system implementation can make or break your project. From paying too much for customization to wasted staff hours, you need to be extremely careful when planning your budget.
Often managers do not consider the full extent of these costs and cannot figure out if the whole exercise is worth it or not. To eliminate any last surprises, follow these steps.
1. Account for Everything
These don’t just include the obvious costs. You will need to plan for everything, including reduced productivity during the period your CRM goes live. Besides, you should have a good baseline number to work with. Some of the parameters that require your attention include
- Consultancy fees
- Vendor implementation services
- Staff overtime
- Phone costs
- Data backup and storage
2. Review the Payoff
Before you make a plan to implement CRM system, make sure it will make your job easier, and you can quantify its benefits. This exercise can help you rethink your decision, as after getting a number, most organizations don’t plan to implement a CRM. This does not mean that CRMs are not good, but the ROI can differ from software to software.
3. Conduct a Risk Assessment
There can be several risks, including possible mismanagement, technical risks, security-related issues, and others. You might need to train your employees for the same and include it in your budget.
Roll Out your CRM
Coming to the scariest part of CRM system implementation, rolling out the CRM! For this, you will need to cover a host of parameters and get your planning right. Training is an integral part of this transition, and giving your staff a few days to get accustomed can help you in the short and long term.
You can train the line managers so that they can pass on the knowledge to their team. Here are a few steps you will need to take to ensure successful CRM system implementation.
1. Data Migration
CRM data migration is effective when you have a clear plan. It is suggested that you make a migration brief and use it in the implementation process.
Well, downloading and uploading using Excel is the most popular but is not that great when it comes to achieving tangible benefits. finalManipulating the data once it has been fed can be challenging. Besides, most CRMs will have apps to provide support – but the level of customization may vary.
Before migrating, we suggest you cleanse your data of any out-of-date information, just like your spring cleaning regime!
2. CRM User Training
The most successful training sessions are a mix of face-to-face and online practice activities. Getting teams out of the office for a day or two is very important. Not only does it give your teammates the mental space, but it also sends out the clear message – that the training is important!
3. System Testing
We suggest that you leave the system testing part to the IT staff on your implementation team as they know what they’re doing. Have a consultation with them and schedule in time pre-go-live for:
- System testing
- Functional testing
- Stress testing
- Performance testing
- Usability testing
- Acceptance testing
- Integration testing
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Plan and Initiate your CRM Go-live
Go-live periods are a product of good training and migration. If you have done the necessary groundwork, the process will be simplified to a great extent. However, there are some tactics you can use to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.
- Staff scheduling, including required overtime/temporary staff
- Identifying the right metrics for project evaluation
- Developing a communication strategy for system downtime
- Analyzing network speed and conducting reliability checks
- Streamlining data backup processes
- Post-go-live testing
Most companies try to go live in one day. To sort this process, you can phase the process in several stages and let your team adjust to it. This will allow you to spot bugs and see how your employees are responding.
A second tactic is to have an easy-to-use ticketing system where users can log issues and errors. Then, make sure you take care of these points and solve them before turning them into major issues.
Evaluate Your CRM Implementation
Now that you successfully implemented your CRM, you will need to build a dashboard that pulls out key data and tracks it. Again, you need to be very thorough about the key metrics and decide how it looks.
1. System Activity
This involves reviewing the number of discrete actions completed by a user on the system. It is helpful as it serves as a high-level check to see that users log in and actually understand and use the system.
2. Record Updates
If the CRM requires certain records to be updated, like people or clients on the system, this is an indicator that users are engaging with the CRM.
3. Business Metrics
Analyzing the business metrics is difficult as it is hard to find one variable. For instance, if your revenue increased by 40%, the cause needs to be addressed and prompt deeper assessment.
It will be great if you can connect the performance to your CRM. For instance, your revenue increased by 40%, and at the same time, your appointment conversion is up by 15%, and email reply rates are up 22%. In this manner, you can be confident that your CRM is adding value.
Top Signs Why Your Businesses Might Need CRM Implementation
CRM software has become a growing phenomenon — the CRM business is expected to exceed $80 billion by 2025. Planning to implement a new tool or process can be a significant decision, especially when it requires a financial investment.
We will discuss the scope of CRM that will help you identify whether you will benefit from it or not.
i. Missed Sales Opportunities
As your client base grows, it gets quite difficult for salespeople to track their sales lead manually. They can’t remember all the details about the customer when you don’t have your vast database maintained on a single platform. It creates a wrong impression in front of your customers as it makes them feel less important. They will simply walk away.
Besides, if you don’t have a transparent process for nurturing your leads, you might ultimately miss out on sales opportunities. With CRM books in place, sales reps will have all the relevant data and information stored about their customers. They can seamlessly pick up where they left off last time and thus, add value to the relationship.
Not only that, but a CRM can automatically notify your sales rep when it’s time for a follow-up. In short, CRM marketing ensures that you don’t miss sales opportunities.
Writing a good follow-up email that gets the attention of the user after no response is not an easy task as you need to provide a good incentive for the person to respond.
ii. Lack of Collaboration Between Departments
The sales team is accountable for closing deals, whereas the marketing team generates leads. Both the department needs to be coordinated to ensure that leads are converted into opportunities, and eventually, a customer.
However, sometimes departments get engrossed in their own work and start losing track of other departments’ activities. It could create a problem while dealing with a client as they may not know how to handle the customer due to the lack of information.
If you are facing a similar situation, you are in need of CRM software. CRM gives you access to real-time data related to a customer’s profile. Anyone in the organization can view the lifecycle of each customer or lead and know precisely how to tackle them.
The ideal way to go about this is to set up a marketing automation system that will help the business in generating leads on autopilot.
These leads are then automatically populated to your CRM system for your sales team to automatically take charge. Not only does this improve organizational efficiency, but this also removes the glass wall that sometimes exists between the marketing and sales functions.
iii. Inadequate Reporting or Data Analysis Tools
Businesses must have complete information while dealing with their potential customers or clients. The more data you have access to, the more you know.
Besides, you also need to be able to forecast your customer demand accurately. You need to keep an eye on the latest trend and keep a check if your sales team are meeting their monthly targets. Reporting is one of the most important modules of improving CRM users adoption. It has built-in reporting and data analysis tools that can help you understand your customer better.
It allows you to create customizable reports based on your requirements. Also, you can get a complete insight into their buying behavior, demographics, and other specific preferences.
iv. Poor Customer Satisfaction
Having a poor customer experience opens the door for your competition. Losing customers to your competitors due to poor customer support service can be extremely painful.
If you are having low satisfaction rates and a high volume of complaints, you are in need of a CRM. With CRM, you can target all your customers. If they prefer to communicate over mobile rather than emails, choose that. Engage your customer in whatever style they want.
You need to make them feel important if you want to earn their loyalty. If you have a CRM, you will be able to address all their concerns proactively. In fact, you can also integrate your social media handles with the system and monitor all your customer’s activity on your pages online. It will help improve your business service quality.
v. Less Efficiency or Low Productivity
The need for CRM lies in the fact that you are still using manual processes, like spreadsheets and paper approvals, which results in the business being highly inefficient. It wastes a considerable amount of time for employees doing repetitive tasks, which leads to a decline in productivity. For instance, billing and invoicing the same list of clients at the end of every month.
CRM technology can help in removing the need to do repetitive tasks manually through automation. Its typical applications of workflow automation are sales automation, marketing automation, and customer support automation. Not only that, it brings account-related team communication into a single, shared interface. There are fewer chances of information getting lost, unlike in lengthy email chains.
All these will ultimately lead to improved efficiency and more productivity by finishing routine tasks for you without causing any hassle.
vi. Rapid Business Growth
When your business starts to expand, you can no longer rely on an inefficient manual system to cater to the requirements of your customers.
Are you prepared to handle a sudden potential rush of new business? Or, do you have the right set of tools to help you scale effectively? If your processes are not organized, it’s a sign that you are in need of a CRM that fits your business needs. The right system will grow with your business without reducing productivity.
Even small businesses that are just starting out can benefit from the advantages of CRM software. However, the biggest concern that remains is how one selects the right size platform. It mainly depends on the number of employees you have and the list of your clients you are dealing with.
With the software-as-a-service (SaaS) pricing models rolling out, most CRMs can grow as you expand. If you are starting out with just two employees and plan to expand it to 500, your CRM will scale along with your business. In short, CRM technology can help in opening up new avenues for your business.
Different Types of CRM Software
Now that you are sure of the need for CRM implementation in your organization, the next step is to understand various types.
Based on its functionalities, CRM is typically categorized into three types.
Operational CRM Software
As the name suggests, operation CRM provides functionalities to streamline your entire administrative tasks. It includes, but is not limited to, contact management, lead generation, and much more.
Operational CRM can be deployed across all three aspects of your business — marketing, sales, and service. When you have all data at once, it becomes easy to formulate strategies that will help capture and nurture leads. This data includes contact information, browsing history, purchase history, and likes and preferences.
In fact, the best CRM is equipped to help with lead scoring — filtering high-quality leads with dead ones and increasing the chance of a conversion.
Operational CRM can be highly beneficial when you have a lot of contacts to manage, need insights about consumer activity, want to scale your email marketing efforts, and avoid manual assignment of tasks.
Moreover, operational CRM allocates tasks to your sales team employees, depending on historical analysis.
Analytical CRM Software
Analytical CRM is a powerful CRM that helps collect, organize, and analyze data to provide actionable insights for making informed businesses decisions.
It uses tools like statistical analysis that help find behavioral patterns and segment customer information, based on age, location, gender, and more. This enables you to target the right audience and provide personalized information to every prospect.
This information can be used for creating cross-selling and up-selling opportunities.
At the same time, it runs multiple regressions to help avoid the use of excel sheets for tracing huge quantities of sales records.
With the exact know-how of your customers’ needs, you can enhance your marketing efforts to serve them better. Personalized campaigns can make a huge difference in retaining consumers and increasing profits.
That’s not it. Analytical CRM also helps with sales forecasting by running an analysis on previous sales and present market demands. Thus, it makes it easy to create a sales target goal and manage inventory by ensuring you are properly stocked.
If you wish to understand your buyers, track sales KPIs, and improve sales and marketing strategies, then analytical CRM can do the trick.
Collaborative CRM Software
Collaborative CRM, aka strategic CRM, shares customer information across teams. These teams may include internal and external stakeholders, comprising your departments, suppliers, vendors, and distributors.
It is highly useful to keep track of every interaction between customers and your employees. It records every communication from all touchpoints, including emails, social media, phone calls, or messages.
This record-keeping helps in maintaining relationships with your customers. You can always dig out past records and discover methods that have worked well in the past to serve your future prospects.
Besides, these notes can be useful in providing feedback for better communication in the future.
It acts as a collaborative platform whereby every team member has access to all files in a single place. Of course, with advanced capabilities, managers can always restrict access to sensitive information based on roles and responsibilities.
All in all, a collaborative CRM enhances communication between departments, increases customer retention and loyalty, shares customer data with all stakeholders, and maintains an organized database.
What Are the Challenges of CRM Implementation?
While you may be clear on the front of needing a CRM, but if you aren’t prepared, the CRM implementation process can pose challenges.
To ensure a smooth implementation, it’s important to get acquainted with the challenges associated. Here is the six-step of challenges in CRM Implementation —
Step #1: Set Clear Objectives
One of the key secrets to a smooth and successful CRM implementation process is defining clear objectives before starting out.
Make your objectives measurable so that you can evaluate the ROI and the core benefits of the system. The next step would be to identify the problems that you are trying to solve. Discuss together with your marketing, sales, and service and see what the main objective of adopting a CRM system is.
Step #2: Cost
You will find both free and paid CRM systems available in the market.
However, which one fits right, depends on your requirement.
If you’re just starting out as a small business owner, a free CRM will do for the time being. But eventually, when your business starts to grow, you will need to upgrade.
Of course, CRM can be a costly affair if not done right. You might end up paying extra for features that you might not even need and plus, it will slow up your loading process.
Before buying a CRM, you need to first define the functionalities you need and lay down your budget upfront. This will make it easy to shortlist the top CRM best for your company.
Most of the time, there are hidden costs attached to CRM such as support charges, maintenance fees, and software upgrade costs. Make sure to clarify everything from the vendor before you make the final purchase.
Step #3: Deployment Type
Generally, businesses have to choose between legal (on-premise) or cloud systems.
Both have their own advantages and disadvantages. For instance, large enterprises with a huge amount of data to store generally prefer an on-premise deployment with a private server. This allows them to keep their data safe while this method can be costlier as compared to the public servers.
Cloud deployment saves you from heavy infrastructure investment and allows you to use the vendor’s server. It ensures that you can use the system from anywhere using any smart device with an internet connection. You just need to log in with your credentials and it syncs in real-time.
Discussing with your team and understanding the difference between the two will give you a good idea about the type of deployment you should opt for.
Step #4: Integration Compatibility
CRM is the not only system you will be using in your organization. You need a CRM that is compatible with other existing systems as well as the new ones that you plan to install eventually. Some of these include ERP, payroll, HR, and more.
Step #5: Training
Another biggest challenge of the CRM implementation process is training staff members to make the most use of the system.
This issue can be easily avoided by involving your employee right from the decision-making process. In fact, this would also help you identify what objectives you are trying to achieve from using CRM.
The best way to go about it is to pick key personnel from each department and train them. They will be responsible for training their entire team member or department.
Without proper training, your employees might end up doing more extra work in an attempt to use CRM.
Step #6: Finding the Right CRM Solution Provider
It’s equally to have the right CRM vendor as they are the crux for successful implementation. The best CRM provider will ensure assistance in both implementations as well as pre-implementation strategy.
Successful implementation also requires you to be aware of all the implementation risks on the table. It can either make or break your situation.
For most, it may be their first CRM implementation, and thus, becoming aware of these challenges with help you get rid of any blunder happening.
Top 6 CRM That You Can Consider Using in 2021
The last thing to do is find the right CRM solution for your organization. Getting the best CRM software is the smartest move – it will make sure your bottom line profits escalate rapidly and efficiently!
The list includes —
This dynamic CRM software gives small and medium businesses an advanced, robust, and highly customizable platform to boost customer management.
Besides, its top-notch customer support is what differentiates it from its competitors. SalesForce has a full-fledged platform using which you can easily capture and generate leads.
It acts as a centralized database that runs analytics to help with sales forecasting.
Most important, it offers a massive collection of add-ons that can seamlessly be integrated into your existing systems for better productivity.
- Cloud-based customizable software
- Compatible with all devices, including smartphones, laptops, and tablets
- Generates real-time reports and provides actionable insights for better efficiency
Snov.io CRM gives simple solutions to complex sales problems. This CRM software helps to search, verify, manage, and reach out to potential and existing customers more efficiently, while its integrated email service (with Email Finder, Email Verifier, and Email Drip Campaigns offered on the same platform) makes leads management, nurturing, and qualification easier and faster.
What is more, it always keeps you updated about tasks and deals thanks to its recent integration with Calendly, which enables your leads to book calls or meetings.
More than 1 million users chose Snov.io CRM owing to its free plan, user-friendly interface, and Chrome extensions. Meanwhile, a lot of new features are coming out soon.
- Makes crafting and tracking of multiple pipelines easy
- Helps to manage deal stages and customize each of them with up to 200 custom fields
- Has deals and prospects notes, lead tracking tags, and a handy timeline to track sales progress
3. Zoho CRM
Source: Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM is a holistic customer relationship lifecycle management solution that helps manage various aspects of a business. From sales management to marketing, inventory management, customer support, and service — it streamlines and automates the entire business operation.
It is a highly cost-effective CRM tool for companies looking for all the core functionalities without burning a hole in their pocket.
Zoho CRM is a highly automated software that provides a comprehensive view of contacts, sales cycles, and pipelines to help you propel sales figures by identifying untapped opportunities.
- Offers multi-channel support via live chat, phone, and social media
- Has pre-made templates and custom reports for better efficiency
- Automates daily activities and workflows
- Provides instant access to customer information and sales activities
HubSpot is one of the most popular CRMs that is well known for its capability to automate sales pipelines. From lead generation to lead nurturing, it ensures that no lead falls through the crack.
It sends out follow-up reminders and automatically logs and syncs data from various sources of communication, including email, social media, calls, and others.
The software has a simple and intuitive interface and can be completely customized for each user according to their business requirements.
- Provides complete visibility to sales pipeline
- Has a clean and visual dashboard that contains data sources
- Monitors deals through real-time data
Pipedrive is a transformational CRM software for any small- or- medium-sized organization. It dramatically increases visibility, sales closures, productivity, and activates automation in critical business areas.
It is a highly visual platform and has an easily navigable dashboard that delivers all important data at a glance.
Pipedrive boosts business efficiency by organizing critical sales information, daily activities, and deals – thereby storing essential data in one convenient place.
Besides, it syncs all devices in real-time, keeping all team members connected and accessible on the move.
- Cloud-based application with a host of integrated features
- Monitors sales deals, customer conversations, and marketing operations
- Highly customizable to meet your business needs
Nimble is a revolutionary intelligent relationship platform that automatically syncs multiple types of contact data across diverse channels.
It enhances efficiency by managing tasks, calendar events, and communications in the sales and marketing department.
One of the best CRM software available, Nimble can be leveraged to identify key contacts, enhance conversion ratios, and convert customer relationships into revenue streams for the business.
- Measures customer interaction, email conversations, and social media activity
- Delivers advanced features such as sales automation and business intelligence
- Can be integrated with Google Apps, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari for ease of use
CRM software is a pioneering tool that will rationalize your workflow automation and streamline sales and marketing processes. Make sure that your organization invests in the best CRM software in the market today and ensure a smooth CRM implementation process.
The scope of CRM in an organization is high. If you do it right, you will be fast-tracking your business on to the path of success.
Nikita is a SaaS copywriter and content marketing expert with almost five years of experience. She creates engaging and high-quality content for SaaS businesses by understanding their pain points and requirements. When not writing, she is busy following the industry news to stay updated on all emerging SaaS trends.