Why you need a CRM implementation plan

Having the latest all singing all dancing CRM tool to manage your customer data and sales pipleline might sound like a winning idea…. but without a CRM implementation plan you might struggle to unlock the full value. Before you make your CRM investment, make sure you have mapped out exactly what you need and made a plan for the implementation.

Whether you are moving from one CRM system to another, or investing in your first system, you can be sure it’ll be a huge project which requires planning and managing. A CRM implementation plan can take care of unlocking the full functionality, proofing the data migration, managing the change and training your people.

Migration & configuration of data

This may sound dull, but it is worth considering how you want your data to be formatted and configured in the new CRM. You will not have this opportunity that often. Are you making use of all the features on the new CRM or are you replicating your old system? 

Communication to different stakeholders

No one likes change. Especially when you are used to doing something the same way for many years. There is an added fear of transparency and loss of autonomy with all data being shared and readily available.  It’s important to ensure your communication to the business is articulating the key benefits of the change, i.e. why are we doing it, how are we doing it, when are we doing it? Consider that you may need a different approach to communicate with each stakeholder in the business.

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Aligning Performance Management 

It is important that you reward people for adopting new behaviours. Often individuals will have sales targets that are linked to a bonus – so why would they collaborate and share data with their colleagues if that could have a negative impact on their take home? Make sure your performance management recognises team over individual, and quality over quantity. 

Training Approach

Different training methods are effective for different individuals. It’s important to think about your end-user. What will they be using the CRM tool for? What do they really care about? Then take this information and ensure the correct training is on offer for them. Depending on the number of users, can you hold drop-in sessions? Can you appoint colleagues to run training sessions in their own teams? Not having the right training available can massively impact the adoption rate when you Go-Live and why does this matter? First impressions. If your colleagues get a bad first impression of the tool, find it too complicated, and get frustrated, it is going to be a lot harder to change them into a positive mindset. 

Appointing Champions

Identifying and recruiting champions within the business can be a fantastic opportunity to build encouragement and adoption of the new platform across the organisation. Keep in mind who and why a champion should be a champion. Rather than having volunteers, think carefully about who can really encourage colleagues to use the new CRM platform (Team Leaders, Management, Leadership). 

Top Tip: Offer the champions an incentive: a VIP pass to the new CRM platform, free food, include them in the review sessions, send out pulse surveys to understand what they think and where you can improve!  

Post-Go-Live Support

After spending months planning, configuring, and delivering your CRM implementation, you want the best chance of success, so what does success look like? That depends on your project, but in most cases, success is having a smooth transition from one CRM to another. Everything needs to be working as it should and colleagues must understand and, more importantly, USE the new platform.

To ensure the best chance of user adoption, consider having post-go-live support material in your implementation plan. This could be three allocated slots on the week of Go-Live for anyone to jump in and ask questions. A Q&A document. A specific Teams channel or a WhatsApp group to receive instant support if you are struggling. 

Realising benefits

Once delivered, your CRM implementation doesn’t stop there. The journey has only started. You can really collaborate and deliver against the benefits you set out and make sure CRM is part of BAU and not a project. You will need to continually look to evolve, optimise and develop it. 

To get more from your CRM implementation, let’s have a chat.

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