The three common pitfalls of CRM deployments

(c)iStock.com/Leslie Achtymichuk

Beware of the fast-talking salesperson with the “simple” solutions. If you’re being told that the solution to your business problems is as easy as 1-2-3, there’s a good chance it’s not. That common principle applies to most tech products, and a Customer Relationship Management tool (CRM) is no exception.

While the cloud has standardised software use by removing what is often the most complicated part of the process — the installation on the server – this doesn’t mean that everything is just ready to go. Definitely not for a CRM.

How much do you know about using a CRM? A lot of people are discouraged because they think a CRM is too difficult to use and deploy. We thought we’d set the record straight. Here are 3 common pitfalls of CRM deployment and how you can avoid them.

Failing to plan your deployment

CRM applications are even more affordable these days, thanks in large part to the SaaS model and the price drop in cloud infrastructure. But that doesn’t mean you should just run out and buy one without having a good plan in place.

Before you start to analyse which CRM you want, you should ask yourself some basic questions:

  • What do we want to improve in our customer’s journey?
  • Who will be using the tool and what are they going to be using it for?
  • Is this strictly for sales or will we extend it to marketing, customer service and/or stock management capabilities?

By developing a clear vision about why you need a CRM, how it will help your sales processes and who will be the active users of the platform, you’ll have all the information in hand to start analyzing the different CRM solutions on the market. Don’t be surprised — or overwhelmed — there are a lots of applications out there. You just have to choose the one that best suits your needs.

Not customising your CRM for your business

As we already mentioned, beware of the easy route. Do you think your business is unique? Does it have its own value proposition, its own mission statement?

If you answered no to these questions, you have a problem. And believe us, you won’t solve it by using a CRM. But just as your business has its own mission and values, it also has its own way of doing things. You know why your company is unique and how your business is different from your next door neighbor’s or even your biggest competitor.

Before your users can even begin to use your CRM instance, you should customize the data entry fields for your accounts, contacts, leads and opportunities to reflect the information you really want to capture.

You should also take a look at your various processes: from taking a lead to an opportunity and then to a paying customer. How do those processes play out? How can you make your CRM adapt to your organization’s sales cycle?

There are several ways to approach this.

First off is the do it yourself method. Going this route implies you’re a technically-savvy individual with some prior knowledge of the CRM tool you’re using and that you can develop around it. If this isn’t the case, you might find yourself investing a lot of time in a project that produces disappointing results.

Another option is to bring in a CRM integrator. These are experts who will be able to bend the actual CRM platform to fit your exact needs. You’ll get the results you envisioned, and your fully customised CRM will fit your business needs. On the downside, the deployment costs could escalate quickly. CRM Integrators usually charge by the hour and it’s often difficult to accurately predict the time needed to customize your CRM.

And finally, there’s what we’ll call semi-automated deployment. What does this mean? In this case, a tool is used to configure your CRM to fit your needs. It requires very little human involvement and the result is a CRM instance that answers all your organisation’s needs.

Here’s a concrete example. At SherWeb, we sell Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. To help our customers get started as soon as possible, we offer the RapidStart CRM deployment package as an add-on. This means that, for a fixed cost, our customers can get a customized environment in a short time. We work with them to make sure everything is deployed to fit their needs and that customer data is imported to the CRM instance. This ensures their team is ready to get to work on day one.

Not training staff to use the platform

Another common pitfall: users rarely get the necessary training. Here, it’s not only about power users. Trainings should be done accordingly to the user’s specific role and how he will use the CRM tool.

There’s no need to show a user features that he won’t have the rights or permission to use. It’ll just create more confusion. On the other hand, if you don’t do a deep-dive training with power users, they’ll be left guessing how CRM works and more importantly, what your company’s CRM processes are.

And this is an important point. As much as technical/practical training is needed to succeed in CRM, the pitfalls we’ve covered in this article cannot be resolved if your organization doesn’t provide your staff information about how you want to handle processes such as creating a lead, closing an opportunity, etc.

These are business processes, and they’re unique to every organisation. Make sure you communicate them clearly. This will improve the adoption rate of your CRM with your staff and ensure a successful CRM deployment.

We understand that deploying a CRM is a big business decision. But it’s one that will help your organization reap amazing benefits… provided it’s done properly.

The post 3 Common Pitfalls of a CRM Deployment appeared first on SherWeb.

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