INTRODUCTION OF A CRM SYSTEM
The ultimate guide to implementing a CRM system!
Is the introduction of a CRM system your next goal? Once you have realized that your company needs a CRM system, there are a few things to consider when introducing it.
First, you should be aware of what you want to achieve by implementing a CRM system, what prerequisites you need to create for it, and what system you want it to be. Once all this has been clarified, create an appropriate schedule for the phases of the CRM Introduction project. In the following you will find a lot of help with these stages.
The goal of a CRM introduction
In conjunction with your individual CRM strategy, a CRM system aims at the systematic optimization of your customer loyalty and new customer acquisition.
The specific objective that this explicitly means for your company depends on you. There are various core fields, but all of them are initially based on the targeted collection, management and use of data. These are then used in turn to optimize customer support and satisfaction.
This is done, for example, in the form of software-based process optimization or data evaluation with the findings of which customer-oriented decisions are made in relation to workflow, service, product, etc. After all, the CRM system will not only benefit satisfied customers, but also your relieved employees.
For more details, read our blog article 4 Benefits of CRM.
Prerequisites for successful CRM introduction
Before planning the concrete steps for the introduction of a CRM system, it proves advantageous to ensure certain prerequisites. These can be classified on different levels.
At the strategic level, if you do not already have, you should incorporate a specific CRM strategy into your corporate strategy. This means wondering what goals are being set in terms of dealing with customers and developing them. These can be, for example, sales targets or planned expansions of certain customer segments. It is a good place to define specific quantities for measuring success here.
If necessary, a new orientation of the strategy may then also be accompanied by more fundamental adjustments.
A very basic requirement for CRM introduction is also the evaluation and possible adaptation of your company organization. This includes evaluating existing business processes and determining which processes may require alignment or optimization. You should define workflows and all contact points along the Customer Journey to optimally fit the CRM system into your business model.
Part of the structural prerequisites for implementation is also the definition of a CRM manager as project manager and a CRM team of key users of the various departments, such as sales, service, marketing. This serves to ensure a structured project process as well as to integrate possibly different requirements of different business areas.
The latter point is also directly linked to the necessary on-boarding of the employees. If possible, involve all employees through the CRM team’s path to the development of CRM system requirements. In this way, later friction points can be anticipated in a first step.
Also, demonstrate the benefits that a CRM system can bring, and make it clear that these benefits depend to a particular extent on whether everyone works comprehensively with CRM software later on. See also the Youtbe video for the function overview. The ability and motivation of employees is a fundamental prerequisite for a successful CRM introduction.
Strive for a clear alignment of your corporate culture towards the customer and his needs. If customer orientation is firmly anchored in the company, it is easier for all parties involved to think and react in the appropriate way. In addition, a clear line also supports the motivation of the employees.
A CRM sponsor, for example, is also decisive. This person is optimally part of the management, convinces of the CRM project and actively drives the implementation of the CRM strategy and system. This makes it a prerequisite for the company-wide acceptance of CRM system implementation.
Choosing the right CRM system
If the above requirements are met, make the choice of a suitable CRM system. When researching and sorting the various CRM software providers, you can orientate yourself on a few criteria, about which we will give you a brief overview.
First selection: Create a long list
- Your size or scalability of the software
- Your number of users
- Your IT infrastructure
- System requirements of the software
- The provider’s industry knowledge
- Your developed “must-haves” of features
Also, discover nine questions you should ask yourself about CRM comparison in our blog article. With our CRM checklist for the requirements overview, you can quickly and easily compare your selection of providers.
Limitation: Create a short list
In the meantime, you have created a specification in the CRM team that contains your requirements for the CRM system. You now send this to the software providers of the long list for request. You will then receive an offer and the completed specifications back.
By comparing the providers in detail, you limit your selection to a short list of about four CRM systems.
Limitation: Create a short list
You now invite the vendors on your short to personal presentation dates, during which the CRM software is presented in detail. In addition to the concretely presented functions and the experience of the user interface, the chemistry between you and the software provider counts here.
When choosing a CRM system, you should pay attention to a good relationship of trust with the software manufacturer. It is only from the moment of selection that the exciting part of the CRM introduction begins.
A successful project plan:
The most important phases and milestones of a CRM introduction
From the start of the CRM project to the Go-Live of the new CRM system, as you will have noticed, there are a few steps to be taken. Following the most important phases and milestones, we have regrouped the most important phases and milestones in a model way for you, so that you can easily get an idea of a successful project plan.
Project Plan CRM Implementation – a Phase Model
The starting signal
The management level decides to introduce CRM.
As a rule, there is a CRM sponsor who is particularly active in advancing, representing and disseminating the project.
Phase 1: CRM strategy
The management level develops a CRM strategy that is implemented in the corporate strategy. This includes objectives and values related to the company’s customer relationships.
Milestone 1: CRM Strategy Paper
Phase 2: Organization
A CRM manager is used to advance the strategic and technical integration of CRM in the company. This can come from an internal position or can be set from external.
Milestone 2: CRM Manager
Phase 3: Find key users
The CRM Manager needs support from the various departments of the company for the following phases of the CRM rollout project plan. There he is looking for various key users who work out the requirements for the software together with him as a CRM team.
Milestone 3: CRM team
Phase 4: Actual and target analysis of the departments
In order to define the requirements for a CRM system, the existing processes and circumstances of the different departments must be collected as a first step. The CRM team supports the CRM manager. A specification is created from the gathering of the prerequisites and requirements for the CRM system.
Milestone 4: Specifications
Phase 5: Selection process
Using the specifications, suitable CRM systems are now determined in several steps from a long list via a short list. Live presentations and CRM advice from vendors will help to filter out of the shortlist the one software that fits best.
Milestone 5: CRM system selected
Phase 6: CRM Workshop
Once a suitable CRM system has been found, a workshop with the provider discusses the requirements in detail and determines the further project plan. A timetable for the introduction and concrete presentation of individual adaptations and integrations is written down.
Milestone 6: Specification
Phase 7: Customizing
The CRM software provider is now beginning to conceptualize and implement the individual customizations. Rolling pilot tests are carried out by the key users of the CRM team, who already receive training for the new system for this purpose.
Mini Milestone Testing: If a pilot finally passes the test by meeting all requirements, this phase is considered complete.
Milestone 7: Preliminary acceptance
Phase 8: Employee Training & Roll-out
From now on, employees will receive training to work comprehensively with the new CRM system. The employees are well trained to work with the new software. At the same time, the software is already being rolled out.
Milestone 8: Employee motivation, end of Go-Live preparation
Phase 9: Go-Live
Now that everything is ready for this, the CRM system goes live and the introduction is complete.
Milestone 9: Target summit reached, final acceptance of CRM system
Phase 10: Continuous maintenance of the CRM system
It is recommended that regular CRM audits be held after the Go-Live, in which any difficulties or new ideas are discussed and included. It can also be very convenient to have a CRM expert from the provider directly with you in order to immediately evaluate feasibilitys and bring in experience.
Milestone 10: Living CRM
CRM introduction becomes a CRM project
In fact, phases 7 to 9 are usually done in a more small-step process than our model above. According to the motto, it is more evolutionary than revolutionary, for example, it is a good thing to introduce the CRM system for department by department. In this case, of course, your concrete project plan would be much more complex. In addition, it should be part of any CRM project plan not to complete the project with the final acceptance of the CRM system.
A CRM lives and wants to be maintained sustainably. Learn more details about the phases of introducing a CRM system in our blog article.
Easier with motivation
The successful CRM introduction depends on clearly structured goals and targeted project planning on the other hand, but much more on the motivation and participation of your employees. Because the best CRM system is for the cat when it is not used.