Out-of-the box features of a CRM applications are developed for a typical organization. Tailoring CRM helps in adjusting the solution for your specific business needs. Across our consulting experience we feel that maximum business benefit come from customization of CRM and making it work for your organization.
Designing a customer relationship management can be a daunting task specially if you aren’t aware of nitty gritties of what such a solution can do for your business. Engaging a CRM analyst / expert can help maximize returns at an optimized solution. Following a rigorous process to explain your business and getting a proper sign off can go a long way in incorporating flexibility and hence increasing the life of your application. Here are some key things you can keep in mind to ensure successful implementation.
3 Things your CRM Consultant needs to do for maximum returns
There are multiple things you can do to ensure successful project implementation. We are listing the three most important aspects. Majority can look obvious but are the most often overlooked aspects. Our experience shows that sticking to these steps can increase your success chances by as much as 65%!
1. Define measurable implementation objectives
Without setting objectives, one cannot achieve success. Define what you would want to achieve with the implementation. Your CRM consultant would need to do it in close collaboration with yourself. This is so because whereas you know your business process the best, the consultant can help match them with the solution. Thus this needs involvement of both.
Tips – Increased Sales, Increase in Lead Volumes, Shortening of Sales Cycle, Quicker resolution of customers issues.
2. Identify gaps in CRM versus your business processes
This needs to be done by the consultant. The outcome of this phase is the gap list. Ensure that all the gaps are numbered. Bridging the gap means developing solutions around the same and hence this phase constitutes to the effort. It is therefore mandatory for you to understand how does your consultant aims to do development around each gap.
Tips – Plan for your future requirements and not only current ones, Avoid Hard Coding, Focus on Configurable Settings, Strictly avoid source code (non upgrade safe).
3. Focus on Integration Automation and Workflows
In all the CRM projects, this is one of the most important aspect. It leads to ongoing manual effort saving and also improves accuracy and increases organizational efficiency. Integrating CRM with other applications can also help in minimizing redundancies and errors.
Tips – An example of workflow is that if a lead worth more than $25,000 is created in any sales territory, then the regional manager must be made aware of the same by an email alert.
How to increase longevity of a CRM software solution
A successful implementation doesn’t guarantee that you would be able to use the solution in a trouble free manner over the years. Taking the following points into considerations, you can save on ongoing maintenance cost and increase the life of your application.
1. Flexibility in design
Businesses change with time and so does their requirement. Designing a CRM application as per immediate needs and yet factoring in the possible future changes can help you in a big way. Have business rules set up as configurable options in the application instead of hard coding them. Questions to ask is what can potentially change with time, does this hold for all divisions, is it the way it is going to be done across geography.
2. Upgrade safe development
Doing developments in an upgrade safe manner, means that you will not have an issue when a new version of the software is released. If you need to still make any such change then you need to elaborate and document it in a central place. This document must be always handy whenever the team is upgrading the solution.
3. Enter into a maintenance contract with provider
CRM is a business critical application for most businesses. You need to sign a proper annual maintenance contract with the solution provider so that system is always up and available for end users. You can define a suitable service level agreement (SLA). There are various commercial models available for AMC. You may want to opt for an option which allows for minor enhancements apart from issue resolutions.
The key take away from the topic is that there is no way your CRM expert can make things happen without your proper planning and involvement of business team. A clear definition of what is being achieved is needed and proper documentation help in the execution. Moreover taking into consideration that your business may change tomorrow, you must provision for them during the implementation. Insisting on upgrade safe coding practice will help in ensuring that you get benefited for years to come. Planning to take the above points into consideration can greatly impact your success. We wish you all the best in achieving success in your initiative.