CRM, an essential software for your business I 12 steps for a successful CRM implementation

Approximately 90% of companies with over 10 employees use a CRM software. Thinking that your business can perform and evolve without an efficient CRM system, is no longer a viable approach. In fact, it’s counterproductive and can significantly affect the overall health of your business. In this context, Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 suite comes to your company’s rescue.

CRM can be a magical solution for customer relationship management, but only if implemented properly. Statistics show that 75% of CRM implementation projects initially fail, so in order to avoid this possibility, you must ensure that your investment reflects your top priorities. Also, it’s essential that your implementation partner understands the struggles your business is facing and follows a suitable roadmap.

Why your company needs a CRM system?

Let’s say, you’re a medium-sized business and your team members talk daily to current and potential customers. This setting translates in a vast quantity of data, collected every single day. And here’s the point: how is this information collected? Where is it going? Where is it stored? On post-it notes or Excel sheets?

If all these questions lead you to confusion – you need to implement a CRM solution for your business.

Companies generate data constantly, and extracting valuable and actionable output from it feeds business growth. Track, analyze and share – that’s how CRM can help you manage the overwhelming amount of information. Customer relationship management (CRM) is what allows your company to connect with its customers, by harmonizing and centralizing all communications. It manages customer outreach efforts across multiple touchpoints and enables different teams to collaborate while engaging with customers.

Implementing a suitable CRM solution can increase sales productivity by 34%. In other words, CRM transforms your leads into real and potential customers. The solution can be on premise or cloud based, but the cloud-based option allows you to access real-time data, assures automatic updates, and provides security protection.

5 ways CRM improves your business

1. Better products, services, and customer experiences: with CRM, you collect and track customer data, including every customer’s purchase history, interaction history and key details about them. Afterwards, you can use this information to improve your services and products, but also bring more value with every current and future interaction.

2. Improved collaboration: employees are connected to a centralized platform where each team member has access to previous customer conversations. Also, team members can share best practices and ideas about cross-selling and up-selling.

3. High productivity: when repetitive, administrative, and manual tasks are automated, employees can accomplish more in less time by serving more customers and engaging in quality interactions.

4. Better insights and more accurate forecasts: CRM contextualizes data and delivers metrics which are easy to understand. It provides granular insights into Sales and Marketing performance, leading to more informed decision-making processes.

5. Increased sales from existing customers: the chances of successfully selling to an existing customer up to 70%, compared to 5-20% for new customers, and CRM brings more cross-selling and up-selling opportunities by enabling a better understanding of the current customers.

Before implementing CRM, ask yourself…

… what do you really expect from this CRM solution?

To clear your mind, there is a set of questions that you should ask yourself in order to establish the starting point and the foundation for your implementation strategy.

    • • Which objectives am I hoping the CRM solution will help me and my team achieve?
    • • Do I have enough resources, including both financial and human resources?
    • • Which business processes need more attention and support?
    • • Is an on-premises, cloud-based, or hybrid solution best for my business?
    • • How do I currently gain insights about customers and how are my teams managing it?
    • • Will we need to make any internal organizational changes?

But the main question is: how can I ensure that my CRM implementation project will be a winning one?

We can answer this one. You more likely need a substantial dose of strategic planning and qualified support from a trustworthy partner. In this way, everything flows smoothly, and the benefits will show up sooner than expected.

Start with a well-designed CRM roadmap

While investing in software subscription is easy, completing a successful CRM implementation demands careful consideration.

The implementation roadmap is the plan that outlines how your CRM solution will be implemented. Everything starts with a deep understanding of what’s important for your company, what are the main challenges and how do you want the business processes to change. It also takes into consideration the uniqueness of your organization and the expectations you have regarding experienced benefits and implementation deadlines.

 

CRM implementation roadmap
CRM implementation roadmap

To ensure that your business extracts maximum value from its investment in CRM, establishing a roadmap should be on top of your priority list, as it represents the backbone of all project coordination and communication. Let’s delve into the generic roadmap of CRM implementation, which consists of the following 12 steps:

1. Prepare an initial evaluation

Your company’s vision, mission, needs and organizational structure are pointing to which is the right CRM solution for your business, so you should carefully analyze them. Gathering and taking into account all the relevant details can be overwhelming, which is why collaborating with an experienced CRM implementation partner like LINKSOFT facilitates the preliminary assessment and accelerates time-to-value.

A comprehensive business analysis helps you identify the outcome you need to realize and set clear goals. Harmonizing these goals with the desired features within your future CRM system is what creates the perfect implementation strategy.

2. Find the right CRM solution

After evaluating your business requirements and unique needs, you get a holistic perspective which includes all departments, and you’re ready to choose the appropriate CRM platform. Ensure that your company’s structure and resources match the features of your future software.

There are thousands of CRM solutions out there, and selecting a good one is what sets you for success. Right from the beginning, LINKSOFT aimed to build a Microsoft Dynamics Centre of Excellence that reunites the best specialists and the most efficient platforms in order to implement high performing and easy to use CRM solutions. Contact us and let’s craft together the perfect strategy for your business.

3. Identify your target customers

CRM is the abbreviation for Customer Relationship Management, and as we can see – the customer comes first. Your target customers’ needs are the core of your CRM strategy, and it’s important to understand which are the potentially high-value customers, the ones you should focus on more.

Setting up different databases for different categories of customers allows you to create customized content, personalize your communication and build meaningful relationships with them.

4. Data collection and analysis

Information is power, so you have to harness all the data you gain from your customers and transform it into valuable insights. With CRM you can forget about surveys or forms because the software will gather and process it automatically. Even so, you should decide which are the appropriate parameters and areas where you want to put your tool to work.

It will track customers’ interactions with your company and analyze this data in order to spot trends and patterns. In this way, you will be able to improve your marketing efforts for both new and existing customers.

5. Create a cross-functional team

Establishing a team which consists of members from various departments, such as sales, marketing, customer success, and service, becomes an imperative. This collaborative approach facilitates cooperation among different teams when engaging with customers.

In this context, CRM becomes a company’s 360-degree view, displaying all customer connections and the interactions various departments have with them.

6. Data migration planning

Data migration is a very meticulous process which is why you have to plan it properly. You don’t have to only move communications to a new platform, but also integrate the systems that need to connect to your CRM.

Harness the opportunity to filter the information you store, assess it for quality, consistency and create a strategy for a smooth migration process. From now on, CRM will be your one and only source of truth where all data points reside.

7. Configure your new platform

During this step, all the focus goes on productivity enhancement and automation. The configuration process is about designing workflows for maximum efficiency, configurating system modules and customizing all the relevant features. You also need to prioritize the essential features and declutter the unused ones.

As we mentioned before, CRM will become the meeting point for all your data, collected from all your other software. CRM will manage the information, remove the bottlenecks and eliminate redundancy. During this integration phase, you will assess potential risks that need to be addressed and ensure that data coming from multiple sources is secure.

8. Involve the leadership team

Implementing a CRM system takes your company to another level. Moreover, it takes you on a challenging journey and you might need to involve your senior leadership team during this phase. Consider bringing the topic of the newly implemented solution in the meetings with your C-suite and, also, ask them to use and showcase the tool itself as part of these sessions.

9. Simplicity first

Many CRM tools come with a set of attractive ‘’bells and whistles”, but at the beginning of your CRM journey try to keep it simple and don’t overuse the available functionalities. For your initial implementation, try not to configure your tools with dozens of required fields and abstain from creating all kind of customizations which are not essential.

10. Start gradual rollout and monitoring

Your initial CRM rollout is an exciting yet sometimes nerve-racking period. Implementing a gradual, phased rollout enables you to consistently monitor the transition process. This approach allows you to identify areas that may require additional training and address any operational challenges that may arise.

It also provides your workforce with the opportunity to offer valuable feedback, which can be utilized to make necessary adjustments or further customizations.

11. Training, training, training

Be very thoughtful about organizing user training sessions, whether in person, virtual or a combination of both, because accommodating your team is what makes the CRM solution viable and effective.

If your users aren’t well trained you risk getting inaccurate data into the system, or simply discourage them from using it just because they cannot do it correctly. Also, consider the different learning styles that might prevail and provide training materials.

12. Testing and quality assurance

Throughout the implementation phase, you will conduct testing of your new system and its integration with other platforms. This involves ensuring the quality and consistency of systems to guarantee accurate and properly stored data. It’s crucial to verify that customer data is precise, comprehensive, up-to-date, and devoid of bugs and errors.

Once you’ve deployed your solution and trained your end users, it’s not time to sit back and tick off the implementation task as “done.” Every business’s strategy will change over time, as will market dynamics, customer profiles, and end users. Establish a post-implementation review process for continuous improvement.

Why use Dynamics 365 for your CRM solution?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 suite is the perfect solution for companies who decide to join the digitalization journey and level up their business processes. It helps businesses to manage their customer database, engage with customers, generate new leads, and resolve customer service issues. Even if at the beginning it requires substantial time and resource investments, after implementation it will help you reach more customers while saving time and money.

Dynamics 365 CRM capabilities
Dynamics 365 CRM functionalities

If you’re already using Outlook, Power BI and Office, integrating Dynamics 365 will be seamless. Moreover, it’s user-friendly and centralizes all business operations into one single platform, making it even more attractive for many customers.

With an impressive set of cutting-edge features, in-depth analytical and reporting capabilities, Dynamics 365 helps sustains your organization’s growth by facilitating all business processes and supporting the activity of each department from within your company. Microsoft Dynamics 365 consists of 6 major modules:

LINKSOFT helps you experience all that Dynamics 365 has to offer your organization. Contact us now and let’s craft together the best CRM roadmap for your business.

About LINKSOFT

Right from the beginning, we set out to build a Microsoft Dynamics Centre of Excellence that reunites the best specialist and the most efficient platforms in order to implement high performing and easy-to-use CRM solutions. We impose the most demanding standards of excellence on our processes, in order to ensure we are able to fulfill our mission and respect our values.