Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
The market today is driven and defined by themes like Big-data and personalization. And as companies strive to strike a chord with their consumers, the development and adoption of CRM systems continue to rise.
CRM software help businesses communicate effectively with their prospects, creating opportunities for increased engagement. They help with customer retention, combating churn, and driving up customer loyalty. On the other hand, customers get a much cleaner, personalized, and relevant experience from their preferred companies. With the best of both worlds to offer, CRM implementation appears to be a clear win-win for both sides.
However, as intuitive and approachable modern CRM has become, adopting the same has still proven to be a huge challenge for most companies. According to a CIO digital magazine report, around 18% – 69% of CRM implementation projects are bound to fail. In a world where CRM technology has grown by bounds and leaps, simply opting for a CRM solution isn’t enough. Companies need to ensure effective implementation and organization-wide adoption to make the most out of their investments.
According to research from Forester, 49% of failed CRM implementations can be attributed to slow user-adoption. Another 36% comes from the lack of appropriate training and poor change management, and the final 15% results from the internal misalignment between company-culture and new ways of working.
On top of that, an added challenge to CRM implementation is managing its costs. Setting up CRM systems, training employees, trials and testing, etc., can quickly add up, making it all the more important to ensure successful implementation.
Below are five key areas companies need to focus on to ensure successful CRM implementation:
1. Effective Training
As mentioned, lack of training is often among the leading factors for failed CRM adoption. Getting acquainted with newer systems can be challenging for employees at times, especially if they’ve been using older methods for a long time. And companies often try to skip training, given how demanding it can get in terms of time and costs.
With all that stacked against it, effective training is a difficult and tricky goal to accomplish. A great place to start with it would be to state and clarify the benefits and advantages of the new system before a hands-on trial (yes, that is obvious, but the workforce’s bottom tiers are often in the dark concerning most changes). Ensure your employees know what they can get out of the new CRM system and how it can help them. Teach them the best way to use it and how much time it’ll save them. This will intrigue them enough to try and test it out.
When it comes to the real training, you must break down your CRM system’s core features and functionality into understandable and actionable bits. That said, sometimes there are just too many functions new CRM systems come packed with. Some will work for you; others won’t. Allow your team to explore these with ease. But trying to implement everything your CRM offers (especially all at once) will undoubtedly damage your team’s performance and adoption.
And lastly, everyone learns at a different speed. So allow your workforce some window to grasp and master the system at their own pace. Some argue for a separate team altogether, in charge of overseeing training and implementation. Though it really depends on the time, budget, and your company’s need and commitment to the project, it isn’t unreasonable to hire CRM consulting companies to help you out with the implementation.
2. Friendly CRM Design
It goes without saying that the best CRM for your organization is the one that fits your specific needs. Most popular options offer a fair bit of customization that you can utilize to build a system that suits your business perfectly.
Map out your workflow and identify the key areas where CRM can save you time, money, or effort. Apply your new system to these areas in an intuitive and user-friendly manner to help employees understand these solutions and learn them better.
While most modern CRMs are friendly to the end-user and accessible across multiple devices, using them can result in multiple emotions, from painfully confusing to enjoyable to rewarding experiences, depending upon how they are implemented.
Ensure your employees only have to deal with the relevant bits of the software and that too in a manageable way. Remember, the goal is to make everything easier, not the other way around.
3. Seamless Integration
If you are implementing a CRM solution for the first time or switching out an old one, you’ll already have tons and tons of customer data to be imported into the new system. This data imbalance is perhaps the biggest hindrance to crm adoption within corporations. If people still need to use the older systems to access important data, they aren’t very likely to invest the time and effort into learning the new ones.
Having employees transfer the data across different platforms themselves turns out to be a huge grind. Nothing good ever comes out of it; if anything, it drains people and needlessly adds to their workload.
To avoid this, ensuring a seamless transition between prior and new systems is a must. Users should be able to access all relevant information and data within the new system with ease along with its functionalities.
4. Provide Consistent Support
Setting up reliable support for your CRM implementation initiative can be the biggest catalyst for your adoption process. However, user-support shouldn’t be limited until the training and launching phase.
Even after your employees have got the hang of it, occasional issues and doubts will surely surface. For times like these, it helps to have a support team at hand to help clear out queries and encourage CRM use.
Minor system problems can often cause large-scale confusion and chaos when people fail to find precise answers. Try your best to ensure maximum accuracy in problem-solving and leverage every medium (guides, tutorials, and training) to help your users master the program.
5. Friendly Encouragement
And Finally, help out and encourage your staff to embrace the change. Some might initially be reluctant, fearing the change may threaten their jobs. Others might be excited, hoping to get some labor off their shoulders. Reward the ones that quickly adopt the shift and support those who need some time.
Encouragement starts with the leadership. If those at the top are the first to adopt the change, the rest will soon follow. Create a free and open environment, build the process like a challenge rather than a chore. Relocate responsibility if needed. Learning something new takes time, and juggling previous responsibilities along with it can be tough.
Allow some room for occasionally missed deadlines and lower productivity for a while. As your team gets proficient with the new systems, they’ll surely make up for the lost time with greater efficiency and effectiveness.
Given how demanding and difficult CRM implementation is, you’ll certainly be forgiven for asking if it is even worth it. But let me assure you, it is. No matters your business model, no matter your industry, CRM software can help you grow your business.
Much like all necessary changes, setting up a CRM solution in your organization can be tough. It is among those things that are hard to pull off but pay well when done right. A functional CRM software will boost your organization’s efficiency, make life a whole lot easier for your workforce, and most of all, help you build a strong relationship with your customers.
It’s a challenging task but certainly worth the effort and investment, and with the tips mentioned above, you can surely get it right.