The CRM Implementation Plan Your Business Actually Needs to Get ROI

The CRM Implementation Plan Your Business Actually Needs to Get ROI

Roger Van Nuis No Comment

The goal of customer relationship management (CRM) is to efficiently and effectively grow your business while improving the customer experience. When implemented properly, CRM can give companies a competitive edge. 

A few years ago, Harvard Business Review published an article saying that around 90% of executives reported that CRM did not help their business grow. The incredible thing is that despite technological advancements, that percentage has not significantly improved.  

In fact, about 80% of the business leaders I’ve spoken with in recent years said they were dissatisfied with the performance of their current CRM and disappointed with their ROI.  

Don’t let those numbers alarm you.  

I’ve seen firsthand that a CRM can be a profit-generator for a business rather than an expense.  

However, the key to success is in your processes before and after you implement CRM.  

Unfortunately, sales and business leaders often struggle to understand and communicate their needs to the technical folks building their CRM system.  

Typically, when a company is considering CRM, they get swept away with the bells and whistles of a solution and build a wish list of standard features and functionality. How can you increase the odds that your CRM solution will match your business needs if you don’t consider what you want to improve first? 

Let’s break that habit and start your CRM journey on the right foot. 

Tip #1: Start with a CRM Audit 

The lack of executive support and buy-in is among the top five reasons CRMs fail. The truth is that all employees affected by the implementation should be considered throughout the process. Poll your team and stakeholders to determine current capabilities, gaps and efficiencies, and areas of opportunity.  

Instead of focusing on features, start with an audit examining existing inefficiencies in your sales process.   

Ask these critical questions:  

  • What are the most inefficient processes in our business, and what do we want to address with a CRM system? 
  • What are the operational procedures we are currently missing and need to implement?  
  • Who is going to use CRM in our company?  
  • What other software would we like to connect to a CRM system?  
  • Will the CRM be able to grow with our business?  
  • Who will oversee the CRM project?  
  • How will I effectively train and support my team in using CRM? 

You likely will receive a wealth of insights from this exercise. But now what?  

At this stage, you may feel overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information. However, in five strategic steps, you can organize this information to reveal your company’s true needs.  

  1. Sales Process Review: Take an honest view of your sales process from every angle, including outside sales, inside sales, service, marketing and more. 
  1. Sales Process Gap Analysis: Perform a gap analysis that takes your sales process review results and identifies the top three gaps by department and sales cycle stage. 
  1. CRM Roadmap Matrix: Determine focus, value proposition, potential hurdles, action items and required changes to new or existing CRM. 
  1. CRM Phased Roadmap: Here’s where you map a plan based on the results of that matrix. The Phased Roadmap should be built from a “start slow and grow” philosophy that prevents overwhelm and budget creep. 
  1. CRM ROI Calculator: Want to communicate CRM’s value to your CEO or CFO? Gather your data and plug it into an ROI calculator that will generate a detailed report proving CRM to be a revenue generator, not an expense. 

Tip #2: Designate a CEO for CRM 

Do you have a point person responsible for the design, execution and onboarding of your CRM implementation? 

If not, your project may be doomed from the start.  

We call this champion the CEO for CRM. This person is responsible for the overall success of your CRM project and adoption rates. You can have an internal CEO for CRM or bring in one from the outside as a partner.  

When choosing your CEO for CRM, look for these core requirements for the highest level of success: 

  • Has experience using a successful CRM system   
  • Believes in the value of a properly implemented CRM  
  • Is a good listener and team motivator  
  • Is a respected sales leader with the power to make changes  
  • Understands how sales, product specialists, marketing, service departments and management coexist  
  • Is a good delegator and knows how to work as a team  
  • Has good management, presentation and organization skills  
  • Has the capacity to spend the time needed for success  
  • Is IT savvy (but does not need to be an IT expert)  
  • Must understand how CRM works with other information systems 

Tip #3: Build an Internal Team of CRM Super Users 

A successful CRM depends on its users.  

To create a supportive environment for CRM implementation, carefully assemble your team of super users. Super users are your CRM evangelists — users from different roles and skill sets within the company who will actively use the CRM system day to day.   

Super users may include sales managers, inside and outside salespeople, customer support representatives, data analysts and marketing managers. They play a critical role in relaying feedback and real-world guidance on how CRM can help them perform their jobs more effectively. 

An often-overlooked benefit of deploying a cast of super users is the speed and efficiency with which CRM issues are spotted. If your solution isn’t helping to make their jobs more productive and streamlined, you can make changes and adaptations faster.  

Learn more about who can drive your CRM project.  

Tip #4: Select the Right CRM Partner for Your Business 

Choosing the wrong software provider or integrator can lead to issues down the road.  Most service providers (VARs and integrators) are closely affiliated with a major CRM company. The problem is that not all CRM systems have the same functionality.  

We recommend choosing a partner that understands your unique business and how your sales models work. For that reason, selecting a platform-agnostic provider can ensure your solution is the right form, fit and function for your business.  

Here are five essential considerations when choosing a CRM consultant who is platform-agnostic. Look for a partner who offers:  

  • Best-in-class solutions 
  • Unbiased, client-centric approach 
  • Expertise in your industry 
  • Latest technology 
  • Collaboration and consultation 

Tip #5: Devote Time for Employee Onboarding for CRM 

Onboarding programs equip salespeople with the skills to effectively communicate technical information and the overall value proposition to clients in an understandable and persuasive way.  

Did you know that it can take three months on average to learn the basics of CRM?  

Even experienced sales professionals can take up to six months to proficiently use CRM in their sales calls. If you are looking for faster adoption and better ROI, your business and CRM project demand a robust onboarding experience that emphasizes continuous learning.  

Ongoing onboarding programs can help you keep up with:  

  • Evolving technology 
  • Changing customer needs 
  • Industry knowledge, application and knowledge 
  • Account histories  
  • Value of products and services  

Not only can you improve the effectiveness of your business practices, but effective onboarding can increase employee retention — an important factor in today’s tight labor market.  

Spend the time upfront to develop a comprehensive onboarding and continuous learning program, especially one that incorporates CRM into the sales process. A CRM implementation expert can guide this process. They have experience in various CRM technologies, the industrial sales process and how to get your team excited about how CRM can help them do their jobs more efficiently.  

True platform-agnostic consultants (like the team at SalesProcess360) can help you bridge the gap and connect the dots in your CRM implementation. This means you get the solution you need, and your project exceeds expectations, the first time. Reach out today to learn how we can support you in CRM success. 

SalesProcess360 Videos featuring Brian Gardner

Get insights based on decades of experience in industrial markets, including why you should think beyond outside sales, how to take a proactive approach to sales opportunities and how to let sales process drive your CRM wish list.