A CRM system is a significant investment for any business and will require an organised, logical approach during its implementation and initial deployment. However, no matter how meticulous your planning has been there may well be snags and bugs that will need attending to, all accompanied by persuading members of your team to learn to navigate and use the new system.

Hopefully after reading this piece you will have gained some insight and have practical solutions at your disposal to ease your company into its new CRM system. 

The first thing to remember is that even though your CRM package is being supplied by one company it is not really a single product but rather multiple technologies and people working together to ensure that your customer experiences are consistent and profitable. So this leads me on to my first suggestion:

Ensure your team understands what the CRM system is and what it can do

This may sound obvious, but it’s vital your whole team know that this solution will be a solution for everybody, not only for the management to track success and failure. When discussing the CRM system don’t overcomplicate things, simply outline the anticipated benefits in terms of customer gain, customer retention and satisfaction. Mention cost savings (this will always go down well) as well as the streamlining effect it will have on previously cumbersome internal systems. Once everyone knows what the new system can do, they are far more likely to embrace it; talking of which, my second tip would be:

Have an effective CRM management structure in place

A CRM solution can be adapted to suit businesses of all sizes but it’s likely that in most companies several people will be responsible for its management. These people need to have been trained properly before deployment and be clear as to their roles once the solution is online. Invest time in both “power users” and those who’ll use the solution in a more casual capacity. Familiarity breeds confidence and this can only be a good thing. However, you can side-step potential frustration amongst all users by following my next suggestion: 

Ensure that the CRM solution integrates seamlessly with existing software

It’s natural to become possessive over systems that you’ve grown accustomed to using and nobody likes to learn new software seemingly for the sake of it. However, modern CRM solutions can be easily integrated with a company’s existing suite of software, with dozens of products supported.  This will take training of course but it won’t be long before all users are using the solution alongside their usual raft of software packages and forget altogether that it is a new arrival on their desktop.  When things go well then it’s a really good idea be adopting the strategy of my next tip:

Share successes early and regularly 

Maybe your sales team has started using the new CRM solution earlier than other parts of the business. If so, make sure that you share good news about ease of use, time savings and increased sales with the whole company. This will help to spread a positive feeling about the solution and make everyone more willing to go the extra mile when the time comes for its integration in their department. 

Once the basics have been mastered then it will be time to explore some of the deeper capabilities of your new system. Hence my final two suggestions: 

Go social 

Take time to explore the social functions of your CRM solution. You can link to your company’s Twitter and Facebook accounts; monitor activity, post content, respond to posts and interact directly with customers. All of this activity is then logged on the central CRM system, giving you a deeper understanding of your customers that in turn will have a positive effect on sales. After all, you sell best when you know clearly to whom you are selling. And finally, can I suggest that you:

Consider optional extras to make your business run even more smoothly

Perhaps you want to utilise a cloud-storage system, close deals more quickly with e-signatures, record sales phone calls and log them alongside relevant customer details? All of these opportunities, and hundreds more, are possible with additional tools that plug in to and work with your CRM solution. For relatively small costs, these plug-ins will make your business even more streamlined, responsive and expertly-placed to continue its success. 

Of course every business works differently and some of what I’ve suggested may not be applicable in every case but as a general point, those businesses that have the most success with CRM solutions are those that invest the most time and energy into ensuring that their implementation is as pain-free as possible. Get it right and the rewards will be significant not just for your business but also for the most important party of all: your customer.