Do you feel like your business is capable of greater efficiency but needs help figuring out how to get there?
If you don’t have a customer relationship management (CRM) solution, every member of your team struggles to be as efficient as possible.
Hi, I’m AJ! And after building and growing multiple companies, I’ve learned to appreciate high-functioning CRM software.
I’ve compiled this guide to help your business grow and show how simple streamlining daily operations can be (with the proper tools).
Need help to determine why your company needs a CRM implementation process? Keep reading to learn more!
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What is a CRM Implementation Process?
Implementing a CRM is more than finding and purchasing a new system, plugging in existing company data, and immediately noticing business growth.
A CRM implementation process is a set of actions designed to help businesses of all sizes better manage customer data, streamline processes, and maximize profits.
To put it simply. A CRM Implementation process is the act of deploying a CRM at your organization in the most effective way possible.
By streamlining all aspects of customer relationships, your business can focus on its core competencies while experiencing less wasted energy from manual tasks.
Proper CRM implementations streamline each customer journey while ensuring everyone in your company can access the same information.
Why is CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Implementation Important?
CRM implementation is important for several reasons, including the following:
- Prevents your company from investing in the wrong software
- Ensures employees have ample time to get used to a change
- Ensures company data is cleaned and organized before entering it into new software
- Helps people in different departments stay on the same page
- Gives people goals and specific timelines to work toward
When companies don’t take the time to plan and budget for CRM implementation, it leads to wasted time and money in the long run.
Benefits of Successful CRM Implementation for SMBs
Now, I will explain the numerous benefits of an efficient CRM implementation process (especially if your business is on a budget).
Choosing CRM software should be taken seriously, as it is a long-term solution.
Save time Choosing a New CRM Vendor
One significant benefit that comes with a proper CRM implementation plan is choosing the right software the first time around.
CRM implementation plans ensure your company’s goals are at the forefront of your focus. Therefore, you understand what features to look for when researching CRM vendors.
Without an implementation plan, it’s easy to get distracted by flashy features some companies offer.
Choosing the right CRM software initially ensures:
- Employees only have to learn one system
- You don’t waste money purchasing multiple CRMs
- Your business can implement new technology faster
CRM implementation plans demand attention and time. But they ensure you choose the best software for your business!
Getting the Most Out of Your CRM Data
A CRM implementation plans also helps you get the most value from your customer data.
Certain CRMs are better suited for certain industries. And when you take time to test and review numerous CRM systems, you find the one that has the tools you need.
Therefore, you can get more information and use from your existing customer data.
CRM implementation ensures your company uses software with tools that promote success in your industry.
Giving Your CRM Users the Best Chance at Success
CRM implementation helps your employees have a better chance at successfully utilizing the technology.
Your team is more motivated to regularly use the CRM when they have had the proper training and introduction to why CRMs are vital.
Ensuring people have enough time to learn how to use the software is critical. And an implementation schedule budgets time for this factor.
Also, CRM implementation accounts for a “soft launch,” allowing employees to slowly introduce themselves to the company-wide change without pressure to immediately catch on.
CRM implementation gives your team a better chance at success, meaning your business can scale quicker and become more efficient.
Increasing Team Collaboration and Buy In
CRM implementation phases only work if your team is excited to use the program.
Therefore, explaining why you’ll use CRM technology helps everyone get on board. Describing how the program can help the people using it also promotes team collaboration.
One thing that helped CRM adoption within my company is offering rewards for completing user training milestones and completing setup tasks on time.
How to Implement a CRM System
You may think successful implementation will cost a ton of money and take forever to start using. However, a successful CRM implementation plan is a breeze with the right strategy in place.
Here are eight steps to ensure successful implementation!
Step 1: Set Your CRM Goals
The first step for implementation is usually the most time-consuming: set your CRM goals.
What do you hope to get from a CRM, and how do you want it to meet your needs?
Other factors worth considering include the following:
- The size of your company
- Your company’s industry
- How many people will use the CRM?
- Which departments will use the CRM?
Ensure your team’s business goals are realistic and achievable, as overly ambitious goals can discourage people from believing in the implementation project.
Step 2: Choose the Correct CRM Software
After reviewing your business requirements and goals, it’s time for the fun part: browsing the best CRMs!
Carefully review each system’s product features, pricing structure, and target industry when looking for a CRM platform.
Reading in-depth, unbiased reviews about CRMs you’re interested in is always a wise decision.
Some CRMs provide free trials, which are incredibly useful if you’re not 100% on board with the software initially.
Step 3: Build an Implementation Team
Building a CRM implementation team ensures the onboarding process runs smoothly.
Based on my experience, it’s essential to add the following people to your implementation team:
- Data migration experts
- Knowledgable CRM individuals
- Communication advocates
Data migration experts ensure all your company’s data is transferred to the new system efficiently and correctly.
CRM experts provide ongoing training and ensure everyone understands how to use the system.
Lastly, communication advocates promote the importance of using a CRM, effectively motivating individuals about the upcoming change.
Step 4: Create a Change Management Plan
A change management plan serves as a roadmap for your team, showing each step needed to implement a new CRM.
Your change management plan should include the following details:
- List of upcoming changes
- Responsibility assignment matrix
- CRM implementation timeline
- Comprehensive budget
- Communication plan
Your team’s change management plan ensures everyone is on the same page and there are clear objectives, timelines, and budget restrictions to meet.
Step 5: Layout a CRM Implementation Schedule
Once you reach step five, it’s time for an implementation schedule.
How long do you and your team think it will take to implement a new CRM system?
Some companies find it best to think of their end goal first and work backward while creating an implementation schedule.
The most crucial detail to consider is to be realistic when creating a schedule. Also, add time ranges for each objective.
For example, your schedule may include: “Complete Onboarding Training with Sales Teams: 2-4 weeks.”
Step 6: Pick a CRM Implementation Budget
Creating a budget is essential and one reason I’ve seen projects fail.
A free CRM trial is helpful but won’t last forever if your business needs to scale quickly.
Take time to figure out the monthly costs of the CRM system and the costs of integrations (if necessary).
Ensure the integrations act as a cost-saving tool instead of something that’s burning through cash unnecessarily.
Remember, CRMs cost a little upfront, but the long-term savings are worth it!
Step 7: Migrate Existing Customer Data
The next step is transferring your existing customer information to your CRM system.
Migrating this data may take some time if your existing data lives in spreadsheets or other media.
However, if your company used a CRM in the past, the transfer process is quicker.
Also, there are outside companies to handle data transferring if you think this step will eat up too much of the CRM project timeline.
Step 8: Train the Greater Team on CRM Usage/Workflows
Training everyone on your team, from the sales reps to the project managers, is a step I’ve seen countless businesses overlook.
For this step, ensure you give everyone on your team plenty of time to learn and become familiar with the CRM application.
It’s natural to have some employees fight the new change, usually because they think the system adds to their workload.
Therefore, explaining how CRM platforms help streamline the sales process, organize company data, and make communication effortless is critical.
There will be some downtime during this system testing period, and employees may not complete as much of their regular work as usual.
Communicate with your team clearly, explaining the learning period is only temporary.
Step 7: Go Live With Your New CRM
After a successful training period, it’s time to go live with your new CRM!
Keep in mind the beginning of CRM implementation serves as a probation period. People (usually) don’t become CRM experts in a day.
There will be periods of frustration initially, but doing a “soft launch” is a great way to get your team accustomed to the platform.
Step 8: Continue CRM Tweaking
Proper CRM implementations impact everyone in the company, so it’s important to tweak the system if needed.
After the initial trial period, meet with the CRM users and discuss what’s working and what’s not.
Is your sales team finding more sales opportunities due to the CRM data at hand? Are there customer support issues that need addressing?
Alter your CRM and associated business processes to ensure everyone works efficiently.
Remember, the best CRM apps benefit everyone on your team because they provide helpful tools and features.
Repeating this step every two to three months is helpful.
How Long Does CRM Implementation Take?
There isn’t a set timeline for CRM implementation, as each system functions differently, and every business varies from the next.
The most determining factor regarding the length of implementation is company size, including these details:
- Number of customers and amount of customer data
- Number of employees
- Previous CRM experience
Small businesses and startups typically take between two weeks to two and half months to implement CRM.
On the other hand, large-scale companies can expect it to take one to four months to implement a CRM system.
Common CRM Implementation Mistakes
Implementing CRMs is an excellent choice for every business, especially if you find your company scaling quickly.
However, making mistakes is a given if you’re a first-time CRM user.
Here are the top three mistakes I’ve seen people make!
Mistake 1: Overcomplicating the Process
Are CRMs powerful tools that increase efficiency? Yes! But implementing them doesn’t have to be overcomplicated.
Keeping your initial CRM implementation as simple as possible will be beneficial in the short term because it helps users learn the program.
And in the long term, it saves you time and money.
Keep your implementation plan simple while understanding you can add more pieces and integrations later.
Mistake 2: Losing Team Support
When implementing a CRM, you must keep your team on board.
Getting everyone on the same page before starting the project is extremely important.
Don’t hesitate to ask users for feedback and suggestions as they use the software. Your final product will be stronger as a result!
Mistake 3: Forgetting the Purpose of a CRM
Lastly, it’s common to see leaders forget the purpose of their CRM.
CRMs serve as integrations to your business, not a separate entity.
Your CRM should streamline daily tasks and make life easier, such as performing the following tasks:
- Marketing automation
- Increasing customer retention
- Streamlining communication
- Organizing data
- Finding potential customers for sales managers
Setting goals and regularly revisiting them is vital to remember why you implemented a CRM.
Easy CRMs to Implement
You may feel lost and unsure where to start looking for CRM. Here are two of my favorites that I found super easy to implement into my businesses!
HubSpot serves as an all-in-one package, and it’s the best CRM for storing all your data in one place.
Additionally, HubSpot offers marketing tools, sales automation features, customer service automation, and more!
But the best thing about HubSpot? There’s a free plan and free trials for users to test before upgrading!
Do you want to learn more about HubSpot? Check our our full HubSpot CRM review!
Monday is a popular CRM that offers the following features:
- Contact list organization
- Lead capturing
- Deal management
- Sales pipeline tracking
- Resource management
- Sales forecasting
Monday provides easy app integrations that small to large businesses can use to scale their sales.
This versatile CRM software has everything you need and more to streamline and automate business processes.
Check out our extensive Monday review to learn more about this CRM!
Wrapping Things Up
CRM implementation is an involved process that doesn’t have to be complicated.
By following the eight steps listed above and taking notes from our mistakes section, you’ll find the perfect CRM for your business in no time!
Once you decide on a CRM that fits your needs, it’s easier than ever to get organized, improve team communication, and, most importantly, scale your business.
Is there a part of the CRM implementation process we forgot to include? Let us know in the comments section!