How to Implement a CRM System?
Sooner or later, any company faces problems. It can be a lack of customers, personnel shortage, or, for example, increased attention of inspection bodies. In this article we will tell you what problems will be solved with a CRM and go through the stages from idea to implementation and successful use.
What is CRM?
First, let's understand what CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is. Modern services have gone far from the literal definition. They include the sets of features that its creators consider necessary. This is neither bad nor good — just like that. And in order to understand what CRM is in your particular case, you need to understand what specific problems the program can solve for you.
The First Stage of Awareness
As a rule, heads of companies, puzzled by the implementation of CRM, begin to reason as follows. We need a system to store customer base, make calls, integrate with dozens or hundreds of familiar apps (just in case), set tasks, customize business processes with pre-installed scripts... And other 20-30 key requirements.
The most competent employee is instructed to find this miracle solution. Further events develop according to two scenarios.
- Such a system exists, it may be implemented for $30 000-60 000 and monthly pay from $1500 per month.
- There is no such system, and we need to find a coder who will create it.
The first option is usually refused immediately, so let's explore the second one. Suppose you find a programmer who is ready to write a CRM system for your company for a reasonable fee.
You probably don't know that the programmer needs a requirements specification. It is better not to entrust the secretary with the drafting of the document, since it describes technical details. The developer must see what the program will look like, choose the architecture, review the code, deploy the solution on server, test it, etc. You need a whole staff.
When the programmer shows the first version, it seems that the system is working. In fact, there are many flaws in it. When the system is filled with data, it begins to slow down and fail. It is impossible to support the service, and the programmer leaves the project to look for a new job.
The Second Stage of Awareness
You weigh all pros and cons and remember that the company employs not 10 000 people, but, for example, 10-50. You come to the following conclusions:
- the company's processes are not so complicated;
- a significant part of the requirements is not needed at the current stage;
- employees will not be able to work in a complex system;
- you do not want to spend a lot of money on a cat in a bag.
The Third Stage of Awareness
You start over. Business processes of your seem not so unique. For example, functions like "system should tell me what to say when the investor comes”, go to the background.
At this point, it is important to define a minimum of options to solve company problems. For example, you need:
- to maintain a customer base in a centralized space, not in an employee’s notebook;
- systematize company projects in the program, not just at meetings;
- discuss business in one place, not in different messengers, and etc.
As a result, after a few hours of searching you find the system that meets new requirements.
Here companies face a number of difficulties as in the beginning. We will tell you what these difficulties are, and how to avoid them.
The first mistake is to delegate the deployment, for example, to a system administrator. “Because he's an IT specialist,” — thinks the CEO. This is a questionable approach. IT-specialist works perfectly with the settings, not with the business processes. He has such a mindset — it is no accident that he holds this position. It is necessary to understand what business processes should be optimized. This is the competence of the General Director or one of the key managers.
The second mistake is to transfer all processes to the system at once. Changing foundations always shocks employees. This leads to a wide spreading misunderstanding and can knock the company out of the rut.
The third mistake is to implement the system by a formal order. In other words: "I order you to work tomorrow in CRM on the basis of my reasoning, and director's omnipotence!" Of course, everyone will start working in the system formally. They will even show the manager the open CRM window on their computers.
The system should be implemented both from the bottom and from the top, so that the company gets the maximum benefit. For example, the Director should gather heads of departments, explain what problems are and get their support in this matter. They tell employees how their problems can be solved, and employees want change. The Director, feeling it, offers a solution. Employees are satisfied, the system is successfully implemented, management has achieved the goals.
What Else You Need to Remember
Any system is used when it is useful. For example, you decided to put the customer base in order. But there are only 10-20 contacts in your company. Yes, they are driven into the system, but when they come to end, employees forget about the system.
The system should be immediately implemented throughout the company. If you do it in one Department, the experience is usually negative. For example, you want to send a service note or write to someone, but they are not in the system. Usefulness is not obvious: it is necessary to continue using inconvenient mail or printing service notes on paper.
- Determine the minimum required functionality. Do not include in the mandatory requirements opportunities that may be required in a year, two or more.
- Give up the idea of “writing a system for yourself”. This can lead to even more problems.
- Do not delegate implementation to employees who are not responsible for the company's strategy, such as a system administrator or a secretary.
- Connect all employees to the system at once, but do not try to transfer all processes to the system immediately.
- First of all, transfer the processes you are actively working on to the program, e.g. ongoing projects.
- Before implementation, make sure that employees are willing to work in the system. So it will be much easier and faster.
CRM implementation in your company is a serious process that requires considerable time. But your employees will be grateful for the convenience and benefits after successful implementation. Your business will develop at a completely different pace.