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Part 2 - How to Prepare for your CRM Implementation

Dec 14, 2015

When setting up a brand new CRM for your business, thorough preparation beforehand can make all the difference to the platform’s success. You should start the implementation process by building a team and setting expectations.

Here are the remaining things to consider to make sure your team hits the ground running on day one.

Process

Outline a specific sequence of events.
The first step to building a house is drawing up a blueprint. From there you build the structure--roof, walls, flooring, etc. Only then can you move your furniture in!

In the same way, you don’t want to bring your data into an unfinished system. Make sure all the structures are in place first. Focus on getting familiar with the system, completing basic configuration and establishing a rollout plan. Then, when everything is prepped and ready, you can start the data migration.

Get everyone on board before adoption even begins.
User adoption should begin long before users receive their login credentials. Create internal buzz as soon as you buy the technology.

More often than not, users will be resistant to the change. Make this new system something they can’t wait to use! Combat resistance in the early stages by holding a contest to see who can enter all of their contacts into the system first or who can log the most calls in a week. Have executives who are enthusiastic about the product talk about it at meetings or email the company about its benefits. Though not everyone will be involved in implementation prep, make an effort to involve and educate all users in some way from day one.

Have training materials (and a plan) on hand.
Users should feel comfortable using the new system when they receive their login credentials. Be prepared to provide them with necessary training resources. Have them watch videos and review documents before logging in for the first time. Set up tasks for each user to complete as they are getting started.

Training can even be an opportunity for team bonding. Set up a training during lunch and order some pizza. Have your super user group hold office hours once a week to answer any questions. Use internal emails to answer common FAQs.

Use the change as an opportunity to clean your data.
Your data will become a huge bottleneck in the implementation process if you are not prepared. If your data is dirty now, it will be dirty in your new system. Spend some time cleaning the data before the migration. You’ll thank yourself later!

When it comes time to talk with your CRM provider about how the data will be imported, be as thorough and detailed as possible. If there is something unique about the way you’re using your current system, let the data migration team know. Once data has been imported, validate the migration immediately. Take care of this while the migration is fresh on everyone’s mind.

Don’t neglect configuration.
Back to the house analogy--before throwing a party in your new home, you’d spend some time decorating. Likewise, before letting users into your new system, do them a favor and make it look nice. Spend some time configuring page layouts, creating necessary custom fields and integrating with useful third party apps so that it’s easy (and enjoyable) to use.

Define your business process.
Can you draw your business process out on a piece of paper? If the answer is no, it will be extremely difficult to fit that nonexistent process into your new CRM.

Take time to define your business process from start to finish. What’s the first step? What happens when you find a potential client? How do you get that client to the end of the process? Is there anything unique about this process? What would you like to improve? Answering these questions will allow your implementation consultant to help you fit that process into the new system.

Post-Implementation

Keep revisiting your processes even when the system is in place.
Your implementation is complete. The system has been configured, data has been migrated and users are loving their new CRM tool. Now what?

Implementation should be a continuous process. Successful organizations evaluate and reevaluate their processes, constantly making improvements. What’s working? What issues have come up? To ensure success, your power team should meet on a regular basis to discuss these topics. Continue improving, training, configuring and evolving.

Growing pains are to be expected when transitioning to any new technology, and a CRM is no different. But keep the big picture in mind; in the long run, the benefits will outweigh the stress. And by properly preparing for your implementation, you can ensure the process will run as smooth as possible.

View our CRM Implementation infographic for a visual of the 10 important steps to ensure the success of your new technology!

Topics: Best Practices

Lauren Hinson

Written by Lauren Hinson

Lauren is an Implementation Project Manager at Apto. She helps onboard new users and works with data on a daily basis. She knows all the tricks of the trade to get your org customized and ready to go. Lauren graduated from Texas A&M University and has a degree in Management with a focus on Entrepreneurial Leadership.

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