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Effective and problem-free implementation of suitable CRM system

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Can all the available CRMs satisfy my needs?

NO!

First of all, don't let yourself be tricked! Currently, there are dozens of CRMs available on the market, and each of them has different modules and features. Moreover, many of them are more than just simple Customer Relationship Management systems. They are platforms that can support marketing, sales, around-sales processes, customer support, invoicing, debt collection, etc. 

To choose the best CRM for your company, you need to think about which processes you want to immediately support, and which ones you would like to support sometime in the future. If you make a mistake in this phase, it can be a very costly one. Migrating from one system to another, if prepared badly, can mean a loss of much time and money. 

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Please contact me. I want to talk about how to best fit CRM to my needs.

How to prepare the implementation of the CRM?

To seriously think about the implementation of the CRM in a company that has B2B sales, you need to have an efficient sales process designed. It has to be forged in the fire of everyday struggle by the sales team, not just artificially put on paper, to only end up in the archives. 

Second, apart from designing the sales process you need to take into consideration all the procedures that support the sales. All of those should also be conducted through CRM.

What to consider when choosing your CRM?

You need to answer a few questions:

  • What are the sales channels 
    • Partners Channel System (sales using your partners as channels to reach the clients)
    • B2B sales reps
    • E-commerce B2B
  • Why do you need a CRM, and are you sure that you only need the features for managing the customers?
  • Who will use the system?
    • Sales reps that work in the field
    • Sales reps that work over the phone
    • Marketing
    • Administration
    • Other departments?
  • Do you want some actions to be automatic? (i.e. sending an e-mail to your clients immediately after reps leave the meeting or preparing the offers)
  • Do you want to monitor your customers and potential customers on your company's website?
  • What will be the ratio of standard vs mobile use of the system?
  • How much do you want to reshape the system to fit your needs? 

Do I need to have my sales processes designed, or will the partner help me to design them?

Our experience tells us that the partners that conduct the implementation are highly qualified in the technical aspects of the process. They know many intricacies in the configurations and know tricks used by other companies that you can also use. However, remember that no partner knows your organization better than you, they do not know your products or services and they have never once sold them. 

So the conclusion is clear - before you start with the implementation of the CRM you have to design your effective sales processes that are correlated with the Customer Buying Cycle - the way the customers buy your products or services. 

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Please contact me. I want to talk about designing my sales process.

The biggest threats while implementing CRM

Our experience tells us that there are certain typical problems that tend to be identified when the implementation is already on the way. That, of course, causes financial consequences, as well as delays in the process. 

Threat 1 – NOT ENOUGH TIME FOR A PROPER IMPLEMENTATION

If you don't have time to properly implement a CRM just stick to Excel and stay in XIXth century. You will avoid a lot of stress and won't waste money. Come back to that idea when you will be able to dedicate at least 8 hours a week to the implementation. 

Threat 2 – TRYING TO IMPLEMENT ALL THE FUNCTIONALITIES AT ONCE 

Trying to implement all the functionalities at once typically results in months and months of work. In the meantime, the company develops and changes, and for the system to keep up it needs to be updated and re-shaped. It can lead to getting caught up in a vicious circle of "improvements". We recommend creating a timeline of implementation of each functionality. It will allow you to start using CRM very quickly and lessen the strain on your team since you will have time to train them gradually, allowing them to internalize the new information in smaller chunks. 

Threat 3 – A WEAK IMPLEMENTATION PARTNER 

Unfortunately, if you encounter a partner that has limited experience in the implementation of CRM, it will backfire. We have talked with many sales directors that got stuck on some element of the process because their partner failed to plan it correctly.  Remember to start with functionalities that are very important to you, but may seem quite obvious (and they are not), such as:

  • The option to put new companies in the system.
  • The option to use the calendar 
  • The option to register the basic activity of the sales reps

Thanks to this approach the system works immediately, the sales reps put the new clients in the database and learn how to navigate the system while also preparing themselves for the introduction of the more advanced features. 

Threat 4 – NOT ENOUGH TIME FOR TRAINING 

In our experience we have seen many cases of companies that planned 3 months for the implementation of the CRM, and in practice it took 15 months. After such a long time, the board may become very anxious to finally see the effects of the implementation. The pressure put on the director of sales can become enormous. That pressure can later be transferred onto the sales reps, where the management will expect them to learn all the new features and work with the system perfectly in one week, counting on the quick boost of sales. However, the truth is that in the first phase the sales can actually drop since the teams need time to master the new system's environment.

Threat 5 – IMPLEMENTING THE SYSTEM DURING THE PEAK SALES TIME 

An error that can be very expensive is planning to introduce the new system at the time of year that the sales are at their highest. Sales reps need several weeks to fully integrate their work with the new system, so the implementation should be conducted while the sales are at a lower point, to minimize the inevitable loss.

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