Before you can put together an effective CRM, you need to understand what your organisation actually does and, more importantly, how it does it.
STEP 1: Understand your business’s needs
Map the workflows and how your departments interact around the customer and with each other. What information do they need to collect? What channels do you utilise? How can you differentiate between different prospect and customer groups? How do you deliver your products? Who’s involved and when?
The way that businesses deliver products and services is unique, so your CRM (even with loads of out-of-the-box functionality, modules and standardised workflows) will need to be adaptable to meet your approach.
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STEP 2: Understand users’ needs
The difficulty in the past has been being able to customise interfaces to meet each user’s needs. The range of reasons that someone might want to store some snippet of information and what he or she wants to do with it is different for each role.
That’s not even to mention Project Managers, Call Centre Staff, Technical departments and anyone else within your business who might need access to customer information.
The point is that to make sure that a CRM is used and that it’s efficient and effective to do so, there needs to be an interface that enables that person to easily store and use the information that they need, simply. Any resistance and people will look for shortcuts around it, losing data and insights that could be used by other areas of the organisation to provide an amazing customer experience.
Read More: Should You Choose Open Source CRM?
STEP 3: Understand your future customers’ needs
It’s essential to remember why you’re using a CRM, as it’s not just about providing an effective and efficient platform for tracking sales performance – it’s about being able to meet your clients’ needs.
Providing a consistent customer experience through every channel isn’t simple.
If someone is exclusively looking at certain services on your website and has previously spoken to a member of your Customer Services team, then no matter how they reach out to your business again, they shouldn’t have to go through the same questions and procedures again. Even if they’re visiting your website, it should be dynamic and deliver them the content that you know they’re interested in and could convert them into a client.
You need to:
- Plot customer/contact pathways
- Profile interest areas and create customer personas
- Examine the content that you offer and map it to your sales cycle
- Look at customer follow-up plans
- Think about the different needs of your small client, key accounts and prospects (content, comms, routes etc.)
- Interview Call Centre/Customer Service teams and discover what’s frequently coming up.
It’s important to align all the moving parts to give your customer what they want so that no matter how they communicate with your business, they can receive a tailored response.
There’s no one-size-fits-all here, as every organisation is unique. You need to step back and ask yourself if you’re serving your prospects’ and customers’ needs effectively – are you giving them all you can?
STEP 4: Define your vision and pick the right system
After collecting all the information in your previous steps, you should be in a position to define the future vision for your system: what you want it to achieve and how it will integrate with your business.
With this vision defined you can take a look at the market and what solutions are available – there are many options out there with different merits, all with widely ranging price tags and technology requirements.
Reading analyst reports from the likes of Gartner, Ovum and Forrester can help you to understand the marketplace and the strengths/weaknesses of the major players in the field, but it’s important to find the right solution for your organisation.
There are also plenty of people and businesses out there who can support you in selecting the right system, as well as the steps that have occurred before (and after) you’ve got to this point. They can often get you the best price with the CRM provider directly due to the relationship that they have with them, so engaging with us(!) or other providers can be a useful first step.
STEP 5: Make a plan and share it
So you should have a map of your systems, have explored how they integrate, decided what sort of experience you want to give your customers and have selected the right CRM system for your business – you can now define the strategy:
- Who will be involved?
- What systems will you integrate?
- How will you test it?
- How will you roll it out?
- What staff training do you require?
- What are the metrics to identify success?
- When will you review its performance?
Perhaps the most important bit of all of this is to get your organisation’s employees on board; they need to feel involved with the process, informed of the benefits to them personally, and capable of utilising the new system to its full potential.
There is almost always resistance to changes such as this within any organisation and CRM deployments generally succeed or fail based on the response of the masses.
Staff counsels advising the steering group throughout the entire CRM review, design and deployment phases are the best way to avoid this common pitfall – information is power.