CRM software can bring significant benefits to your business. Its core objective is helping you increase sales. It does this in a number of ways including better identification of sales opportunities, reduced levels of sales team administration, and improved sales management.
If you have any experience of this type of software, particularly in an SME, you will know its implementation is often fraught with difficulties. Those difficulties often lead to its abandonment.
So, a CRM system can benefit your business, but it is not guaranteed. How can you make sure your CRM project doesn’t end up in the failed bin?
Before You Start Looking
The process of selecting and implementing a CRM system starts before you review or try the various applications available. That starting point involves doing thorough research, and getting buy-in from your team, particularly the sales team.
Let’s start with research. Many businesses mistakenly believe this is research on the CRM packages that are available. The crucial research you need to undertake, however, is in your own business.
Specifically, you have to look at how your sales team operates. It is important when doing this that you look at how they actually operate, not how you wish they would operate or think they operate. The more open and honest you are with this process the more likely your CRM implementation will be a success.
The things you should look at include:
- How your business captures leads.
- What quantity of leads do you have?
- How are those leads converted into sales? This includes how leads are allocated plus the steps that typically need taken to close a deal.
- What information do you want your team to have access to?
- What information do you and your management team need access to?
Once you have this information you should think about the problem you hope the CRM system will solve. Do you, for example, believe there are more upselling opportunities available than you are currently achieving? Do you think some customers are being missed because your sales team is too busy, or are you unhappy with client allocation procedures or the reports you currently get?
All of these things and more can be solved by a CRM, but the selection process and implementation will be much easier if you have a clear understanding of the problems you are trying to solve.
Finally, you should involve your team in this research process as much as possible. The sales team in particular are crucial. You can try to make them use whatever system you decide, but it is much better if they can see they will benefit personally. They will therefore want to use the CRM, rather than you coercing them to do it.
Choosing The Right Application
Once you have a detailed understanding of your sales process and a clear idea of the problems you want the CRM to solve you can start looking at the applications that are available. Here are some tips:
- The big names are well tried and tested, but you might find specific functionality that you need in smaller and more niche applications
- It is almost always better to go for a cloud-based solution instead of one that is installed on your computers or servers locally
- Get a test version of the application before you buy so you can try it to see if it meets the needs you found in your research above
- Make sure it has the functions and reports that your business needs
As you can see, purchasing a CRM system is not a quick process. Spending time to get it right will, however, benefit your business in the long-run.
For more help or advice with your business please contact one of our advisors at Gilroy Gannon today.