07 Oct 6 Things You Need to Know Before Implementing a CRM Application


Before you move forward with implementing a CRM, there are a few things we believe you should know to fully take advantage of the CRM promise.

First, what’s a CRM.

CRM stands for “Customer Relationship Management”. A CRM application will allow you, and your team, to manage your critical customer information so that you can see it all in one place. You will be able to view contact info, manage tasks, and track potential projects and measure your performance, among other benefits.

Do you really need a CRM? 3 signs you need one.

1. There’s no single source for information.

Storing your customer info in more than one location puts you and your sales team at a disadvantage. They lack a single view of every customer’s contact info, projects, and interactions

2. There’s little or no visibility on your sales activities.

Not only do you lack visibility into how well you perform against your objectives, you also lack insight into what you should next. Find new prospects or focus on closing the deals you have in your pipeline. If you manage a team, do you know what your salespeople are doing. Not having a clear view of your sales activities makes it difficult to be successful.

3. You lack clear sales processes and a plan to support your growth.

What if your business grew from 5 employees to 50 this year? Are you confident that your current processes will scale? Does your team all sing from the same song sheet? Not having the right processes in place and the right tools to reinforce and automate them will make it very difficult to scale and grow your business.

Most reps hate CRM.

It is a fact – most reps hate CRM.   Why? Because most sales tools are either designed to or perceived by the reps to do reporting for management rather than help them sell.  Most CRM projects fail in the “What’s in it for me?” question.  The sales rep just does not see any value to using the system.  If this is true, what can we do about it?

First of all, we must understand that in larger size sales forces, reps fall into one of three categories:

1. The top 10% or your stars – They are your top sellers and you don’t want to mess around with them as they bring most of the revenue in;

2. The middle 80% will be your average reps – they are the ones you want to help the most;

3. The lower 10% are your underperformers – you are probably already planning to replace them.

This is important to understand as you cannot address the needs of everyone day one and trying to do so will increase your chance of failure.  So your target is the 80%.  And how can you help them? You need to offer them three things:

1. Provide more leads to them;

2. Make sure the sales process they need to follow will have the greatest chance of winning the deal;

3. Make it easy for them to use the system.

By doing all three, you are increasing their chance of attaining their objective while keeping it simple.  Keep those three issues in mind when implementing your system.

No sales processes. No CRM.

We participated in more than a hundred projects and there is one critical success factor that was consistent throughtout:  The better the sales process of the firm is defined and supported by the CRM tool, the higher the likelihood of success of the project.  You cannot just put a CRM tool in the hands of the sales team and say “please use it”.   The CRM tool must enable the desired sales process and must be integrated to the day to day operations of your company.

Every company today has an accounting system and everybody uses it.  Why?  Because you cannot invoice a customer, collect money or do your taxes at the end of the year without one.  It is fully integrated with your day-to-day process.  A CRM system is no exception.  If the tool and the sales process it is support does not blend nicely into your operations, it will not be used.

What is a sales process?  A sales process is not only steps to follow in managing sales opportunities. It is a series of actions that will support the sales strategy and the sales tactics that you believe will make you attain your objective.  If you have not defined your sales strategies or tactics, you cannot implement a sales process.

For example, your sales strategy may be to offer your product to all local stores in your neighbourhood and to do this by going door to door.  In this case, the first step will be to get a list of all of the stores.  Then, the process is to go from door to door.  You may want to record the result of each visit, for instance – completed but no opportunity – completed to be followed – not completed owner not available.  The sales process should guide you by presenting you a list of stores to visit and offer you the possibility to journalize the results.

Prior to implementing any system, first design your sales strategies, tactics and process.  This will greatly improve the payback of your CRM system.

Put your sales strategy first.

When building a sales strategy and identifying the proper tactics, it is good to know that there are only three basic ways to increase sales.

Acquire new customers – This is the strategy most companies implement first.  You aim at getting new customers and therefore increasing your revenues.  To do so, you should have a list of targeted companies you want to go after before starting the process.

Grow existing customers – When you have customers, you want to expand this customer and increase your wallet share of the customer.  You want this customer to spend more money at your company rather than competitors.  To do so, you should be able to track who is providing services to this customer and make a clear list of potential new products you can sell to this customer.

Retain customers (or decrease attrition) – When you have customers, you want to keep them.  The top reason for losing a customer is that they feel neglected and expect they can be better serve by someone else.  A lot of companies put so much emphasis on acquiring new accounts and perceive their existing client based as a given, that they do not put a retention strategy in place.

A well implemented CRM application will allow you to support and reinforce your sales plan. Your CRM should never be your sales strategy.


Your CRM can be more than a CRM.

A well execute CRM implementation can serve as a robust and scalable foundation to support your business growth. Not only it will support your sales activities, it can also become a great platform to support other types of customer related activities.

By leveraging your CRM as a platform, you can maximize your return on your investment and lower the total cost of ownership of custom solutions that meet your unique business needs and extend the value of your existing platform.

Rather than ending up with isolated software that is difficult to maintain effectively, you can deploy other applications that are configurable, adaptable, scalable, and upgradeable on a robust and proven CRM technology platform. Custom applications running on your CRM platform, known as XRM applications, will allow you to effectively manage and streamline other key business processes that are critical to the success of your business.

You have an idea or a project in mind?