Almost 50% of our customers previously had CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems that did not deliver on their business requirements. This is sometimes due to the CRM software they were using but often due to how their CRM software was implemented.

CRM can be amazingly powerful for boosting your team’s productivity. Get it wrong and your team will waste unnecessary time on administration.  Get it right and your team will be able to focus on value generating activity, increasing sales and delivering better customer service.

This article will help you get the most from CRM software with an approach that will ensure you can deliver more success.


The CRM challenge?

A poor CRM setup can often mean:

•   Managing customer relationships in a spreadsheet because your CRM does not support how your market works.

•   Manually duplicating data into other systems because data is not integrated.

•   Spending more time doing admin than delivering value generating activity.

•   Searching through emails or calling colleagues because you cannot easily find the information need.

•   Manually producing productivity reports because the CRM dashboard or Business Intelligence software does not have the right data.

Getting the right CRM software is only part of getting a good CRM solution. Sometimes companies fall for the lure of low or even no-cost CRM software, this occasionally works but will almost certainly mean additional cost later. 

The challenge is that all companies are different, need to manage different data and need to manage different processes. Not taking time to setup your CRM properly will result in using a system that is not set up to work how you work, lead to additional administration and unnecessary frustration.

Companies also often fall for the vision sold by enterprise CRM suppliers and do not budget enough resource for a CRM specialist to implement that vision.  It is worth validating how long it will take to deliver on your business requirements.  Some CRM systems may deliver on complex requirements in days while others can take weeks or months to set up.


How can you deliver results?

Take the time to define your businesses goals and processes.   We find taking the time to engage your team when scoping out each departments requirements will result in a far quicker ROI (return on investment) and also better user buy in to drive system adoption.  The discovery phase forms the foundation of a successful CRM implementation.

Discovery Map your ‘as-is’ processes and define your project goals.  Do this so that your CRM can be configured to enhance your business processes by managing, tracking and even automating elements of your processes.  Implementing a CRM to support and optimise your processes will make your CRM much easier to use and ensure your objectives are met.  While in the discovery phase gather the detailed data migration, reporting and integration requirements so that the most effective onboarding plan can be created.  Capture where you store the same data?  Who else uses the data and is duplicating the same information?  What systems do they use?  Do you want to integrate with those systems?  What reports do people want automatically generated from the data? What activities and emails would be useful to automatically generated?

Your CRM team will be able to help you map your ‘to-be’ processes.  This will help you identify opportunities for making processes more efficient and ensuring the user experience is as good as it can be.  This process can also be useful for identifying the business value being created.

Prototype approval Set up a prototype system and get your team to test how the system will work for them.  This is the time to recommend improvements to the user experience (UX), it is also worth validating your customer experience (CX).  This process is essential for making sure your CRM configuration will be as easy as possible for your team to use and that you are encouraging the most effective customer experience. This end user testing will help you streamline your processes and help make your business goals easier to deliver.  If the usability of your system is right you will have no problem getting colleagues to use the system and driving user adoption.  The more people that are using your system the more insights your team will collect and the more you will harness the value of collaboration.

Configuration Your CRM solution should be configured exactly to the requirements of your business.  In essence you want to avoid working how the CRM wants you to work, you need your CRM to support how you work.  At the discovery stage scope your project in detail to make sure all configuration changes are accounted for:

• Fields that are not required can be removed.

• Fields to be kept are moved to your preferred location.

• Drop down options that fit your business requirements are added.

• Any additional fields you need are added.

• Workflow and automated processes are added.

• Are there processes that could be automated e.g. automatic email responses to thank customers for their email?  Automatically creating a document dependant on previous actions?

• Any reports or dashboards agreed during business analysis should be created so your management team have real time access to the reports and data they need.

• Integrate your CRM with other systems you use.  As an example, why send your accounts team information to invoice when you could easily integrate systems to save the duplication of data?

Over time things will need to change, new processes will need to be added to your CRM Solution and old ones removed.

We are fans of agile working, starting small and gradually adding new processes is an effective way of working and excellent for engaging everyone in your improvements.

CRM has changed dramatically in the last 10 years, if all your customer details are in your CRM, why not use it to deliver projects, manage contracts or maybe your products too?


Can it be done? 

See some of our many success stories.

“CRM-UK implemented everything on time and on budget. Replicated our MOB report which used to take three man-week’s per month and now takes 5 seconds. Most importantly theCRM solution was implemented quickly, within budget and within the constraints of our groups guidelines for 3rd party software.

Martin Leonard, Marketing Manager

Capita Case study

Next steps? 

Now stop reading this and go fix it….

…and if you can’t do it, have a CRM that is struggling to do it or are still working from an Excel spreadsheet we can help.  We love challenging requirements.   We also love helping businesses deliver more.   

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If you would like to discuss your challenges and explore solutions get in touch.

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