BlueCamroo Blog

7 Steps to CRM Success for Small Business

by Paul Clark - Published on 10/7/2010 16:15

7 key ways you can implement CRM within your small- to medium-sized enterprise

Step 1. Make a list of the business goals you want the solution(s) to help you achieve

There is no ‘best’ CRM system; only the one that’s best for your business. Begin by making a detailed list of what your actual business goals are. For example:

  • Manage leads
  • Attract more leads
  • Keep current customers more in the loop
  • Support current customers
  • Track time and expenses
  • Ensure all your staff have access to complete customer data
  • Ensure you have access to complete customer data when sales staff move on

BlueCamroo Tip: Don’t limit yourself to what you currently assume a CRM system can do.  If what your business really needs is a solution that integrates customer data, email marketing, travel planning, event bookings and managing your complete iTunes collection all in one place, write that down.  You may not find everything in a single CRM solution – you may even find what you need and discover the vendor doesn’t call it a CRM solution at all – but knowing what you want is a great place to start from.

Step 2. Evaluate a number of solutions

Ask questions like:

  • Does the application have the features you require?
  • Can you import your data?
  • Can you export your data if you decide to change?
  • Can the system grow with you as you need?
  • What’s the vendor’s roadmap for new features?
  • Does the vendor respond promptly to enquiries?
  • How much can you configure the system to your business processes versus having to adapt your processes to the system design?

Step 3. Look at hosted solutions with free trials and fixed monthly costs

A hosted solution provides a number of advantages, particularly when you are starting out with CRM. Many hosted solutions, such as BlueCamroo, provide free trials, allowing you to determine if software is a good fit for your business goals and processes before you incur any costs.

Hosted solutions also let you ramp up deployment as you train staff or grow your business, so you’re only paying for what you use. And of course there’s no need to burden your IT department with another networked on-premise application to install, maintain, ensure license compliance, and update.

Step 4. Pick your solution and commit to it for at least 12 months

Unless you write your own CRM solution from the ground up, you will never find an application that mimics every aspect of the business processes you've evolved over the years.  (This might be a good thing!).  What this means, however, is you and your people are going to have to make some changes, and adapt to the system you have chosen.  Initially, working in the system will feel demanding compared to the ‘old’ way of doing things, and it’s easy to give up before you see the benefits coming through.

If you’ve thought carefully about why you need a CRM solution, and if you’ve taken time to be clear about your requirements and select a solution that’s right for you, believe in your decision and allow enough time for people to get comfortable so you can start seeing the benefits. By committing a fixed period – we would recommend 12 months – to work with your new system, you avoid hopping from application to application thinking "this one will have the magical combination!" Trust your initial assessment made using cold, sober logic over a panicked feeling that the new system isn't working after 3 weeks.

Step 5. Invest time in setting it up to your business

While some CRM solutions are little more than glorified address books – and that may be all you need - most good CRM packages allow you the freedom to set them up the way that best suits your business.  For example, BlueCamroo provides work flow automation features to let you automate parts of your business processes; time/expenses management options; project management and repeatable project templates; billing and online payments; document management; campaign email marketing; email alerts; email integration; a customizable user interface; and more. Allow time to learn how to get beneath the skin of your chosen CRM, and learn how to customize the power-user features to automate the drudgery.

Step 6. Provide training

It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: you need to train your staff!

Remember, your people have been doing things the way they do them now for as long as anyone can remember – and you now want them to do something different.  Don't assume everyone "gets it"; we all learn differently, and different people take to new systems at very different rates.

Remember too that in the first few weeks with your new CRM, it will be easier for people under pressure and in a hurry to go back to their old ways of working.  So training is not just about the features of the system, it’s a sales job – to help everyone to understand the benefits that you’re looking to provide.

Finally, while you’ll probably look for a solution that provides online help, wizards, tutorials, and the like, it’s also a good idea to designate someone on your staff as your power user and "goto" guy/gal that others can get immediate help from.

Step 7. Insist your staff use it

Let’s say it again: at first, however great the system you implement, your people are going to find it harder to get things done the new way than the way they’re used to.  And some of the benefits that you want from your CRM – like properly tracking how your staff are spending their time, or making sure that when sales people leave they don’t take your clients away with them and leave you no proper notes – may be things your people aren’t particularly keen on for themselves.

Lots of companies still just use spreadsheets, email and sticky notes for their customer data because it's quick and easy. But business isn't about keeping your eye on the quick and easy. It's about the long term. Sometimes you have to, as the British say, "put some stick about". Initial inconvenience factors are easily made up for by long term gains from things like business process automation; reports that give you a proper view of your sales processes; automatic alerts that help staff stay on top of deadlines; and ensuring your key customer data is secure, controlled and available.

These are the kind of big wins that a great CRM implementation can offer your business, so it’s worth toughing it out to insist staff get on board.

Recap

So, there it is – 7 Steps to CRM Success:

Step 1. Make a list of the business goals you want the solution(s) to help you achieve

Step 2. Evaluate a number of solutions

Step 3. Look at hosted solutions with free trials and fixed monthly costs

Step 4. Pick your solution and commit to it for at least 12 months

Step 5. Invest time in setting it up to your business

Step 6. Provide training

Step 7. Insist your staff use it

Filed under: Roolosophy
User Comments
re: 7 Steps to CRM Success for Small Business
1/11/2017 14:35 by 1
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re: 7 Steps to CRM Success for Small Business
1/11/2017 14:35 by 1
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re: 7 Steps to CRM Success for Small Business
1/11/2017 14:35 by 1
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