Sometimes business leaders know they need to make a CRM or sales management system change. But as with many changes, making the move is difficult, risky and simply scary for some. There’s a fear of losing control of the key pieces of the business while trying to make the new CRM work. For a properly planned and executed upgrade, installation or replacement of software these risks should be minimal.
I recently worked with a prospective client during a 2-3 month sales process. They looked at a few CRM systems we’ve recommended as fitting their business needs as well as others they were pointed too by their peers. They already have a set of software systems including CRM, QuickBooks, Outlook and other add-on products that they’ve learned to use for a number of years. The reason our client is looking at new CRM systems, in his own words is …”There is nothing smooth or easy about it…but it works usually…”. In reference to making a change of this magnitude, he stated, “We must do it better and I know this is my last attempt at getting this right….” It really hit me how deeply a decision to make a CRM switch can be for a company and its team members. It’s not just business, it’s personal!
So with that, I thought how can we at TeamAutomation assist in making that transition a bit easier, after all it is our job to help them make a good choice, make the switch over successful and end up with a happy customer.
KNOWING that your new system will address you concerns is paramount to making the final decision. One must know that the product will do the job as well as the partner has good working methods and a good reputation. Getting to a successful installation can be difficult for all involved. Prospective clients are traditionally hesitant to invest in the planning process. Not investing in the planning and preparation phase will increase the failure likelihood 30%. As a systems integrator/partner we need to be cautious of how much of the implementation is shortcut by the client. Allowing unwise short cuts will lead to increased problems during implementation. Your system integrator/partner earns their living providing the service of assisting prospects make these CRM systems improve their business , increase revenues and reduce operating costs. Systems integrators charge a service fee for these services. Don’t try to be penny wise and pound foolish. Discuss the implementation until you are comfortable. Then GO! Do it by the plan.
A typical trial implementation consists of the following 10 steps:
- Work with your partner to choose a CRM. It’s important to work with a solutions provider partner – a partner that offers more than one product.
- Once you have a choice CRM, it’s time to define your test process – this particular customers product of choice was RedHorse CRM.
- Decide on a small project to implement using the CRM. Make sure the test project will exercise the tools that will be used regularly by the your team.
- Map out the implementation process with your systems integrator/partner, create a workflow document
- Decide on the timeframe and details like the start date, team members who will participate, and any pre-training needed
- Have your partner perform a special introductory training for the team members that will participate in the process. This training is typically 1/2 -1 hour in length.
- Define a reporting and communication method during the project; emails, instant messaging, telephone or other
- Define a problem reporting format; screenshots, procedure being attempted, user performing the operation, desired result, obtained result
- Launch the test – a test of this nature should be limited to two weeks maximum.
- End the test and review results — Your partner should help you make corrective action decisions if needed.
After such a process those fears of “will it work”, “can we make the change” and so on should be somewhat resolved.
Just because the system was “working” does not mean that it is production ready. You will need to traditionally have your partner do a re-installation and setup in a production manner. There are things that are setup in demonstration/evaluation systems that are implemented differently for production.
Now it’s time to do the real implementation! Work out a schedule with your partner. Detailed check points / reviews are important to ensure adherence to the plan. Be careful to not change the plan in the middle as that can cause issues, and add to expenses. Most partners do not do flat rate implementations but charge hourly or block of hours rates.
Have those same fears? Contact us and we’ll assist you in making your decision while protecting your existing business. We’ve worked with hundreds of companies making these transitions. We’ve been here with our clients for over 25 years.