mardi 1 mai 2012

9 Tips for Small Businesses Implementing CRM

If you're planning to implement a CRM system for your small business then the following “gotcha’s” could just save your bacon. Certainly no one plans to fail, but failing to plan is common mistake in CRM implementation projects, as is failing to create the right plan

1. It's a Small Business – we only need a small plan
Well not unless your ambitions are small. If you want to grow your business then your CRM implementation plan needs to include a lot of big company “stuff”. Sometime this is the first time you have had to decide who does what, so take a moment and think about roles.

2. It's a small business – but we've got big plans...
For many small businesses with big plans it can be all too easy to slip into a supersized CRM implementation. Sure modern CRM software is good – but it can't do everything! Focus on building a plan that addresses your current needs , but considers your future direction.

3. Plan for the future – Encourage user buy-in
Once you have a clear plan and framework for implementing a CRM system, make sure you let everyone else know what’s in the plan! All too often we see CRM implementation and operating plans from a project manager - before the users and stakeholders do. If no one knows about your plan – then they can’t get behind it and help you to succeed.

4. Assess scope and involvement
Set the scope for the project – so everyone can see why you are doing it. Don’t just list the areas and functions that the project will directly affect – be sure to detail the improvements you expect to deliver. If these improvements can demonstrate a return on investment then all the better.

Who will be involved in the project – if not just sales and marketing, who else? Make sure you think about other people in your business that should be interacting with customers and get them involved. You probably don’t want a CRM system wholely designed by the accountant – but you do want them to support your plan.

5. Check your available resources
Once you know where the CRM project is going, and have the buy in from the team, what could go wrong? Unfortunately, a lot of those resources have day jobs, and your CRM project is not at the top of their “to do list”. So plan the resources – and make sure your team have time to complete their part of the plan. Never underestimate the time it takes to clean and prepare data, ready for import into a new CRM system.

If you are working with a third party, make sure that they understand your plan. A good CRM consultancy will have handled many crm implementation projects in their time and will be able to offer advice on realistic timescales. 

6. Assess the initial data load
Decide what you are bringing over / into the CRM system. Not too much, not too little? Work out the average cost per data item that you are going to clean and migrate to the new system, and then work out the return on investment for each item. Is the sales figures by product from 1989 really worth bringing in? How will you use the data, and what benefit will it deliver?

7. What happens if it works?
If all your planning works and you have a successful CRM implementation for your small business will you be able to cope? If you realise the 10% increase in sales that the reports estimate could be attributed to successful CRM implementation, can manufacturing and support tool up in time? The problem with a successful plan for CRM is that you have to be prepared for changes throughout your business. Change can be challenging for your staff, so plan how you will help them to adapt.

8. Measure to manage
For every step on your plan have a measurement point. This way you can tell instantly if the plan is not accurate or if you need to change it. If timescales are slipping – it’s better to know early, rather than at the last minute.

9. Write a plan not a novel.
Try to keep your plan brief and concise – people don’t have time to read 5000 task project plans, or epic novels that describe how you are going to implement CRM.

Collier Pickard have developed a CRM Project Update document with less than 25 key master tasks and areas to consider. We use it for all of our implementations, with great success time after time. The points above are just some of the considerations for a small business planning to implement CRM. For more in-depth advice, take us up on our offer for a free consultancy session.

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