Choosing the right customer relationship management (CRM) system can be overwhelming and time consuming. Questions must be answered about the needs of your business as well as the CRM features and functions needed to fulfill them. But as important as it is to answer these questions, an equally important question to answer is are you choosing a CRM partner that has genuine concern for your business.
Will they be involved and accessible at every stage of your CRM experience? Will they provide users the proper CRM training? Will they offer ongoing CRM support after implementation?
Having a partner that can answer ‘yes’ to each of these questions not only guarantees a successful CRM experience, but it ensures that you can both meet your business needs and improve customer relationship engagement.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
Involvement and Accessibility - Concern to Get it Done Right
Key to successful CRM implementation is your CRM partner’s involvement and ongoing accessibility at each stage of the process. Being involved means helping you to think through CRM program design with three key factors of CRM success in mind.
- People: How the design affects your users and your interactions with customers
- Processes: How to build good processes that empower users and benefit customers
- Technology: How the system should be customized for your specific type of business
Your CRM partner should be involved in guiding you through bridging the gaps between these three factors and getting them to all work together for CRM success. Along the way, you will have questions and concerns that will require your CRM partner’s expertise and problem solving skills. This could be an issue where at some point it is realized additional customization is necessary. A good CRM partner will be a part of the process to give recommendations on the best approach. They will also inform you of any other challenges that could arise from changes and suggest solutions to address them. In addition to the technological aspect of this kind of issue, it might also require having to have additional conversations with key members of the business and revising processes.
Implementing a CRM is a very detailed endeavor and requires a lot of thought and consideration. It isn’t wise to go at it without a CRM partner that lives customer relationship management. One that understands that the right mix of people, processes, and technology guarantees success with CRM and is willing to be involved and accessible to ensure that each part of the mix operates together seamless and optimal as possible.
CRM Training - Transfer of our Knowledge to Your Team
Many times, the failure of a CRM is due to users not receiving training and not having the needed educational resources available. This is a common reason users reject CRM systems and come away feeling that these systems don’t work and worse, only makes their job more difficult. Since these are the people tasked with using the CRM system every day to perform their job, it stands to reason that its vital that they get the proper training at the start and have the educational resources available for future training.
User adoption training should demonstrate how to use the software features. One of the most beneficial training methods is to allow users to pilot the CRM system before going live. This enables them the time and opportunity to learn how the system features work using real customer data. Other methods a good CRM partner should offer is an educational training program designed specifically for your business and end users. One that offers hands on experience in addition to options for online training. Since ongoing training is vital to long-term CRM success it’s important to have access to on demand training material and a CRM partner that cares about your business success will emphasize its importance.
CRM Support - Being there when things get "sticky"
Often training and support are mentioned together without the distinction being made. While training focuses on teaching users how to use the software and its features, CRM support extends beyond implementation and often serves to reinforce training. Even with effective training in place, there will still be questions about software and out-of-the-box questions that your business will have and your CRM partner should be there to provide guidance. It’s almost a guarantee that users won’t remember every detail from training, and when they have questions, the support they receive will build on what they’ve already learned and even serve as a catalyst for additional training. Here are three key areas of support your CRM partner should provide.
Software documentation – this should be easy to reference material that explains how the system was setup up and configured. This document should explain the system’s basic features and the most common solutions to problems in the form of frequently asked questions. This empowers users after the CRM implementation by providing a useful source to reference.
Best Practices – these should help you get the most out of your CRM system. Some businesses implement a CRM and do not use the full range of its capabilities, not realizing how by doing so they can vastly improve their business processes and customer relationship interactions. A good CRM partner will show you how following best practices helps you to maintain clean and quality data and emphasize the importance of continuous communication with users, non-users and customers.
Ongoing Communication – your CRM partner should be available for ongoing communication with you and other users that use the system. They should be able to provide relevant information that makes using the system more effective. Remember, your CRM partner is just that: your partner. And partners communicate. The more frequent and effective the communication the better the chances of having CRM success.