A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system could deliver huge benefits across your business, leading to increased efficiency, better customer service and higher profits.

 

It is important that you approach the purchase and installation of your CRM system with care. Read our top tips below with the main steps you should take to understand your particular business needs to ensure you pick the best system. 

 

Develop your CRM strategy

 

Why is your business buying a CRM system? This is a fundamental question to answer. Consider what you’d like to achieve with your CRM. Would you like improved client relationships, integrated customers services or better identification of commercial opportunities? Start by developing a focused roadmap for your CRM to ensure it meets these needs.

 

Perform a data audit

 

A CRM system is only as good as the data it holds. Asses how your business handles and stores the information it collects. It’s vital that the CRM you choose can import your data and integrate different data sources into one pool of information that your entire business can use.

 

Assess your network infrastructure

 

When choosing your CRM, you can either install this at your business premises or use a cloud-based CRM. Whichever you choose, it’s important that your business’s internal network and its connection to the internet is fast and reliable. Your CRM is likely to be in constant use by a variety of people who will access it on different devices, sometimes outside of your office.

 

Develop your CRM implementation roadmap

 

It’s not a great idea to switch on a CRM across your entire business all at once. A staged rollout will enable you to fix any issues that you face along the way. Pick an area of your business, such as sales, to implement your CRM within first and then transfer everyone else to the system when you’re sure it’s stable.

 

Choose the features you need

 

Why are you installing the CRM? The key objectives you have for your CRM system will guide the main features you need it to offer. Think about what you’re going to need now and in the long term to ensure your CRM is futureproofed for potential growth or changes in your business.

 

Look for high levels of integration

 

Some CRM systems can replace many of the applications your business is already using. However, in most cases a new CRM will need to work with your existing applications. Review the core applications your business uses and consider how well they will integrate with your chosen CRM.

 

Choose your shortlist

 

Once you’ve completed the previous steps, you can start looking for a CRM vendor that meets your needs. Typically you can try before you buy with the free trials available. Take advantage of this opportunity to allow your staff to test the systems you are considering purchasing. Take note of the ease of use as you will be using this system daily.

 

Don’t forget the installation and training period

 

Be aware of the level of support you CRM supplier offers. Your CRM needs to be installed correctly to ensure it operates at optimum level and doesn’t disrupt your business. There will be a period of switchover to your new CRM that needs to be managed efficiently. Training should always be a major component of your chosen CRM.

 

What support can you access?

 

During the early days of moving to a CRM system, you are likely to need some help. Consider the level of support that each vendor can offer you. This should be addressed in the Service Level Agreement your CRM vendors offer you.

 

Can your CRM grow with you?

 

Your business will constantly change so it’s vital that your CRM has the capability to support you now and into the future. You don’t want to invest in a system that you will have outgrown within a couple of years. Consider your growth aspirations and what you will realistically need within a few years’ time.

 

Could your business exploit digital technology to cut costs and improve growth?

 

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