The importance of establishing effective customer relationships is enormous, especially as customers are at the core of every organization’s operation and success strategies. CRMs have evolved over time, and today’s business landscape is offered with CRM options that have next-gen technologies integrated within. Cloud-based CRM is being one such example attracts a significant chunk of attention towards them, but their implementation can be troublesome.
The global CRM market is expected to reach USD 106.6 Billion by 2028, it is evident how rapidly CRMs are being adopted by businesses to yield successful outcomes.
Implementing a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) system can be a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. In this article, we will discuss the best practices for cloud-based CRM implementation.
1. Define objectives
What are your business requirements?
What is driving your need for a cloud-based CRM? What do you aim to achieve and what problems do you wish to solve? Knowing your objectives and business requirements is the very first step you must take when planning to implement a cloud-based CRM.
Often, enterprises fail to recognize the core objectives behind their move to SaaS CRMs. But, how would you know the right CRM for your business if you don’t understand your requirements in the first place?
It is critical to carefully examine and define the business objectives that you want to achieve with your CRM system. Then, proceed to establish realistic goals and formulate elaborate documentation for the same. The documentation must define the goals you wish to be accomplished by CRM adoption and include the procedures that will be implemented to attain them.
Some common objectives or business requirements you can include are:
- Creating a centralized data repository with clean data and reliable mailing/event lists
- Improving sales performance
- Streamlining workflows
- Enhancing customer experiences
- Increasing customer retention rates
When you define goals and objectives in advance, you establish the basic metrics for measuring progress throughout the project’s lifecycle. However, setting up realistic goals is critical to ensure long-term stability and success.
2. Customize the system, but keep it simple
How can you personalize and scale for the future?
Investing in a CRM platform is not an economical project, which is why it is critical to think of the long term when doing so. Identify a CRM platform that will not only meet your needs today, but also scale and grow with your business as user requirements change.
Customizing a CRM may include:
- Customized workflows
- Custom reports and dashboards
- Integrations with other in-house and third-party systems
Additionally, you might want to consider opting for a future-ready CRM platform with built-in intelligence. A new generation cloud-based CRM can offer multiple benefits like:
- Housing data, software, and services in a secure cloud environment
- Freeing you from costly and time-intensive software installations
- Automating data entries and service case routing
- Freeing up time and resources to provide more personalized services to customers
- Generating insights to understand customers better
- Predicting customer behaviors for more personalization
- Scaling up with the business
- Offering highly customizable options
However, when faced with multiple compatible options, it is natural for your team to invest in something that’s more complex than required. It is crucial to realize the importance of simplicity, and how the best CRM for your business will be the one that meets your unique requirements thoroughly. Hence, you must not go out of the way to complicate the CRM for the sake of customization. Keep it as simple as possible to ensure effectiveness and easy navigation.
3. Train your staff
Does your team have access to helpful resources and proper support?
Returns on investment in cloud-based CRMs are significant. However, all returns are negated if your staff fails to utilize the tool properly. Educate your employees about using the new CRM system optimally:
- Provide comprehensive training that covers all features and functionality
- Provide team-specific training; for example, contact segmentation & reporting for the marketing team, data quality best practices for data teams, close rates improvement training for sales teams, and insight extraction from metrics or reports for managers/management teams.
- Offer ongoing support to ensure that employees can utilize the system efficiently
- Focus on assisting the staff in understanding the presented information
- Test the staff on what has been trained and learned
- Give periodic retraining and testing to ensure retention
Implementation of cloud-based CRMs involves change management. Operations are diverted from the status quo, which is why it is essential to train your staff with a customized approach according to their team roles. Additionally, CRM training must be ongoing to ensure that the tool is always used to the best of its capacity in order to generate outstanding returns on investments.
4. Monitor performance
Have relevant rules & metrics been laid down to track progress?
A cloud-based CRM will only be as effective as you allow it to be. It won’t be much helpful if not used optimally. On the other hand, it can be exceptionally profitable if leveraged in an optimal manner. To ensure the latter, it is essential to monitor its performance regularly.
Tracking the progress of your cloud-based CRM must be a routine practice which needs to start from the implementation process itself. This practice will help you determine the CRM operation’s success rate along with boosting user experiences and adoption.
Leverage analytics and reporting tools to track key metrics:
- Sales performance – To drive growth of sales, identify sales activity trends, track strategy effectiveness, and detect areas that need improvement. For example, sales growth, conversion rate, and sales cycle length.
- Customer engagement – To assess success rates of marketing campaigns and identify improvement opportunities for better customer engagement. For example, click-through rates, response rates, and open rates.
- Customer satisfaction – To track the effectiveness of the cloud-based CRM in meeting customer expectations and needs. For example, customer retention rates and Net Promoter Scores (NPS).
- System performance – To detect technical issues and ensure seamless operations. For example, system uptime metrics.
Additionally, establish a rules list pertaining to the use of the CRM which guides everyone to leverage the software ethically and correctly. This will ensure a more unified team and guarantee a smoother transition. Monitoring performance helps you ensure that all business requirements are being met effectively. However, you must ensure that the key metrics being leveraged to monitor performance align with the business objectives to deliver true value to the organization.
5. Choose the right CRM vendor
How will you vet vendors to partner with the right one?
Today, the options for cloud-based CRM vendors in the market are many. So how will you know which one is the right partnership for your business?
Selecting a CRM vendor that aligns with your business requirements and values is critical to ensure a successful and long-term partnership. Partnering with a vendor that does not match your requirements can have a drastically deteriorating impact on your CRM implementation project.
- Research and evaluate. Research and evaluate CMS vendors to shortlist the ones that align with your business objectives and needs. Consider factors like vendor reputation, customer support, and pricing. Ensure that you know every detail about a vendor, including their experience, responsiveness, clients, and partnerships.
- Consider customization and flexibility. A cloud-based CRM system must be customizable and flexible to meet the unique needs of your organization. Consider the vendors that offer customization options and have a flexible architecture with the potential to accommodate changes that will occur in your business processes over the years.
- Evaluate integration capabilities. The cloud-based CRM system you implement must integrate with your other business applications seamlessly, which is why it is critical to assess the integration capabilities and skills of the CRM vendor you choose.
- Consider security and data privacy. Ensure that you partner with a vendor that is compliant with all relevant data protection regulations and has set up strong data encryption and security protocols.
- Get references and demos. Ask the vendor for a demo of the CRM implementation before making the final decision. Additionally, ask for references within your network and get first-hand feedback from colleagues who have partnered with cloud-based CRM vendors in the past.
It is always advantageous to partner with a vendor that offers a complete end-to-end solution. Additionally, look for vendors that provide support and resources beyond the initial training.
6. Automate, Automate, Automate
Automate the heck out of your CRM processes. Use CRM automation to automate workflows and give your team more time to do high-value functions instead of menial tasks. Allow your sales and service reps to focus on engaging customers, and not remembering where to track down certain data or what to do next with each customer — the system can and should do that for them. The more the workflow can be automated and guide users to the next best action for each customer, the more users will not just adopt but love the CRM system. Some benefits you get by automating processes are:
- Get faster and effective customer service
- Get high-level and richer data analytics and reports to facilitate accurate decision-making
- Simplified task tracking which removes the responsibility of remembering to perform low-level tasks
- Enriched data afforded by a robust CRM automation system and strategy has a positive impact on sales productivity
Taking it Ahead
Cloud-based CRM is an amazing technology that is transforming the way businesses interact with customers. Although a cloud-based CRM offers multiple benefits, it will not yield beneficial results unless your team is willing to do its part effectively integrating it into your business optimally. Implementing the best practices for cloud-based CRM implementations can help you make the most out of your customer relationships and translate them into profits in the long run.
CRM deployment can still leave you with a nerve-wracking experience. As a CRM Implementation Consultant, Uneecops is ready to support you with a consistent CRM Implementation Plan and detailed guidance. Get in touch with us to boost your sales and increase business efficiency.