The benefits of a CRM investment are clear — but what happens when your CRM isn’t living up to your expectations? Unfortunately, it’s a far too common issue. In fact, 40% of users have been through the process of switching CRM technologies.

Whether you’re switching to a new CRM or implementing a CRM for the first time, it’s imperative to have a clear plan of action. Use these eight steps to help:

1. Determine a vision

In a perfect world, how do you envision your organization utilizing a new CRM? What business goals would you like to achieve? This is your opportunity to think boldly.

2. Instill and document good business processes

As intelligent as CRM technologies are becoming, they still lack the human element and all the automation in the world won’t make up for bad habits. Now is the time to analyze your business processes and document the steps in your ideal customer journey.

3. Involve key stakeholders

Which business units will be using your new CRM? Make sure that leaders of each department are included in all decisions moving forward.

4. Make sure you have expertise

If you don’t specialize in CRM implementations, make sure that someone on your team does— whether you bring someone in full time, or hire an outside Salesforce consultant. You need someone who has done this before, so that you can rely on their knowledge. They'll understand the nuances of, and best practices around, the technology and know how to mold it to meet your business needs.

5. Set aside time for a lengthy discovery

Allot plenty of time for you and your implementation team to truly understand your business objectives, goals and vision for the new CRM. This is the opportunity to outline every process and identify possible risks. Rushing through this phase can result in unexpected issues down the road.

6. Designate a project manager

Who will be responsible for the completion and success of your CRM implementation? Designate this person early on in order to avoid any confusion.

7. Communicate, communicate, then communicate some more

Nothing is worse than preparing to go live with your new CRM, only to find that it doesn’t correctly fit your business needs. It’s vital that you are communicating throughout the entire CRM implementation process and identifying any possible issues as they arise.

8. Prioritize training

As intuitive as most CRMs are, they’re certainly not foolproof. Set aside the resources and time necessary to ensure successful adoption by all users.

Implementing a new CRM will yield many benefits, but it’s certainly no small undertaking. Utilizing a clear and organized plan  starting with these eight steps  will help to ensure success. 

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