Rolling out a successful customer relationship management (CRM) system is hard work. A CRM includes the technologies and strategies a business or organization uses to communicate with its current and potential customers, and documents all the activities a business carries out with its customers. To meet the rollout challenge, a well-defined implementation plan can deliver a favorable outcome for any business or organization. After selecting the right CRM software here are five important steps to take.
1. Have a Project Management Tool and a Designated Project Manager
Ensure there is a project management tool to assist the team. Jira, Asana, and Trello are all great project management tools that can provide a team with critical insight regarding the status of the project.
Make sure individuals on a team can track the level of effort, time, and due dates involved in accomplishing objectives. The project manager should be using the project management board to determine which teammates can take on more work, determine if there are any roadblocks, and identify other teammates who can assist.
Metrics related to tasks help the project manager ensure timely completion. In addition, these metrics allow a project manager to provide critical updates to key stakeholders. Involving key stakeholders will also assist with identifying roadblocks.
2. Ensure Data Integrity Standards
Data Integrity should be considered be the forefront of a CRM rollout to ensure data accuracy and consistency. Before rolling out a solution, has an employee checked that all data points are valid and necessary?
Also, ensure the right stakeholders have validated the data and other elements associated with it. And before new data is placed into the system, make sure existing data has been cleaned.
Validation rules are a quick and effortless way to ensure data is relatively clean. Salesforce evaluates the data in one or more fields in a record and returns a value “True” or “False” value per the requirements set in place. For example, if a city name is abbreviated, then logic can be created to prevent a city from being spelled out. Although this can help with creating data consistency, it does not solve for the data that was entered before the validation rule was created.
In addition, consider what fields should be required. Also, consider ways the user can screen flows and paths to guide users in making the right navigational decisions. Flows are used in Salesforce to automate business processes. They can execute logic, interact with the Salesforce database, and guide users through screens for collecting and updating data. This is considered one of Salesforce’s most powerful automation tools.
Make sure to consider all data points from beginning to end — having the right perspective is critical in this step.
Make sure to test the solution before rolling it out. In Salesforce, this is known as the Sandbox. Things will always go wrong in a CRM system without testing it thoroughly. To ensure a user is not just testing the “happy path,” bring people from your organization to test various aspects of the rollout who might think differently during testing. It is perfectly fine when something breaks in a test environment because errors can be fixed before problems begin.
Ensure there is time allotted for testing and ensure your testing group signs off on the various UAT (User Acceptance Testing) phases. The UAT process should involve logging all bugs in the system with steps to reproduce the issue. After conducting the UAT process, the UAT group should be able to decide if they are comfortable with moving forward with the proposed changes. This is called Go/No-Go call. If the users are satisfied, they should be able to articulate they are comfortable with moving forward and sign off on the UAT testing.
Most importantly, do not hold back on what is needed to make the rollout successful. Keep “peeling back the onion” and acknowledge that what may have worked in the past may not work in the future. It is critical the rollout team addresses any roadblocks that may surface, and it will be up to the team as well as key stakeholders involved to tackle these issues.
4. Training Plan
Document how users should be trained in your CRM system. All the widgets in the world will never replace proper training. Ensure you have a select group of users who will be trained when the rollout occurs. It is important during this step in the process to receive their buy-in. This means ensuring they are comfortable with all changes related to the roll. Emphasize that their participation is critical to the success of this rollout. Feel free to call them “Super Users” or “Super Stars.” Help them as much as possible so they can help others within your organization.
Make sure there is training material for users and the information is right at their fingertips. Training guides are useful only if training sessions are conducted. Training sessions are critical for users to feel confident they are entering information into the CRM system accurately and correctly.
Just like a construction worker needs the right tools to build a house, so does the CRM team. Is there an API (Application Programming Interface), that can make the job easier? If there is a tool that can help validate data and save time, consider using one for the CRM system. For example, Salesforce has the AppExchange. Where all the apps go through security reviews before they are released. Overall, apps can be very helpful in optimizing the CRM experience.
When the implementation plan is concluded, celebrate the successes and acknowledge those responsible for this journey. A successful CRM rollout empowers a business to understand its data, make better decisions, and manage its relationships. Following the above five steps means a business or organization is more likely to have a successful CRM rollout.
WBD knows the value of a CRM for government agencies.
Washington Business Dynamics (WBD) is proud to support our client Veterans Healthcare Administration Innovation Ecosystem (VHA IE) in its efforts to expand its CRM process into an enterprise-wide system that provides better real-time visibility into, and more strategic management of, sometimes high-risk, high-profile, external Agency relationships, including those with private sector partners.
As a leader in the government consulting space, WBD knows the importance of strategic CRM and how to implement it. With a comprehensive process of auditing, proposing, implementing, and optimizing, WBD can craft the right CRM solution for government agencies and beyond.
Author: Justin Greenberg, Senior Associate at WBD, is a certified Salesforce Admin, certified Hubspot professional, and is a CRM strategy development professional engaged with the VHA Innovation Ecosystem.