The most important considerations

5 Steps to choosing the right CRM

Are you Person A or Person B? Person A – My business has a CRM system in place but it doesn’t do what we need it to do.
Person B – I know we need a CRM but I’ve no idea where to start in regards to planning and choosing the right platform.
Surprisingly, both Person A & Person B have very similar needs.

Here are our 5 steps to follow that will help you choose the right CRM platform:

1: Document your CRM vision

What would the perfect CRM do for our business?

Unsure where to start? Imagine your CRM vision as a two minute pitch to the Dragons in the Den. It needs to contain details about your business vision in the next 3-5 years, what will you need in terms of functionality and the benefits you feel the perfect CRM platform could bring to your business as well as goals you would like to achieve. Write it like you have created the perfect CRM yourself.

Why? – Your initial CRM vision can be referred back to on your journey to find and implement your perfect CRM. It will ensure your core vision is never substituted as you get in the thick of it, although you may add to your vision as you discover functionality available within the different platforms.

2: Find a CRM technology that fits your business:

There are many great CRM technologies Some provide out the box solutions for smaller businesses that can’t readily be customised (in the case of Person A) whilst others provide a fully customisable CRM solution such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, Salesforce or Sage CRM. Shortlist three technologies based on experience, business need compatibility, security and affordability.

Why? – Never shortlist a CRM solution solely based on cost as you will likely end up with a system that will not perform to your specific business requirements. Make sure you look at those other three criteria.

NB: Infinity Group are one of the few Microsoft Gold partners in the UK that provide Microsoft Dynamics 365 customisation and implementation services.

3: Write a CRM brief

Before you can commission a CRM partner you need to have a basic brief, we recommend you write this alongside your CRM vision. Within the brief you should try to cover off these 5 things to discuss in your initial meeting:

1:What business processes does the CRM need to manage?

2:What integrations will need to be implemented? (eg customer portal, email marketing, current billing platform)

3:What needs to be achieved in phase 1 when it’s initially rolled out?

4: How can the CRM system improve current business processes? Identify some specific problems that you regularly experience as a starting point.

5: Where does the CRM need to be housed? In the office or in the cloud? Don’t worry if you are not sure as your partner can advise you.

4: Form a CRM project team internally

In order for a CRM project to run smoothly, it’s imperative that the business sets up its own internal CRM team to work alongside the CRM partner. This team can  share their knowledge of the business, along with ‘ts data and rocesses, enabling both the CRM partner and business to collaborate closely towards the long term goal.

Businesses who do not form a dedicated CRM team risk delays and the CRM  platform not fitting the exact requirements of the business. (This normally happens when the CRM partner hasn’t been informed of business processes) and restricted user adoption as they don’t have the team to launch the CRM platform.

5: Project planning and rollout plan

Once you have chosen the right technology and consultancy partner, it’s important to set a timeline. Most larger CRM partners will work from your requested ‘go live’ date and work the project back from that. Standard project management processes will apply and the chosen CRM partner will provide a dedicated Project Manager (unlikely for a small ‘out the box’ solution). The PM will ensure all project milestones are met and user testing is scheduled at intervals for review.

Of course, there are more than five stages to a full CRM customisation and implementation project. Further refinement will be required to meet the needs of the business as it grows and changes. On that note, it is imperative that you clearly outline the 3-5 year vision within your brief so you know that the solution you have chosen can grow with the business. Many businesses come to us in Person A’s shoes. Most of them tell us that, in hindsight, it was because they hadn’t followed the steps contained in this post.

If you are looking to upgrade your current CRM platform or interested in Microsoft Dynamics 365 please get in touch and we can arrange a demo.

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