If two ships set sail at the same time, but with one degree of separation between them, their paths eventually take them to two very different places. Like the analogy, two organizations who deploy their CRM under slightly different processes will end up with two very different situations. Because of this, you should carefully plan your deployment project and the steps involved. Below is a checklist of things we recommend you complete when deploying a new CRM.
Designate an Admin
It’s important to designate a CRM admin for your company at the very start of the process. This is someone who can be held accountable to make sure the CRM is successful. Even if this employee doesn’t have the title of “admin”, they should own the CRM project from start to finish, and be responsible for the success of the CRM after the deployment project is over. Many of our customers promote someone from within the company to become the CRM admin. They often become an advocate for the CRM, a product expert, and a motivator for other employees throughout the company to use it.
Architecture & Design Session with Users Included
One of the steps early on should be to have an architecture and design meeting with your CRM solution partner. This is when you will be discussing how your CRM will be setup and deployed. Your CRM partner should bring creativity and expertise on the product platform, while you and your team will bring knowledge on your business model and processes. It’s important to include all employees who are key stakeholders, so not only management, but the actual users of your CRM. Bring in a user from each department who is going to access the CRM. Take advantage of this session to discover what types of changes (small or large) can be made to the CRM setup to make it more user friendly for your company.
Automating Your Key Business Processes
The whole idea of CRM is to make your job easier and your organization more efficient. The key to this lies in automating your unique business processes. Automating key business processes is the best way to make your CRM help you. Look for the following things to automate:
- Tasks that employees are repeatedly doing manually
- Processes that “slip through the cracks” because an employee forgets to complete it
- Things you have to continually remind employees to complete
- A process that you want to collect data and report on
- Tasks that frustrate employees or that they complain about doing
The problems above can actually be solved quite efficiently with new SugarCRM extension Check List. However, that’s not the limit of its capabilities. Sounds interesting? Well, on top of that, Check List is totally free!
Include Seats for Management
When purchasing software licenses, buy enough licenses for your sales team (or whatever departments are using it) as well as each member of the executive team. Their use of the CRM encourages higher user adoption, and also holds staff accountable for entering data so that when an executive needs to run a report, the data is to populate it is always there.
Training is often overlooked in the deployment process. Many organizations view it as one more line item on an already long list of items they are paying for. But in reality, training increases the ROI of your CRM and therefore we require it with every CRM project. Training improves the success of your CRM deployment by making sure that your team knows how to get what they want out of it. To make sure you get proper training, bring in a dedicated trainer who is an expert on the product, have them build you a customized curriculum, and then train you on your own CRM instance (rather than their demo instance).
This is one of the final (and most critical) steps before deployment. The first impression your users have of the CRM once it launches can have a big impact on user adoption, so make sure you do it right the first time. Testing should be broken into two phases. First, have the engineers involved in the project test to catch bugs, errors, and other things behind the scenes that may not be working correctly. Next, it’s important to have your team do internal testing on your own, and always include the users. They are the ones using the system after all, right? By making the users test, you not only hold them accountable to catch mistakes before it’s deployed, but they are also more likely to notice changes that need to be made since they are the ones who will be using it once all is said and done.
Author: Katie Liesmann