By Sharla Sikes
It’s pretty tough to jump right into customer relationship management software and see immediate results, but there are things you can do to make sure you’re set up for the best possible results.
Merrell Ligons shares a few tips to get your system going in the right direction from the start.
Planning. Rather than trying to hit the ground running, take some time to meet with the whole team. When everyone knows what’s coming next and what their involvement may be Inflatable Arch, you’ll have a team that pulls together. Even if your plan isn’t spot-on, that can be fixed as problems arise; but knowing
where you want to go, and having everyone you work with on the same page, gives you an edge.
Software. If you don’t have the advantage of a
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â€œlarge technical staff, extra servers, a robust network, and a lot of time to troubleshoot,â€ Ligons recommends avoiding any time of new hardware; software-as-a-service is much easier.
End users. Get your sales
reps on board. Ligon says this is a stumbling block for many CRM projects; the system is designed and implemented from the top down, while those who will be using the software are left out of the loop.
Most management staff already have a lot on their plate, but in implementing CRM you need their leadership. â€œIf the front line reps know their manager doesnâ€™t care about the system then the reps wonâ€™t use it,â€ Ligon says.
Coordination. Cross-departmental coordination sounds like a big headache, but since CRM software is a system that almost everyone will use, make sure the marketing, administration and accounting departments know how everything will work, too.
Data. Data integrity is the backbone of any CRM system. Appoint one personâ€”Ligon uses the title â€œData Czarâ€–to ensure the integrity of your data.
Discipline. Everyone must be on board with using the new software, despite those who may prefer the â€œold way.â€ Discipline and commitment will give you a head start on CRM success.
Sales. With CRM, you’ll have the opportunity to try new sales opportunities. Ask yourself, â€œHow can my CRM system improve sales?â€ â€œThe goal with CRM should be to touch every customer every month,â€ Ligon says. Increased customer contact will bring more sales.
Champion. If one person makes the CRM system their pet project, then you’ll have one person who cares enough to put in extra effort to make it succeed. The champion will work to get other team members on board and
take care of all the little details.
Finding a champion for your CRM project will go a long way toward ensuring its success.
Data, again. Data integrity is key. If the sales reps are not making sure the data they enter is clean, you’re going to have a big problem. Each contact should have all contact information, and it must be current and correct. Correcting incomplete or out of date information is â€œtedious, boring, costly, and could have been avoided in the first place,â€ Ligon says.