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Manager's checklist for a successful CRM implementation

In this article

    Implementing CRM takes time and effort, there’s no way around it. You need to get your people on board and move in the same direction. To help you, we've defined 9 steps for implementing your new CRM system successfully in your organization.

    When implementing a CRM system, there is no other factor more important than getting your employees to use it. To get them on board, you need them to overcome their natural resistance to change.

    To get people on board, we suggest you use a combination of personal involvement and official guidelines. We advise you to involve your key people early when deciding how to implement your new solution. Motivate change by pointing to the benefits for your customers, for your company, and ultimately for your people.

    To get you going, we have created a checklist for you with all the important aspects of implementing CRM.

    1. Define and communicate your strategy

    When you implement a CRM system, your organization needs to re-think routines and come up with best practices. This way, you make sure your new system reflects your way of working.

    You can, of course, use the system as is, since we have created it to fit your basic needs out-of-the-box. But the more you tailor it to your unique work habits, the easier it will be to get your staff to be happy and productive. You will also get better reporting data.

    Tasks:

    1. Decide on the main goals for using your new CRM solution
    2. Create best practices for your routines and your company's way of working
    3. Decide what you want to measure with your CRM system

    Tip: Write down the goals you want to achieve with SuperOffice CRM. Gather your management team and ask them to do the same thing. Sum it all up and describe where you are today. This is a great start for defining how you want to set up your system so it supports tasks and routines. It is smart to start small and simple. It is better to get four actions going and then adjust than to postpone the project until everything is perfect – because it will never be.

    2. Get your management team on board

    Part of implementing CRM is building a CRM culture. CRM needs to become part of how you do business, and you need to create routines to support this. These efforts involve all parts of your business.

    You as a manager – and your management team if you have one – play a key role in building a CRM culture. As a manager, you will need to be a role model for your team.

    When management supports the project actively, it will bring a positive attitude to the whole organization. So get involved, from the start.

    Task: Decide how your management team can to be a part of the CRM implementation project. Make a list of how you and your management team would like to use the system and what you expect your team members to use in the system. A few examples of quick-wins to create a company CRM culture could be:
    1. Add new business contacts into the system on a daily basis
    2. Archive business e-mails on the customer card when they arrive
    3. Add all opportunities into the system as they show up
    4. Add e-mail address on every contact to improve your mailing list qualityBook all meetings into the system, both internal and external

    3. Appoint a project manager and back her up

    As a manager, you might not have the time to oversee the entire implementation of your CRM system yourself. So, make someone responsible for the project, and give him or her trust, mandate, time, and resources to do it right.

    The project manager should drive the project, get all the necessary steps done, and make sure you meet your defined goals.

    The project manager does not have to be someone from management. A "doer" with enthusiasm, passion, and focus on details would be great.

    Remember to give the project manager mental support and praise. Implementing CRM requires people to change the way they are working, which can conjure up some resistance. So, make sure you are there to help and back up key decisions.

    4. Appoint a SuperOffice administrator

    An administrator is a key resource in a CRM implementation. The administrator will have the necessary rights for setting up your system to fit your company's needs.

    Your administrator is often your contact point toward SuperOffice for support, services and adding/changing user plans for teams.

    The administrator will often become a "super-user", a great resource for the rest of your team.

    In small teams, you might appoint the administrator and the project manager can be the same person.

    Task: Appoint an administrator and make sure she gets the necessary training. Then, in your weekly meetings, invite your administrator to Q&A-sessions (questions and answers) for your team. Ask her to inspire all users to complete the e-learning training as well. You can find this under the top right menu when logged in.

    5. Get users on board

    When you implement CRM, each individual must change their work pattern according to the new system. If all users use CRM as intended, then you as a company will get the return of investment you seek.

    The success of getting your users on board lies in good internal communications and routines. By communicating a clear vision, it will be easier to get all your users on board.

    We advise you to:

    • Communicate the direction you want to go and the goals you are trying to achieve.
    • Encourage proper use of the system on a regular basis.
    • Praise people in public for great use and discuss great stories and examples.

    Task: Create a document where you briefly explain your goals and how you wish to achieve them. Send it to all users.

    6. Create internal guidelines

    A CRM system is only as good as the data you put into it. So it is essential that everyone follows common guidelines for how to fill in data.

    Guidelines should, for example, explain how to include new company data, or how to register a sale. The guidelines should be discussed, defined, written down, presented, and enforced to create a CRM culture. (Remember to keep it simple).

    Missing guidelines may lead to inconsistent use:

    • If three people in your sales team add their sales into SuperOffice, and one does not, but rather keeps his sales in a spreadsheet, your sales manager may think that this person is not working on any sales opportunities at all.
    • If you forget to add an email address to a contact, you will miss sending your next newsletter to this person, which is a missed opportunity for more sales.

    Task: Make sure you agree on your internal guidelines, and enforce them. Write down five basic points that all users should follow. On your next weekly meeting, show directly from the system your selection called “New contacts added last week”. Use it to praise the ones adding contacts, and the rest will follow.

    7. Launch with a bang

    When implementing your new CRM system, you need to "sell" it to your colleagues. The mantra should be motivation – motivation – motivation. Decide on a launch date, and plan a launch happening. It doesn’t have to cost much money, but it should mark the beginning of the future and create some enthusiasm. And most people love cake.

    Task: Plan how you are going to motivate your users to start using the system. Set the date for your internal launch. Write a cool article for your intranet, order a poster and a special launch t-shirt and so on. Then you need to start lobbying. Walk around, ask people how it’s going, and help them along.

    8. Schedule training sessions

    Some people get a kick out of a new system and start to use it right away. Others may be skeptical to a new way of working.

    You and your project manager should create strategies to handle both user groups.

    We have put in place a few ways to help your users:

    1. Every employee will receive an email program with practical tips on how to get started with the most relevant challenges they have in their daily jobs
    2. Everyone can easily access our free e-learning course located under the Help menu in the system

    Apart from this, we encourage you to organize small weekly sessions for getting started with what's important for your company.

    Contact SuperOffice for discussing professional services if you need som help

    You should also include an introduction to your CRM system in your internal training program for new employees. Then, new employees will get on the right track from the start.

    Task: You will find a comprehensive free e-learning program included in your system. Encourage your team to complete the course and send you an email when completed. Perhaps you can have a competition with prizes?

    9. Go "all in", there is no such thing as "this is not for me"

    You might meet resistance from people in your organization – even when you follow this checklist. Therefore you should consider how to deal with a negative attitude toward the changes a CRM system brings.

    You might encounter attitudes like “in finance we work in a different way, and have no need for a CRM system”, or “I have all my emails saved in folders in Outlook, so I already know how to find them”.

    Prepare yourself for these attitudes. The best thing to remember is the following: When in a workplace, the company owns your production, and a CRM system ensures that all documentation is stored in one common database owned by the company.

    Task: Implementing CRM is a great opportunity to tell success stories. When you hear them, tell them to your team. There will be many stories to be told that will encourage your users. And as a manager, share your own frustrations as well. You are not perfect; nobody is. But laughing and enjoying the stories will make your daily work more fun and, in the end, more valuable.

    Get started

    Now it is your turn to kickstart your new CRM project. If you have completed all or some of these tasks we mention in this checklist, you are on your way.

    After your launch, you may want to look closer at which business challenges you want to solve using CRM. Here's an article about how to solve 4 common business challenges companies have when it comes to finding more leads, closing more deals, and keeping customers happy.