At TopLine Results, we work hard to advise our customers on the best solution to address their needs. Because we are not limited to one product line, we take a client centric approach to problem-solving. Here are some tips based on our experience. They are the five “As” to consider when selecting and implementing a successful CRM.
CRM platforms come in many shapes and sizes with a wide range of price points. Some are more flexible than others. The most rigid ones offer few customization options, including CRMs that were designed for a specific vertical market. Industry-specific solutions may seem attractive at first but use caution, because these highly specialized solutions are often overwhelming in complexity and not very nimble. Sometime industry-specific solutions are a CRM “bolt on” to another platform, such as an ERP. The ERP may be excellent, but the CRM may be an after-thought and consequently far from robust and user-friendly. When picking the appropriate CRM, remember the needs of your sales team, for sure, but also your marketing team, your in-house or field-based service team, and your operations team, as the CRM can have users from many functions!
Select a CRM that will work for you and your company. An out-of-the box CRM may look good in a general demo, but you want more than generic features; you want fields and formats that address your issues and resolve your problems. Choose an implementation team that is willing to invest in understanding and outlining your processes, needs, requirements, and goals. Your CRM should be adaptable, as should your implementation partner. They need to give advice that will help your team be productive and should not re-invent the wheel. Some third-party CRM add-ons will save you time and money. Add-ons can effectively address specific problems and extend the use of your current CRM without major modifications and customizations.
A user-friendly platform with layouts, workflows and automations that support your processes is important for driving engagement and adoption. Adoption relies on many additional factors: 1) how the tool will help individual users, 2) the degree to which CRM integrates with other company systems, and 3) organizational culture, including management buy-in and support. Great adoption will significantly increase your CRM return on investment!
The successful implementation of a CRM and/or a digital marketing platform leads to metrics that can serve your team as well as individual users. Activities and results are more transparent to all. Sales funnels are visible to leaders, teams, and individual contributors. Marketing can look at campaign effectiveness and measure the value they bring to the sales process. A well-designed CRM implementation will help with accountability and should drive positive results!
Based on our experience, the companies which most successfully leverage their CRM investment are the ones that advocate for and use the platform to track all valuable interactions with a customer. Advocacy comes from the top and is often reinforced by a CRM champion who is in sales and marketing. Generally, this is someone who has realized the necessity of the CRM and the benefit it has provided to their own success in building relationships. This person uses the CRM to guide key discussions and to lead meetings. Leadership by example is an important part of a good CRM roll-out.
Successfully embracing a CRM and/or a digital marketing platform requires several elements. Your tool must fit your need (appropriate), be implemented by a flexible and visionary team (adaptability), be used consistently (adoption), serve personal and team goals (accountability) and have a relentless leader on a mission to make it successful (advocacy).
TopLine Results uses technology to solve sales and marketing problems. We help our clients make more money by bringing together the right tools to build profitable relationships. If you’d like our help with any or all of the five “A"s, then give us a call at 1-800-880-1960 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .