Project Management Tips for CRM Implementation

Project Management Tips for CRM Implementation

If I were speaking to a room full of businesspeople and asked them, "Raise your hand if you have wholeheartedly enjoyed the implementation of a software system in your business!" I may be waiting a while to see some hands. While the idea of a new, more streamlined, and robust system is often embraced with excitement when anticipating the end result, getting it implemented and adopted across the company can be daunting (and exhausting!). This is where project management can add significant value.

There is commonly a project manager on the system implementation team and a project manager or project champion on the client side. We believe choosing an implementation partner who invests in project management is important to allow for a painless process and exceptional end product. (Well, "painless" may be a stretch, but aiming for the lowest possible pain threshold is our goal! Let's be real. There's almost always some pain with change.)

The tips below are some ways to ensure your project is managed efficiently and that your contributions can be well planned.

1. Before Implementation: Prepare ahead of time. Use a checklist!

If you are the organization implementing this new piece of software, being ready ahead of time can be a huge time saver and cut back on unclear communication or expectations during the project. What does "preparing ahead of time" mean? Here are just a few things TopLine Results recommends our customers prepare before diving into a project.

  • Decide on and create your project team internally. Who is involved? Who will make the decisions? How will you make them?
  • Consider enlisting the support of TopLine Results for an objective third-party review of your processes. You can optimize or streamline your processes before implementing a platform to support them.
  • Update process documentation that may be out of date.
  • Document your organization's strategic objectives and platform requirements.
  • Review your data and its accuracy.

2. During Implementation: Take your time and communicate effectively.

Far too often, there is a large project scope planned for too short of a timeframe to allow for the proper thought and quality assurance needed to roll out a well-executed implementation. Your implementation team should be your advisors when setting a realistic timeline to accomplish the requirements you have outlined. The timeline guides the quality of the products and services you receive. Be sure to discuss the timeframe before implementation but continue carefully monitoring throughout the project. Ensure you have the agreed-upon timeline in writing and can review it regularly for issues.

Communication is key to meeting your business goals during the implementation. Power Skills, defined by the Project Management Institute (PMI), are abilities and behaviors that facilitate working with others and help project professionals succeed in the workplace. In short, they are soft skills, like communication. A study by PMI shows that organizations prioritizing power skills at a high level have a higher percentage of finishing projects that have met the business goal. With the success of your project hinging on communication and soft skills, stick to your project communication plan. TopLine offers a customizable communication plan through our dedicated project management tool, video and phone calls, emails, and project documentation.

One solution that TopLine offers customers is a project management tool that can be a central place to house action items and share documents, timelines, and communication during an implementation. Clients have full visibility, including action items and deadlines, throughout each stage of the project. This tool tailors to customers' wants based on how they best communicate. This provides real-time insight into what you, as a customer, still need to complete or what your implementation team is still working on.

3. After Implementation: Monitor issues and progress.

Project management continues even after implementing phase 1 of the system. Managing the adoption and usage of what is implemented is part of a change management process. Anticipate and plan for this before completing the project so you can hit the ground running when the user adoption phase begins. A quality implementation partner will set you up for success when it comes to planning and documenting training. Providing training and a Q&A process as users begin using the system fosters an engaging adoption process. TopLine customizes training and documentation based on your needs, ensuring user guides and other supporting materials for the future. We record these sessions for future reference, aiding new hires or those who missed the live training.

After developing a quality system, it is important to provide ways for users and managers to continue making progress and driving adoption. Set up notifications, dashboards, and reports to provide insight into user adoption and progress in your new system.

There is so much that goes into managing a software implementation project, and each organization's needs are unique. That is why it is important for both the team implementing the software and the organization that will be using the software to collaborate in the project management process from beginning to end.

If you are looking for a CRM implementation partner who can assist your organization in implementing software from start to finish, including customized project management methodology, TopLine Results would be happy to help! Give us a call at 800-880-1960 or email May all your projects be as painless as possible!

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