CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management software. In the last decade, CRM has grown enormously and has helped several businesses of different sizes to performance and processing the data. CRM is easy to learn and implement with less efforts. It gathers all the customer interaction data under one place for effective management.
To learn in-depth about CRM read – What is CRM?
CRM Implementation Challenges
Integrating CRM for the first time can be time consuming as it needs to deal with different features.
Sometimes key employees may not be skillful enough to learn new methods and technology. This may create a barrier between the management and the executives to be on the same work process. This happens mostly in companies implementing CRM for the first time.
The management and employees both face the hurdles in different ways.
At times Employees feel CRM is adding additional work without adding any productivity because they feel without CRM also they are able to produce enough results. On top of it they also fear management can monitor them closely and keep asking for an update on information fed into the CRM. So executive management tends to be more flexible in listening to the employees and cut down on the scope where employees feel it is cumbersome.
Approach to Implementing a Complete CRM Solution
To all Bhea Partners and Customers, We recommend not to burn the ocean! Meaning, do not force the CRM users to use all the features of the product initially when starting out.
Because, with a full-fledged CRM implementation, after a year you will still have:
- Many unused features of CRM
- Inefficient usage of the features
- Increased manual effort due to mismanaged CRM process
- Management not able to see the expected ROI
Incremental CRM Implementation with SugarCRM
But this scenario is different with SugarCRM as we add new features to our product at every phase and release them routinely every quarter.
We are certain that in the first few months, companies might struggle to adopt and carry out CRM usage. So they neither have time to look at unused features or the new features released by the CRM vendor.
Therefore, we visit our customers generally after 3 quarters or after their first renewal. This duration allows them enough time to settle down.
Whenever we visited our customers to see how their implementation was going, we were able to add a few points to their implementation that would relieve the management of a pain that they never thought can be easily solved by their CRM.
Once, we visited one of our new SugarCRM clients, which is a manufacturing company. We knew they were using leads, accounts, opportunities, and quotes for their Sales Process Automation.
On the other hand, We also found that they were using excel sheets for forecasting as it is very essential for preparing their manufacturing product for order execution.
What surprised us is that, they did not know even after using for more than a year, that SugarCRM comes with a forecast module as a standard feature and is connected with the opportunities module that does all of what they have been doing manually along with foolproof reporting and calculations.
We discussed for about two hours and understood their forecasting requirements, and gave a demo of Sugar’s default forecasting features. Discussing together with the client, we understood their forecasting needs can be fulfilled by the extraordinary forecast module of SugarCRM.
We enabled the forecast module the next day and they were able to have a very stable forecasting solution within 3 months of the rolling out.
CRM Implementation Best Practices
Once you implement CRM, revisiting the implementation at least once a year is very important.
Let us look at some of the reasons why you should recheck your CRM implementation after a year or at regular intervals.
Compromised usage of CRM features
Employee resistance to CRM might be their old habits being hard-wired in their neural systems. The new way of using the CRM product becomes burdensome even though it is easy. The pressure from senior and existing employees puts the management to request the implementation partner to customize CRM to enable the old practice. In such a case CRM becomes a glorified excel sheet or a glorified expensive tool. The same task that was done earlier on Excel, the same was followed exactly on an expensive CRM.
But once the team starts using the CRM for a year, then their understanding can definitely make them accept that there is a better way of doing the same thing. So exploring the key processes that were compromised during the initial implementation and reimplementing them is a way forward.
Scattered focus on too many CRM features
As your SugarCRM implementation partner, we come with more than a decade of experience in CRM and we would not recommend any of our clients to use every feature and practice them at once during initial stages. We would like to warn them as this will lead to failure.
In CRM implementation lingo, it would be called “Do not Burn the Ocean”. If we try to implement all the features, teams will resist adopting the CRM.
Few key Do’s and Dont’s we recommend during the initial stage of SugarCRM implementation are:
- We insist on all stakeholders getting adequately trained on the platform during the initial phase
- We ask the management not to set targets and monitor the employees closely till they learn using the system.
- Also, we recommend not to insist too much on reports during the first few quarters at least.
So when we review after a year, we can look at all such features and enable them.
SugarCRM Implementation for Managing Exhibitions & Events
We visited another client of ours from the manufacturing sector who was using SugarCRM for over 3 years. We started demonstrating the new features of Sugar 9.x and gave an overview of the campaigns module. After seeing the demo, their sales head was checking if they can capture exhibition and event participation in CRM and link to sales team modules like leads and opportunities.
In fact, the company gets a lot of its new customers from exhibitions and events. They spend close to 100K USD on their trips to participate in international exhibitions. So every year management wants to know whether it is worth spending that kind of time on exhibitions or not because they do not have the business that was generated from those exhibitions.
Even though they were using SugarCRM, their exhibition participation was not linked to the business that they were getting.
During our CRM Refresh session, we made an exercise of creating campaigns for each of their exhibitions and made their sales team connect the leads, opportunities, and accounts with the campaign. Within two hours the management was able to see the return on their investments for the campaigns. On the same day, they created campaigns for all the exhibitions for the current financial year and uploaded the contacts made during the participation.
So connecting the marketing budget with the sales was available in SugarCRM but they were not aware of this over 2 to 3 years of implementation.
Periodical CRM Refresh Session is critical to stay up-to-date
A CRM Refresh session was able to open the magic of events and exhibitions RoI. Actually, over a period of two weeks, they uploaded all their last 2 years of exhibition participation and linked their opportunities and accounts manually to make their executive management understand the value of their event participation.
Effective use of Teams and Hierarchy in CRM
When you are implementing CRM for the first time, there will be a lot of confusion whether we need to allow users to see each other’s records or not. Also, on what level of information is visible to whom? and during such time to ensure the team gets into the comfort zone, implementation specialists may recommend them to use the global teams concept so that everything is visible to everyone.
They may even recommend making sure that only their records are seen. Some companies may want everyone to see everything and some companies may want to maintain privacy among the colleagues. Either way teams and hierarchy would be something implemented in a short term way.
So in one such customer scenario, the implementation specialist recommended using the global team concept, because one of the team heads had too many complicated requests. Top management took the decision to go with the global team concept.
This one step has made the whole team based reports useless and made extremely difficult to create reports that they required.
On reviewing their implementation as part of the CRM Refresh and Refactor service, we recommended they implement the team concept. The senior person who influenced the management to adopt the global team left the company, but the compromise in the implementation was still there. Immediately they understood the team concept and implemented it. They used the mass update to add teams to all the records in the system.
At the same time, we ensured each team member was assigned to a default team and wherever required they were made part of multiple teams. Since, they have been using SugarCRM for over 3 years, all these changes they were able to do on their own.
Benefits You Gain on Refactoring CRM
Implementing the CRM for the first time may take time as the team is new and know much less about CRM. Eventually after one year, the whole team can be seen having a year of experience in using and implementing CRM.
So with a fresh perspective, looking at CRM with the experience gained would be different and gives you a lot more ideas. Many manual processes can be brought under CRM and can improve productivity.
It is better to have a session at the end of the year on how to reimplement CRM with more stakeholders and users. This extended service is part of SugarCRM that enables our client to process smoothly without any hurdles faced alone.
If you are facing any CRM related issues contact us today and we will solve your problem in the wink of an eye.Also, check out our blog on Tips and Uses of CRM