Refresh your CRM Implementation every year


Implementing CRM for the first time is not an easy task. Handling resistance from key employees is the biggest challenge for first time CRM implementing companies. And executive management has to diligently handle this challenge.

Management and Employees both feel the pain in a different way.

Employees feel CRM is adding additional work without adding any productivity because they feel without CRM also they are able to produce enough results. And they also fear management can monitor them closely and keep asking for an update on information fed into the CRM.

So executive management should be more flexible in listening to the employees and cut down on the scope where employees feel it is cumbersome. 

And as a CRM implementation partner like Bhea, our recommendation to our customers is not to burn the ocean. Literally meaning, do not force the CRM users to use all the features of the product first time. 

After about a year – you will still have 

  1. all the unused features of CRM and 
  2. The new features added by the CRM vendors

Note:  SugarCRM adds new features to its product and releases them religiously every quarter.

We are for sure that the first few quarters companies will be struggling to adopt and enforce CRM usage in the company. So they neither have time to look at unused features or the new features released by the CRM vendor. 

So we visit our customers generally after 3 quarters or after their first renewal. 

Whenever we visited our customers to see how their implementation was going on,  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.

We visited one of our SugarCRM customer who is a manufacturing company. We know they are using leads, accounts, opportunities, and quotes for their Sales Process Automation. We also found they use an excel sheet for forecasting as it is very essential for preparing their manufacturing produce for order execution. 

The surprising thing is they do not know even after using Sugar for more than a year,  that Sugar comes with a forecast module as a standard feature and is connected with the Opportunities module. 

We sat for about two hours and understood their forecasting requirements, and given a demo of Sugar’s default forecasting features. Together with the customer we understood,  their forecasting needs can be fulfilled by out of the box 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.

Once you implement CRM, revisiting the implementation after a year is a best practice. 

Let us look at some of the reasons why you should relook at your CRM implementation after a year or at regular intervals.

Reason 1:  We might have compromised on certain features due to employee resistance during the first time implementation. 

Key employee resistance to CRM might b their old habits being hard-wired in their neural networks. The new way of using the CRM product becomes cumbersome 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 this scenario CRM becomes a glorified excel sheet or a glorified and expensive tool. The same task that was being done earlier on excel is being done the same on an expensive CRM.

But once the team starts using the CRM for a year their familiarity can definitely make them understand 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.

Reason 2. Using too many features the first time might lead to adoption failure.

As an implementation partner with more than a decade of experience with CRM, we do not recommend any of our customers to burn the ocean. Meaning implementing all the features of SugarCRM in the initial stages. We recommend this as it will lead to failure. 

In CRM implementation parlance, it would be called “Do not Burn the Ocean”.  If we try to implement all the features, teams will resist adopting the CRM. 

Sometimes 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.

So when we review after a year, we can look at all such features and enable them.

We visited another customer 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. But every year management wants to know whether it is worth to spend 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 to 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 are not aware of over 2 to 3 years of implementation.

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 exhibition participation and linked their opportunities and accounts manually to make their executive management understand the value of their event participation. 

Reason 3:  Effective use of Teams and Roles

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 records or not. And also what level of information is visible to whom? And during that 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. Or they may even recommend making sure that only their records they see. Some companies may want everyone to see everything and some companies may want to maintain the privacy among the colleagues. Either way Teams and Roles would be something implemented in a short term way.

So in one such customer scenario, the implementation specialist recommended using Global team concept, because one of the team heads had too many complicated requests.  Top management took a 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.

When we reviewed their implementation as part of the CRM Refresh and Refactor service, we recommended them to implement the Teams 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 Teams 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 to have a default team and wherever required we made them 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.

Refactoring Effect

When we are implementing the CRM for the first time, the team is new and know much less about CRM. But after one year, the whole team is having a year of experience in using and implementing CRM.

So freshly looking at CRM with the experience gained, gives you lot more ideas. Many manual processes can be brought into CRM and 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.