One of the absolute ways in which any business can retain and increase customers is through perfect customer relations. In an age when customers are spoiled with choices and varieties of the same product, it is easy to get customers and also to lose them. The struggle is to create deeper bonds and relationships with the customers so that they become lifelong fans of your products. According to Marketing Metrics, the success rate of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is only 5-20%.

For this ‘Customer Relation Management” is a handy tool to have at your disposal which enables you to know more about your customers’ preferences and buying nature so that you can provide them with the best services and quality that will leave an indelible mark on their minds about your company. 

CRM has notably seen to have increased profit margin by up to 500% where it’s implementation has been impeccable. In such a scenario it is important to know the fool-proof steps you can take to implement CRM for your business. 

The following are the ways to implement CRM in your organization:

Understand why you need CRM: Identifying the needs of your business is half of the work done. Unless you know why and where CRM is best used in your company it will be difficult to find the right kind of CRM tools that will be beneficial for your company. Consult with employees and team members to understand the requirements of your company so that it becomes easier to take forward the CRM implementation process. 

Identify your goals: The requirements of companies vary according to the goals they want to achieve through CRM. Knowing what you want to achieve through CRM will be a great step towards organized CRM implementation. If the goal is to get more customers or bring back old customers, it is better to have a clear vision in mind. This helps a company to provide measured responsibilities and assign responsibilities to respective departments which will lead to achieving faster results through CRM. 

Bring together all the relevant documents: Once you have successfully identified the areas your company needs to work on, find all the documents relevant to the area, which will enable you to have a clear picture of the path ahead. It is a cumbersome exercise to change the course of your business which means when you are implementing CRM it is important for the company that it yields better results and in less amount of time. Having the relevant documents within your reach will enable you to get the maximum benefit from CRM.

Identify the weak points of your company: There is always a scope of improvement within a company. That being said, there are some areas which need more improvement than others. It is important to identify those areas which are creating a blockade in getting the results that are desired. In many cases, CRM experts can come and do the work for you and find areas where CRM can be implemented. But the same work can be done by an employee in your organization who is well versed with CRM tools. Take the help of your employees who know the weak points within the organization and who can help in understanding the proficient way CRM can yield the best result. 

CRM is as good as the business processes: CRM can only do so much within an organization that has a flawed system. Unless the correct input is provided, the result will not be the desired one. The best way to go forward with CRM is to bring about change at the organizational level. Provide guidelines and make them simplified wherever required. At the same time make sure to allot uniform practices in all the departments so that you get uniform results. Change is difficult in any organization, so convince employees to the changes and bring them on board to the new policies. 

Draft a clear plan: Have a clear plan of action for CRM implementation. Make sure all the procedures and data are handy that will lead to the CRM system. Since every business has its own unique requirements from the CRM tool, you can even ask your CRM provider to make the necessary changes in your CRM that will best cater to your needs. 

Plan ahead your data transfer: This is probably the most important step in a successful CRM implementation. Correct data transfer can make or break the system that is being put to work. Consult with your team members and employees about the transfer of data and make every concerned party aware of such a step. Since the workings of a company can face downtime during this period it is important that everyone is prepared for this step. It is imperative that the data transfer is absolutely accurate, or it can have fatal consequences. Keep everyone in the loop for the efficient development of the company. 

Let everyone be aware of the vision: CRM implementation can be a success only if everyone in the organization has the same vision related to the developments. CRM does not only affect the sales team but it affects the organization as a whole. Thus it is important that everyone understands the stakes and that they are given enough time to become well versed with the new system since they have to work with a new set of tools and functionalities. So many changes can become overwhelming for your employees which means they have to be convinced about the benefits that the new system can yield. Everyone within the organization has to have the same vision for the seamless working of Sales CRM

Test out the tool before it goes live: Always do a test run to know that everything that needs to be input is in place and that there are no errors in any of the steps. Be sure that the whole system is running smoothly before CRM goes live. 

CRM is ready to be live: Once all the tests come out positive, it is time to let the CRM go live. Get everyone involved in the new tools and create a positive attitude towards CRM so that everyone is geared to make the full use of the CRM possibilities. After CRM goes live, make sure to keep monitoring the performance of the CRM tools. Get your clients and users to share their experience about the CRM and ask for their input in making CRM a success in your organization. 

CRM tools are full of possibilities. But the steps to take right before CRM is efficiently utilized is crucial for its success. Make sure to take the above necessary steps and consult with your team really well at all levels so that you are sure to succeed.

By Eddy

Eddy is the editorial columnist in Business Fundas, and oversees partner relationships. He posts articles of partners on various topics related to strategy, marketing, supply chain, technology management, social media, e-business, finance, economics and operations management. The articles posted are copyrighted under a Creative Commons unported license 4.0. To contact him, please direct your emails to [email protected].