A critical factor in achieving post implementation success is to make sure that the CRM software solution directly supports your customer strategy and mirrors your business process model. Accomplishment of this objective begins in the design and planning stage and must be continually revisited during and following the implementation. Implementing CRM software without corresponding CRM strategy is an uphill battle that will eventually unseat even the most successful software implementations.
The CRM software should provide visibility to business process execution and deviations in order to refine processes and drive continuous process improvement. CRM analytics should deliver real-time or near real-time customer and business process visibility to all phases of operations, especially sales, marketing and customer service. Several software as a service (SaaS) and non-hosted CRM software systems do a good job of providing a 360 degree view of the customer relationship, however, establishing the most important metrics and measures will require thoughtful planning and implementation effort.
Use the CRM solution to its fullest extent. The more it is used, the sooner its usage becomes second nature and the sooner that benefits are realized.
In an era of increased compliance and demand for constant system uptime, make sure you build system redundancy and secure the data with a proper system backup as well as business continuity program.
Establish the most salient metrics, begin with a base line and generate ROI and productivity reports on a periodic basis. This will show you what is working or not working relative to initial expectations. It will allow efforts to be put into areas that generate the highest impact results and adjust those areas that are not achieving success. For instance: If there is a specific marketing objective supported by an outreach program – follow it closely, generate reports, analyze, learn and take action.
Get recurring feedback from all CRM stakeholders. Understand their perceptions of what is working and not working. Find out what aspects of the CRM implementation they find to be of the greatest benefits and disappointments. Catalogue and prioritize their suggestions or recommendations for continued efforts.
Proper training of all employees is crucial to post implementation success. This includes clear communications between executives and staff on exactly what is expected of whom and what rewards and or system of benefits are in place for success. Training is a recurring program which should be initiated at least with every CRM software upgrade.
Maintain a working relationship with the CRM manufacturer or solution provider. This relationship will keep you abreast of new advancements and opportunities.
Monitor the data continuously. Make sure that you not only capture customer information and other important data, but also remove bad data that can “gum up” your system. All to often duplicate forms or entries can impinge on productivity. Old data such as closed out accounts need to be removed if they are not properly identified. In other words, keep the system up to date and periodically review the application for duplicate accounts, deprecated information and other erroneous data.
Optimize your software forms as you gain experience with the system. Fine tuning forms will streamline data entry, reduce duplicate keying and make the system much more user friendly.