When it comes to CRM implementation, I definitely know of what I speak. Pipeliner CRM implementation can be done in a fraction of the time of our competitors — without a consultant. Pipeliner can be fully implemented, including administrator and user training, within a week.
For any CRM, here are the fine points of implementation.
For CRM implementation, there are 4 basic roles:
Note that the “project owner” is the person who is overall responsible for CRM implementation. It could be a single individual charged with the project, or it could be someone who also has another job, such as the system administrator.
The project owner must define five basic areas:
- User roles—meaning manager, member, or others as defined. Roles also include access privileges.
- Sales units—defined by territory or other category such as inside and outside sales.
- Pipeline process or processes.
- Forms—account form, lead form and others.
When it comes to Pipeliner, we have plentiful documentation and videos to assist the project owner in getting these areas defined.
The administrator is the person who is continuously maintaining the system. With traditional CRM applications, admin training can weeks or even months. Once training is completed, administration is often a full-time job.
Pipeliner CRM drastically altered the pattern for this. To start with, administrator training for Pipeliner can be completed in 5 hours. Prerequisites? You have to be somewhat familiar with Microsoft products. You have to have an understanding of how a computer works. You have to know what a browser is. This means that almost anyone can learn to administrate Pipeliner CRM.
Once training is completed, Pipeliner administration is a very part-time job. It can be conducted in as little as 2 – 3 hours per month—if that is even necessary.
Prior to learning CRM, a sales manager should understand pipeline management, activity management, and reporting. Learning the CRM would, of course, depend on the CRM. Some take weeks or months. For Pipeliner, it would take no more than 3 hours.
The end user needs to finish up implementation of CRM for themselves personally. They need to learn how to operate the CRM from a user standpoint. The length of training time depends on the CRM being used–as mentioned, it can take weeks or months.
Except, of course, when it comes to Pipeliner, which requires a matter of a few hours. The user must learn about leads, contacts, opportunities, and accounts, and how one becomes the next. Training is, to some degree, ongoing, but we make it easy. With an upcoming release, the software itself shows you what’s new, using videos and graphics.
Facets of Implementation
There are three primary facets, or parts, of CRM implementation.
The most critical portion, technically, of CRM implementation, is importing data into CRM.
Today, data importing isn’t the major issue it once was, thanks to the tools we now have at our disposal. The only vitally important point—and I cannot stress this enough—is that data migration must be completely thought through from the beginning. How do you want each type of data to correlate to others? You’ll have your accounts, contacts, leads, opportunities, notes, documents, activities and more. All of these, of course, must be correlated in the correct way. This is especially important to map out when the data being imported into CRM isn’t all in one place prior to being imported—some data might be in an old CRM, other data might be in another database, and even more might be in an accounting or an ERP system.
Problems arise when the people doing the planning within a company aren’t clear from the beginning on data requirements—which of course is no fault of technology. Today most systems can export data, and others can import it. But if it isn’t clear exactly where this data is going to end up, and what its relationships to other data will be, the end result could be a disaster.
From my experience (which is considerable) I think data should almost always be related by account—the leads, contacts, activities, opportunities, documents, and closed or lost deals related to each account.
Many people want everything done all at once. It never works. The most obvious example is the many years it takes to raise children—they’re born, they grow up, and then become adults. Another example is learning a language—have you ever known anyone to learn a language in a day?
The same is true with a CRM system. Of course, you want it all automated, integrated and running full-steam right at the outset—but it’s just not going to happen. While it’s possible to get a CRM up and running rapidly, integrating everything is done by steps, not overnight.
It actually boils down to precise definition of workflows. For example, what is the most efficient workflow between sales and marketing? Between sales and bookkeeping? Technology can accommodate these today, but they have to be defined. As with data export and import, this is a challenge and a vital step.
Building on workflows, we come to automation. A workflow is not necessarily automated, but it can certainly be automated. Therefore automation is the next level.
Automating processes is what we should all aim for, but it’s different for every company. There is no “standard.” Industries are different—manufacturing is drastically different than finance or insurance.
Especially in comparison to the CRM systems on the market today, our system addresses each of these points in such a way that they can be understood and easily applied. But for our system or anyone else’s, you have to precisely address each of these factors. You have to define the roles, and the project must have the approval and support of company ownership, C-level executives, the sales manager who will be seeing the project through—or all of the above.
You must address each of the facets of implementation: data import, integration, and automation.
The project must be made a priority, and you need transparent success milestones, small and large, that can be observed and experienced so everyone really knows progress is being made toward becoming totally digital.
The results mean lowered risk factors, leveraged opportunities, and ever-increasing transparency and visibility of business processes within your company, division, or group.
Through proper CRM implementation, your company progress is more predictable. And if anything is needed in business—besides revenue—it’s prediction.