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CRM Onboarding Done Right
Blog / Pipeliner CRM / Apr 2, 2022 / Posted by Nikolaus Kimla / 108

CRM Onboarding Done Right

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Importance of Getting It Right

Today, there are several reasons that it’s vital that onboarding for a CRM product, especially one such as Pipeliner CRM, be done right.

First, in the last few years, technology has taken giant steps forward. An incredible example is GitHub, the open-source repository, which tripled in scope in the last few years. Today there are an astounding 73 million programmers registered exclusively on GitHub, with over 200 million repository projects.

There have been major advances in interconnectivity. Going back in time, connectors between applications had to be programmed. Coming forward we have API technology—which is consistently innovated—along with webhooks and other technology that will allow applications to plug and play with each other, with immediate data sharing.

Other fundamental innovations have been the automation of workflows and in artificial intelligence. Team members can put their attention onto higher priority work.

Onboarding has Changed

These and other innovations have meant that application onboarding is not what it used to be: purchase, one-time setup and onboarding, training, and then that was it. The software vendor or publisher didn’t contact the purchaser after that. The customer was on their own and would either continue with the product or switch to another after a time. They were never contacted again by the vendor.

This approach is only still true of point solutions. For example, my company used GoToMeeting videoconferencing for four or five years. When we switched to Zoom, we didn’t hear from the publisher or vendor at all. We then used Zoom for the next five years, and have recently changed to Microsoft Team Meeting. During the time we used Zoom, we spent a considerable amount of money on license purchases, perhaps as much as $50,000, and have heard nothing from them since we left them behind. It seems incredible that a company would let a $50,000 customer walk away, but that’s how it is with point solutions—it’s more of a commodity approach. There is nothing more to learn when you have understood the basic functionally of the solution.

Such an approach is not possible for process-driven CRM solutions such as Pipeliner. Society is changing, processes are changing, industries are changing, and companies are changing internally—which means that the operating system for a company, the CRM system, has had to reflect these exponential changes. All of this has meant that onboarding, too, has had to change.

Despite overall increasing complexity, we have created Pipeliner utilizing the principles of cybernetics—the science of simplicity. Despite its robust feature set, Pipeliner is amazingly simple in its approach and ease of use. We’ve also provided more video and other content on our features than any other CRM vendor in the market, to make it as easy as possible for companies and users to stay current.

Customer Complexity

When it comes to CRM implementation, the real complexity comes from the customer side. To deal with this, a customer must have a clear picture of how they need to integrate CRM into their own organization. This integration should be accomplished in iterations.

A CRM is often integrated in the back end with ERP, and in the front end with marketing automation tools or ticketing systems. Note that these are not applications that Pipeliner has attempted to develop, as we don’t believe in an “all-in-one” approach, but the “best-of-breed” approach. In today’s breakneck development pace, no solution can solve all problems and be the best at everything. Pipeliner will never attempt to develop a marketing or scalable ERP or ticketing system because many better ones already exist. For ticketing, Intercom or Zendesk can be easily integrated over Zapier, so there would never be a reason for us to build our own ticketing system.

Because of these needed integrations, onboarding has changed. Before onboarding can begin, a customer must completely understand their own challenges.

To gain this understanding, a company must answer questions such as:

  • Who are the users of the CRM system?
  • What data will the system be using?
  • Where does this data come from?
  • What are the processes that the CRM will be interfacing with?

Today, data must flow through a company like a river, as it must be accessible from anywhere equally. The customer doesn’t care which department of a company they work with—all departments must have the same understanding of customer details so that the customer doesn’t have to repeat them. CRM will need to reflect this data flow as well.

Overall, a company must figure out what it wants to accomplish with CRM.

Length of Time for Onboarding

In the general sense, Pipeliner takes considerably less time to onboard when compared to its most frequent competitors.

But the onboarding timeframe is contingent on how well the customer is prepared. Only the customer knows and must have to hand, the number of units, the number of users, the kinds of user rights the customer will require for each type of user, and all the rest of the information needed for onboarding.

Pricing

Our pricing structure is radically different from those of our competitors. Visit our website for details.

Administration

Our approach concerning CRM administration is also radically different. Other CRM applications require one or more full-time specialists, and when added to the cost of the CRM system itself, this makes for a substantial investment.

Pipeliner CRM requires someone who acts as an administrator, but by no means is it a full-time job. Often this function can be performed in one or two days per month by a single individual.

Pipeliner administration, however, does require substantial knowledge of operations. For Pipeliner, there needs to be someone who runs the CRM project, whether it’s the administrator or someone else. If a project is required to bring CRM up and running, and it’s a larger company, the person should have a good grasp of project management. This person will be incorporating CRM to different departments, and the person will need to understand what each department needs in terms of privileges, security and more.

CRM will also require many different integrations through API and webhook technology.

It used to be the sales manager who would take charge of  Pipeliner CRM, but this is no longer true today. In fact, there is a new role showing up in companies that embraces CRM and other essential functions: RevOps. Short for Revenue Operations. RevOps is defined as “the strategic integration of departments to provide a better end-to-end view to administration and management. Its holistic approach is designed to break down silos between departments.” The word “silo” here refers to a business department or function that is entirely separate from others in the enterprise, which they have tended to be.

Training the Architect (Admin Training)

The administrator or another person in charge of the CRM project requires some training to understand Pipeliner CRM concepts. We created an ebook detailing these concepts, and any administrator who will be overseeing the system should read it. You can download it here.

In a sense, we’re going back to an older training method when it comes to administration, to a time when reading a manual was required. The truth is, you can only communicate so much with videos, and it’s impossible to communicate truly interactive concepts with them. We’re covering several major topics with Pipeliner concepts, and it does take some time and study. It’s best to read these materials and then ask questions.

In truth, the administrator is, for their company, the architect of the system. Pipeliner provides many different options, many ways it can be personalized, what rights a user may have, and more. For example, particular fields and forms for certain users might be read-only or not even visible. To other users, access and rights to these will be essential. There will be different types of fields such as intelligent fields, lookup fields, redirecting fields and others. The administrator will have to understand these and be able to guide onboarding based on all these requirements.

Along with our partners, we’re definitely here to help. Our partners are experts in Pipeliner CRM and how it is implemented.

The administrator is the overall architect of Pipeliner CRM within their company—in charge of “building the house,” if you will. Only after the house is initially built and fully functional can the people who will live in the house, the users, move in.

Training of Users

As the users “move into the house,” they will be require training. Once the system is up and running, users can be trained in a matter of hours (as opposed to days, weeks or even sometimes months for other CRM systems).

Pipeliner CRM is a very visual system, and users take to it easily for that reason. They also learn quickly to love it, as it—unlike other CRM systems they may have had to use in the past—actually empowers them to sell.

Making Changes

Now, after the users have occupied the house for a bit, they may want to make slight changes—little things such as color and appearance. Pipeliner is a system that can instantly be changed, so we call it Instant Dynamic Visualization. No “experts” or programmers are needed.

Transference of Knowledge for Front-End Users

Another aspect of flexibility is quite important, especially when a sales rep leaves a company—the handoff. When someone leaves an organization, they need to hand off their work to someone else so that the departing salesperson’s sales can continue without a hitch.

If a CRM application is complicated, this can be an overwhelming proposition. Not only does the incoming rep have to learn a complex CRM application, but must also understand the pending sales within that CRM application. If another existing rep is taking over the departing rep’s sales, it will be easier because the “new” rep already knows the CRM application. But if CRM is complex, it can also be a problem of picking up every ongoing opportunity, just because tracking them is difficult.

Hiring and training a new sales rep is always a lengthy, costly, and somewhat risky undertaking. The last thing you want is to add the risk of having opportunities fall through the cracks or be lost altogether.

Once again, Pipeliner CRM excels here. Most salespeople will be able to pick up the handoff in less than a day, a few days at most.

Centralized and Decentralized

Today we have two opposite trends that are yet running parallel: centralization and decentralization.

The business world, and society itself, is becoming increasingly decentralized. People are working from home, and companies have realized they don’t need big, expensive central offices. Pipeliner is a prime example of that—we no longer have offices, and we have happy team members and increasing success as a business.

Everyone needs access from decentralized locations to a centralized data repository and technology hub. And while Pipeliner is organizationally decentralized, we’re actually the most centralized CRM system in the world. Our technology cannot be interfered with or changed by anyone, which is our architecture.

These two streams—centralization and decentralization—have to be in harmony in order to be flexible, efficient and effective. And Pipeliner certainly has all three qualifications.

How do you know it’s effective? Because people use it. In a decentralized environment, people need a centralized system. Pipeliner has all the capabilities. To take full advantage of them, companies must completely work out what they want to achieve with those capabilities.

Lastly, onboarding has taken on an infinity quality, as described in our last article on this subject. It is now done in iterations, instead of all at once.

Sign up for your free Pipeliner CRM trial today.

About Author

A 30-year veteran of the computer industry, Nikolaus has founded and run several software companies. He and his company uptime iTechnology are the developers of World-Check, a risk intelligence platform eventually sold to Thomson Reuters for $520 million. He is currently the founder and CEO of Pipelinersales, Inc., developer and publisher of Pipeliner CRM, the first CRM application aimed squarely at actually empowering salespeople. Also a prolific writer, Nikolaus has authored over 100 ebooks, articles, and white papers addressing the subjects of sales management, leadership and sales itself.

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