Change is hard.
From the very start of your CRM implementation project, you must work harder to instill a culture of positivity, not negativity.
Too many times, users complain at the water cooler (or a virtual water cooler) about “how awful the new CRM system is.” Then, they figure out ways to get around using the system just to appease their bosses.
Early in your CRM implementation project, you should have a system to capture all user issues and wish list items to show that they are being taken seriously. You will not make changes immediately, but the items need to be documented, and users need to feel heard.
When is the right time to address issues and wish lists during the CRM implementation?
There is so much CRM can do to transform your business. But first, you need to focus on getting it installed so you can start using the system. Most companies come from Excel, Outlook, and sticky notes, so the benefits will be apparent immediately. As you begin to reap the benefits, users will understand how it works and have a better idea of how they want it to be improved.
After the core system is up and running, the issues and wish lists will have started to fill in pretty nicely. Now is the time to look at those lists to figure out which items can be fixed internally, where your Partner can help, and the actions that will give you the biggest bang for your buck.
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Read: Tips to Maximize the First 100 Days of CRM Adoption
When you address the wish lists, your goal is twofold. The first is to improve the CRM system. To make things better for your team and streamline operations even more.
The second, which I feel is the most important piece, is to build a culture of iteration. The iterative approach helps you keep realistic expectations. It also reduces the impact on your employees, allowing company culture to evolve and improve along with the system – and for the system to continue to adapt to your company culture rather than define it.
You want your users to feel that they are being heard and that there is no reason to negatively complain about the CRM system. If they put their feedback through the feedback loop, changes WILL happen over time.
Schedule regular times to review the wish list items. As your business grows and evolves, so will your needs for the CRM system. A CRM implementation is not a “once and done” project.
Honestly, you want to keep systematically capturing issues and wishes forever, as you will always be improving the system.
When is it too late for wish lists to fix your CRM system?
It is never too late.
If you feel like your “CRM system doesn’t work,” don’t automatically default to the idea of replacing the technology. Moving to another system is often a case of “the grass is always greener,” and you will realize you have the same issues over there. It is always worth trying to salvage what you have.
Start by getting the key users together and compiling a list of complaints, issues, and wishes. Then, present those to your CRM partner, or find a new CRM partner that can help you.
When our firm has been asked to come in and salvage a failing CRM project, we work with the list of all the things that users feel are wrong with the system. Sometimes our customers are surprised that we can knock out 70% of the list with just a session or two to focus on improvements.
The right CRM partner is the key. That is what should truly be on your wish list.
Does your CRM wish list include a money-back guarantee?
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By Peter Wolf, Azamba Consulting Group,