When it comes to choosing the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) approach for your business, it’s important to understand all the benefits before beginning your selection process. When you launch a CRM implementation, your choices can impact nearly everyone in your company.

These “Back to Basics” ideas for implementing a CRM program inside a business were collected from executives, managers, employees, and consultants who shared their experiences. The series was created by David Beard, CRM Principal at Sage. The goal of this series of articles is to provide you with useful information as you choose a new CRM system.

Following on from our previous article, we now present our final article and ideas to bring the series to a close.


16. Test, or crash and burn

Don’t overlook the importance of testing the software implementation before rolling it out. A test that involves mock customer data can be invaluable in determining how well the system receives and processes information. It is far better to find a glitch pre-roll-out than to get stuck on one when talking to a customer.

Be sure that your testing includes ensuring that all back-office integrations are working properly. Make a list of typical operations that end-users will engage in, and test each and every one. Try to access data from the accounting system, for example, before a customer service agent needs to actually do so. Try to update customer data in the centralized database and make sure those updates are available throughout the system.


17. Focus on CRM goals

Improve customer satisfaction, shorten sales cycles and increase revenue.  What are your goals and what should you avoid at your peril?

Never lose sight of the fact that the customer is the reason for your CRM implementation. Get feedback from customers to see if their satisfaction levels are really increasing, or if there are improvements they would like to see. If you chose your CRM solution carefully, it should be flexible enough to adapt to evolving customer needs. And don’t overlook your end-user groups.

Consider if the sales employees could benefit from an updated synchronization with their devices that lets them access contact information without always signing onto the CRM system. Ask if the marketing department would benefit from a new kind of analytical report that links post-sale collections data to campaign type? Keep the communication channels open after rollout and keep your CRM solution rolling along.

Equally important, never overlook the power of CRM to self-monitor. Set up metrics that the system can track and always be sure that you are, in fact, increasing customer satisfaction, shortening sales cycles, improving efficiency, winning customers from the competition, increasing profitability per customer and boosting bottom-line sales.

In closing, I hope these “Back to Basics” ideas for implementing a CRM program inside a business has provided you with useful information as you choose a new CRM system.