Building a CRM system that will make your Sales team more effective and your business more competitive is not just a matter of choosing the right technology; it also requires a vision of what you want to achieve, and the ability to get your organization to weigh in behind you on it.
At salesforce.com, we’ve learned that there are six key steps when launching a CRM system:
You’ll notice these steps are business focused, not technology focused. They’re related to your organization’s business priorities, rather than to how you configure Salesforce. However, by taking those steps, you clarify your goals and make implementing and configuring Salesforce much simpler.
Cindy Pogrund recently spoke to us about her experiences implementing Salesforce. Cindy is EVP of Customer Experience at Ifbyphone, an industry leader in voice-based marketing automation, and many of the points she made reinforce how important this 6-step process is. In particular, Cindy stresses the need to start early and do your prep work: think about your sales processes, what stakeholders need to be involved, and how to manage the rollout, before you start implementing.
It sounds obvious, but how can you get what you want unless you know what it is you want? Your vision could be many things, from becoming market leader for sales in your region, to redefining customer service within your industry; whatever it is, it needs to be both aspirational enough to make an impact on your business, and clear enough that the entire organization can understand it. Executive sponsorship is vital for this, and for a successful rollout, period. Lack of executive sponsorship is one of the top three contributing factors to CRM failure, but having an effective executive sponsor means the vision for your CRM project is clear and communicated to the whole company.
According to Cindy, an executive sponsor should be like the coach of a football team – someone who can be both a motivator and an enforcer, setting goals and making sure people stick to them.
Strategy is what makes your vision achievable. You want to be market leader for sales? Well, do you do this by competing on price, or by offering different products, or by emphasizing your great after-sales service? And if you want to implement Salesforce, what’s your strategy for doing so?
For Cindy, there were two key elements to Ifbyphone’s implementation strategy: first, stakeholders at all levels of the company were involved early. Second, she hired experts and have a partner company do the implementation. The first decision ensured input and buy in from everyone who would be using Salesforce, including sales reps, sales managers, marketing, customer success, developers, and execs. The second decision made for a more cost effective implementation, allowing Ifbyphone’s developers to concentrate on creating their own products.
Business objectives is where the rubber meets the road, where vision and strategy get translated into the day-to-day work. A common mistake when implementing a new CRM system is to replicate in it all the old business objectives and processes they’ve used for years, complete with their inefficiencies. Instead, look at your implementation as an opportunity to review and optimize how you work. That’s exactly what the Ifbyphone team did: they ended up redesigning their lead, sales and onboarding processes to ensure better data quality and lead conversion, and to ensure key info was visible at all stages of the customer lifecycle.
As Cindy puts it, you’ve got to burn the comfort blanket – if you’re moving from an old system, leave it behind and make sure users are fully adopting the new improved one.
“You cannot manage what you cannot measure” is an adage that's been attributed to many business thinkers. For the Ifbyphone implementation, metrics had to be visible to everyone, and this meant dashboards for all levels of the organization – for sales reps, sales managers and for execs. Remember, stakeholders had been involved early on, so Cindy was able to deliver dashboards that helped people do their job. This helped with adoption, not just with metrics, because it emphasized that this was a tool for business.
You’re not going to get everything done at once, so you need to decide what’s most important to deliver first. For Cindy, dashboards and training was the focus. Getting the dashboards done helped secure buy-in, as stakeholders could see that the input they’d provided had been taken on board. Training ensured everyone was ready to get started with the new system as soon as it was available. One of Cindy’s neat initiatives was to provide individual training from admins as a follow up to the usual online and group training – this gave anyone who needed it a one-on-one session where they could ask questions specific to their job.
You shouldn’t look at building an effective CRM system as a big bang event. Yes, a successful launch is vital, but being able to deliver enhancements and new features after golive is equally important. Plan beyond launch day and consider what other capabilities you need to deliver for the business.
To get more advice on how to get up and running with Salesforce, join the Getting Started group on the Salesforce Success Community, where you can connect with Salesforce experts and other customers.
If you’re a Premier Success customer, you can also listen to the entire webinar we ran with Cindy on our Getting Started Premier group.
Ifbyphone manages, measures and automates voice conversations with your customers and prospects. These conversations cannot be managed using marketing automation or CRM software alone. Without Ifbyphone’s voice-based marketing automation, catching these interactions is like fishing with a hole in the bottom of your net – leads and information fall out. The Ifbyphone suite is a set of software-as-a-service applications including ad tracking, lead distribution, hosted IVR, and voice broadcasting. Companies of all sizes and across all industries use Ifbyphone including direct response, lead generation, e-commerce, retail and technology.