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How to Plan and Prepare for a New CRM

a group of people are sitting around a table with laptops and phones

Whether it’s your company’s first time implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) platform or you’re switching from your current solution to one that better suits your needs, preparing before the launch is essential. Implementing new software requires a lot of moving parts, and the more you can plan before it goes live, the more successful your team will be.

Launching a solution as comprehensive as a CRM may seem daunting at first, especially if your business is new to using CRM software. Fortunately, this guide outlines the essential steps to take as you begin revolutionizing your sales process with a CRM. 

Why is it important to prepare for a new CRM?

Going through the planning and preparation phase before you launch a new CRM is crucial because it lets you establish expectations and define criteria for a successful implementation before the solution goes live. What your team decides during planning will determine which solution you choose, what you prioritize during the first few weeks of use, and who oversees the project. 

Preparation also allows you to create processes to ensure the rollout goes smoothly. Taking the time to plan the logistics can clear up any confusion or miscommunication and make implementing your software smooth sailing. 

In a nutshell, planning for a new CRM saves you time in choosing a CRM platform, ensures everyone understands their role in the launch, helps you maximize your software once it goes live, and sets your team—and your customers—up for success. 

How to plan for a new CRM

Follow these steps to prepare your organization for a new CRM:

1. Assess your business’s needs

What made your business start considering implementing a CRM in the first place? Do your sales representatives need help managing customer data and nurturing leads into customers? Do you have inefficient sales processes that could benefit from automation?

A deep understanding of the challenges your business faces will guide your decision of which platform to invest in, making analyzing your company’s unique needs an important first step. Before comparing your CRM options and selecting a platform, develop a clear idea of what your business needs from the solution. 

How to determine your business needs

You can use many strategies to evaluate your business’s greatest needs. One step is getting feedback from key members of your sales, marketing, and customer service teams about the challenges each department faces. A CRM should help you run your business more efficiently, so find out where it needs to improve from those who know best. 

Another way to assess your business needs is to evaluate how well your company is meeting its sales goals. Does the sales team struggle to advance leads through the pipeline? One of your business needs might be providing them with more guidance during the sales process.

Uncovering where your business struggles the most will help you identify its greatest needs. Here are a few common business needs that the right CRM can meet: 

2. Establish measurable objectives for your CRM

Before you can choose the right CRM for your company, you need a vision of what the solution should help you accomplish. Outlining the specific objectives you want to achieve will inform your decision about which platform to select and help you measure its return on investment.

Keep in mind that a CRM is a means to an end, a tool for hitting a larger target. A CRM’s purpose is to help you accomplish your business’s most important sales, marketing, and customer service goals. Those goals should take center stage—then, you can look for features and capabilities that will help you achieve them. 

How to create objectives for your CRM

Your CRM objectives should relate to high-level business goals. What objectives do you have for your company or specific departments that your CRM should help you meet? They may include:

  • Increasing lead volume 
  • Boosting email campaign interactions 
  • Recording communications between your team and leads 
  • Tracking sales rep productivity 

It’s important to make these objectives measurable and attainable. Vague, unrealistic goals won’t help you truly assess what your CRM is capable of. Get as specific and relevant as you can, and give your goals a deadline to help with measurement. 

You can then set up key performance indicators (KPIs) to use with your new CRM platform once you’ve implemented it. Once you’ve gathered several months of data about your CRM’s performance, you can generate and analyze reports to track its success. 

3. Identify key stakeholders

The final step in planning and preparing for a new CRM is identifying the key team members who will be a part of the implementation. You might call this your CRM team. Think of it as a group of champions for the new platform—a unit of people who will play critical roles in your selection of a CRM and its launch.

A CRM team is important, especially if your business is large or multiple decision-makers are involved in selecting a CRM. These people will provide the insight you need to decide whether a platform fits your needs and help the rollout process go smoothly.

How to select key stakeholders 

It should be relatively simple to identify who on your team should be involved in the CRM implementation process. 

Here are a few stakeholders you might want to include on your CRM team: 

  • Company executives 
  • Department leaders 
  • IT team members 
  • Salespeople
  • Data analysts  

Once you identify these key stakeholders, you can assign them roles and responsibilities for the CRM’s implementation. Depending on the size of your organization and the scale of your CRM project, a single person could fill multiple roles. You’ll need individuals in charge of tasks like: 

Partner with a CRM that makes implementation easy 

Implementing a CRM can help your sales team strengthen relationships with leads, empower your marketing team to drive engagement with customers, and so much more. And planning for your new CRM by identifying your business needs, creating measurable objectives for the CRM, and selecting a CRM team will help you make the most of those benefits. 

Once you’ve planned for your new CRM, it’s time to find the one that best suits your company and will help you achieve your goals. Introducing Nutshell, the all-in-one CRM that helps sales teams close more deals. Nutshell helps thousands of businesses across industries achieve their sales and marketing goals through a suite of powerful features like sales automation and email marketing.   

To see Nutshell in action, sign up for a free trial! Still have questions? Contact our support team to get the answers! 

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