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What to Consider When Setting Up and Implementing a CRM System

There’s a lot to consider when you get a new customer relationship management (CRM) platform. Among other things, you must consider price, automation features, and analytics capabilities. But one of the most important things to think about is CRM implementation.

Setting up and implementing a CRM system is a major part of the process, so you want to get a CRM that you know will make things easy for you in that regard. You don’t want a CRM that’s so complicated that you wish you hadn’t gotten it.

On this page, we’ll cover the most essential steps for CRM setup and implementation and four factors to consider when planning your CRM implementation.

Steps for setting up and implementing a CRM system

Here are six of the most important steps for CRM setup and implementation.

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1. How to plan and prepare for CRM implementation

Having a CRM implementation plan in place is essential for a smooth CRM adoption process.

A CRM implementation plan is a strategy and roadmap that outlines the process and timeline for implementation, designates roles and responsibilities, and estimates costs.

A well-thought-out CRM implementation plan:

  • Sets your team up for success
  • Helps avoid common implementation pitfalls
  • Increases the efficiency of the implementation process
  • Maximizes the value you get from your CRM

Learn more about planning and preparing for CRM implementation:

Creating a CRM implementation plan

2. Choosing the right CRM software

It’s important to find a CRM solution that can meet your business goals and satisfy the needs of your team. But how can you choose the right CRM?

There are three main factors to consider when choosing a CRM:

  • Features
  • Customer reviews
  • Pricing

By assessing each of your CRM options based on the above factors, you can find the one that’s best suited to your unique needs.

Learn more about choosing the right CRM:

Choosing the right CRM

3. Setting up the system and migrating data in CRM software

To use your CRM efficiently, you’ll need to develop a workflow for operating it. Most CRMs allow you to automate various tasks, which can be helpful when creating your workflow. To that end, you can:

  • Determine which tasks you can automate
  • Set up a clear sales pipeline
  • Develop custom workflows within your CRM

Taking these steps will help you streamline the process of using your CRM so you can drive results far more easily.

Learn more about setting up your CRM:

Setting up and migrating CRM data

4. Training and onboarding employees

Now that your CRM is ready, it’s time to prepare the team that will be using it. The way to do that is through training and onboarding. To effectively train and onboard your team, there are four main steps to follow.

  • Develop a training plan
  • Conduct training sessions
  • Provide ongoing support and resources
  • Get feedback from your employees

Throughout the training and onboarding process, be sure to distribute training materials, follow a training schedule, and encourage questions from your team. Doing each of these things will help your team more quickly pick up on the ins and outs of your CRM, letting them use it to drive better results in less time.

Learn more about training and onboarding for CRMs:

CRM training and onboarding

5. Establishing a system for data entry and management

Your CRM data won’t benefit you unless you can verify that it’s accurate and well-organized. So, be sure to make that a part of your CRM process. Take the following steps:

  • Define roles and responsibilities for data entry
  • Use data cleaning and validation
  • Regularly back up and test your data

Be sure to choose a CRM for your business that makes this process simple. If you do, you’ll be able to easily ensure the accuracy of your data.

Learn more about data management for CRMs:

Establishing a system for data entry and management

6. Setting up automation and workflow

If you want to efficiently use your CRM, you’re going to need to develop a workflow for operating it. Most CRMs allow you to automate various tasks, which can be helpful when developing your workflow. To that end, you can:

  • Determine which tasks you can automate
  • Set up a clear sales pipeline
  • Develop custom workflows within your CRM

Taking these steps will help you streamline the process of using your CRM, helping you drive results far more easily through it.

Learn more about setting up CRM workflow automation:

Setting up automation and workflow

7. Monitoring and continuous improvement of your CRM system

To make the most of your CRM system, it’s essential to continue monitoring and improving its performance over time. Doing so enables you to improve your ROI and adjust to changes in customer behavior, the market, technology, and more.

To monitor your system, you’ll want to:

  • Keep an eye on performance metrics
  • Measure progress toward your goals
  • Gather user feedback
  • Evaluate your sales process
  • Review data quality

Then, you can use this information to improve your system and processes.

Learn more about monitoring and improving your CRM system:

Monitoring and continuous improvement of your CRM system

CRM setup and implementation factors to consider

Many different factors affect CRM setup and implementation, so it’s essential to consider your business’s needs and the capabilities of your CRM during the process.

Here are four of the most important factors to keep in mind.

Jump to: Steps for setting up a CRM system – Back to top

1. Scalability

The first CRM setup factor to consider is scalability—how flexible and adaptable your CRM is.

The problem

Over time, your business will likely change. Maybe you’ll grow your team, switch to new tools for generating data, or decide to upgrade to a premium CRM plan. Whatever it is, you want your CRM to be able to handle those changes.

Unfortunately, many CRMs out there aren’t so flexible. Those CRMs are built for a particular business size and designed to work with specific tools, and any change to those things will be hard to implement.

The solution

When searching for a CRM, make sure you find one that offers scalability. You don’t want a CRM that makes you jump through a million hoops to add more seats or upgrade to a premium plan. Instead, seek out one that allows for easy upgrades and changes over time.


2. Integration capabilities

Another important consideration of setting up and implementing a CRM system is the system’s integration capabilities.

The problem

To make the most of your CRM, you need it to work with your other tools so that you can share data across all of your technology. This helps you keep your data current and reduces the need for manual data input.

Not every CRM integrates smoothly with every tool, though. Many CRMs are limited in which tools they can connect with. More than that, many tools aren’t good at integrating specific data types or formats.

That can mean you have to do tons of extra work to rework your data into a format your CRM can handle, and you have to compromise on which tools you use.

The solution

Whichever CRM you get, take the time to ensure that it offers plenty of integration options for data formats and external tools. Your CRM should be able to share data from a wide variety of tools and accommodate various types of data. Ideally, your CRM will require minimal data preparation on your part.

Learn more about CRM integration:

integration capabilities

3. User-friendliness

The third consideration when setting up a CRM is user-friendliness.

The problem

A CRM can help you streamline your sales and marketing, but it, of course, doesn’t automate everything on its own. Your team still needs to be able to use your CRM to assist their efforts. So, if your team has trouble using the CRM, your results won’t be as good. Unfortunately, though, there are many CRMs out there that aren’t easy to use.

Sometimes, it’s a layout issue—the interface is simply too confusing. Other times, the interface is simple enough, but the tool just doesn’t respond the way it’s supposed to. Whatever it is, a CRM that isn’t easy to use will cause huge slowdowns for your CRM implementation.

The solution

You want to ensure you choose a CRM that your team can easily learn, understand, and use. That means finding an option with a simple, intuitive interface. It also means finding one where all the features work the way they’re supposed to, rather than promising one thing but then behaving differently.

It’s also worth seeking out a CRM with a top-tier customer service team. That way, even when you do run into issues or questions with your CRM, you can simply contact customer service and they’ll walk you through the solution.


4. Customization

Finally, it’s important to consider your customization options in preparation for setting up a CRM.

The problem

Every business works differently. So, when you get your CRM, you’ll probably want to set things up differently from many other companies. The question is, can your CRM accommodate that?

Not every CRM offers the same options when customizing the platform for your unique needs. Whether configuring software settings, creating specific types of data fields, or setting up user permissions, you need to be able to set things up how you want them.

A CRM that doesn’t give you the freedom to do those things, however, will inherently be a problem.

The solution

When choosing a CRM, investigate the customization options it offers. You want a CRM that gives you a relative degree of freedom in terms of how your platform is set up and how it runs. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with a cookie-cutter tool.

Also, don’t just choose a CRM that lets you customize things—find one that lets you customize things easily. A CRM that makes you jump through hoops to change a single setting is almost as bad as one that doesn’t let you change those settings at all.


Make CRM setup and implementation easy with Nutshell

When it comes to CRM setup, you need a platform that fits all the criteria listed above—which makes Nutshell the perfect choice for your organization.

We don’t believe setting up a CRM has to be hard, so we’ve put in the effort to make it as easy as possible. Nutshell offers an intuitive interface, a smooth implementation process, plenty of integration and customization options, and a stellar customer service team to help you through all of it.

Want to see for yourself what Nutshell can do for your business? Just start a 14-day free trial!

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