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A successful CRM implementation process is one of the hardest tasks that modern businesses face.

Finding and implementing a CRM which provides people in the organization with the information they need at the right time is difficult. The challenges in CRM implementation are considerable and most organizations don’t start the process with enough planning.

So, what makes a successful CRM implementation?

The bad news is that the challenges in CRM implementation are many, you need to get a lot right and each organization is different.

Below, we’ll address:

  • Bringing together an implementation team
  • Creating a change management plan
  • Forecasting a CRM implementation budget
  • Rolling out your new system - migrating data, 
  • Going live and how to plan for it
  • Evaluating the success of your CRM implementation project 

1. Create an implementation team

At a basic level, you should include:

  • Project manager: the leader.
  • Application analyst: responsible for data migration and cleansing
  • Application developer: in charge of system customization
  • QA test engineer: heads up testing efforts
  • Representatives from all key user groups:

2. Create a change management plan

A change management plan should underpin the new software implementation process. Again this process will be different for every organization, but some well-worn steps help to smooth the transition:

3. Forecast a CRM implementation budget

The cost of getting this wrong can be very high. From paying too much for software to wasted staff hours to adding bespoke features you can easily overspend.

Project managers often don’t consider the full extent of implementation costs. In many cases, once the full cost is considered it brings into focus the question, is it cost effective to roll this out?

4. Begin rolling out your CRM

A successful CRM roll-out is a broad topic in itself – the main question to consider is whether it is fit for purpose. As you consider messaging, training, speed, data migration and try to assess the impact, this should be filtered through that question. Most organizations under-plan or plan in the wrong areas.  

5. Plan and initiate your CRM go-live

Go-live periods are a product of great training and migration. If you get the set up right this will ease the process but there are some tactics which can speed up this phase.

Firstly, plan. You’ll need to plan the following to make sure your go-live goes as smoothly as possible

  • Staff scheduling including required overtime or temporary staff
  • Identifying metrics for project evaluation
  • Creating a communication strategy for system downtime
  • Network speed and reliability checks