As a business owner, you may be wondering how to utilize a CRM solution to best advantage. Since implementation of contact management software for small business represents an investment of capital as well as time, you want to ensure its success over the long term. To that end, it is important to consider some best practices for CRM implementation and how those practices can be applied by your business.

Best Practice 1: Top Level Involvement

To garner support for your CRM implementation goals, you must lead by example. Top management must be onboard from the ground floor of your implementation strategy.  This is true for several reasons. Here are a few:

  • Successful CRM implementation involves the cooperation of multiple departments. The glue that keeps your departments working toward a common goal is top level management.
  • Enthusiasm is contagious, and has a definite trickle down effect. Clearly indicating management’s enthusiasm for and commitment to CRM initiatives will garner support from your entire organization.
  • Because CRM software at its best is not simply a set-it-and-forget-it solution, top management must consistently take the lead in crafting new initiatives to keep staff involvement on point and at a high level.

Best Practice 2: Clearly Defined Objectives

Before CRM implementation, it is essential for you to clearly define what you hope to accomplish with your CRM software. While the temptation may be to answer, “I want to increase sales,” or “I want to increase customer retention rates”, these broadly stated goals are not sufficient for successful CRM implementation.

A better approach is to make a short list of things that are not working well with your current method of customer contact management. Looking at these specific problem areas, design goals for solving these issues specifically. Narrowing the focus of your initial CRM strategies will help you see a better ROI for your efforts. For instance, if first quarter sales failed to meet projections, you might discern that failure was due to a lack of follow-up on qualified leads by your sales staff. In this case, an appropriate goal for your CRM might be to set an alert system for your sales staff based on pre-determined actions of your leads. This specific goal is easily quantifiable, and easily measured. Comparing improved staff follow-up with sales revenue will likely show an acceptable ROI.

Remember that a narrowly focused goal is more likely to produce a measurable result. This does not mean, of course, that the entire scope of your CRM software must be narrow by definition. As you achieve success in one area, your CRM will grow with you as you turn your focus to additional problem points throughout your sales funnel. This organic growth will be a more natural progression, and your ROI will increase exponentially as the scope of your CRM initiatives spreads over time.

Best Practice 3: Segment Your Customer Base

Take advantage of CRM functionality to segment your customer base appropriately. No every lead needs the same amount of nurturing or the same type of product message. CRM software helps you discern customer preferences, pain points, and levels of engagement.

Once you segment your customer base well, you can directly target the right customers at the right time for maximum impact. Vary the content and frequency of your marketing messages to more closely match customer needs and preferences. This engenders brand recognition, appreciation, and ultimately, loyalty.

Best Practice 4: Use Your Data Wisely

CRM software can be configured to capture virtually any metric you can think of at any given time. Rather than allowing these reporting capabilities to be wasted, use the data you capture with your CRM to inform your product design, your brand message, and your marketing content and scope. CRM should help you optimize your efforts by giving you actionable information about what is working well in your marketing strategy, and what is not. Mining this important information and putting it to good use is essential to achieve the type of stellar results you want.

There are, of course, a variety of other things which come into play in a comprehensive CRM implementation strategy. If you would welcome more information about how to get started, please contact us today to begin your 30-day free trial.

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