The use of CRM system in business is not just fashionable, it has become a necessity. Must have. But CRM introduction to a new or existing business is not as easy as it seems.
We have collected for you 51 advices on what to look for when selecting and introducing CRM system.
Business management through CRM – it's like a new religion but just logical and reasonable. You will not be able to do and implement all this, but at least, you would be able to understand the scope and procedure.
Table of contents
- For existing businesses
- For new businesses and startups
- Business and staff efficiency
- Project management, calendars and todo-sheets
- Automatic reminders and consistency
- Database of contacts and customers
- Mailing lists and directmail marketing
- Telephony, click-to-call, pop-ups when calling
- Integration with 1C (or any other ERP) website
- Orders management
- Sales funnels and reports
- Business processes
- Internal and external employees, contractors
- GPS tracking
- Documents flow and CLM
- Pricing and suppliers
- Mobile application
- Integration with your shop or website
- Price sites
- Placing and hosting
For existing businesses
1. Be ready
If your want to implement CRM in your business and automate everything — then be prepared for the fact that you shall replace 50-70% of your staff in 2 years twice. Of course, there is an option to arrange proper training of employees, but it is possible not for all CRM.
2. About rules
You will change your own rules 10 times every month. It will be easier for you to dismiss employees who do not want to work in the CRM, than to force them to work as you want.
Never find compromises with your staff. Do not care that they are uncomfortable doing something in CRM. In truth, the only one thing is convenient to them: to get money and do nothing. They have come in your company to work for you in a way you want, and in return you pay them the money which they have voluntarily agreed.
4. Smooth transitions
Transitions from one system to the new one (for example from 1C to CRM) needs to be done rapidly and painfully, sometimes hindering the performance of administrative staff for 1-2 days. This is normal. And it's worth it in the long term.
5. Comfort zone
If you overcome the resistance of the employees and your personal comfort zone — the effectiveness of your business will grow significantly.
For new businesses and startups
6. Ideas vs Opportunities
You will have more ideas than the possibilities to realize them. Choose and use only the tools that you need "right now". If you have 10 clients don’t configure complex trigger chaines of letters for the future. It may occur. But forcing employees to work under the tasks and to develop and implement standards — is more important just now.
7. Sales only
In the beginning you will be interested only in sales (amendment: possible investments) and in work with a small team tasks. Therefore, deal with the question "what is the sales system" and apply your knowledge.
8. Key point — consistency
CRM allows you to assign tasks consistently (continuously, once a day, once a week) and not lose them. Consistency at the stage of business formation — is the key point.
You will have to play several roles at once: you'll have to be salespeople and directors, marketers and accountants simultaneously. But if you want to become "adult" — choose the product that suits both "right now" and "in a 3 years". Proper CRM allows you to grow and scale.
Business and staff efficiency
10. One employee has to work only in one system
If your manager works in CRM – he must do it only in CRM. He does not longer need 1C, trackers, tasks and Google calendars; he does not longer need MS Word and Google Docs.
If your employee works in multiple systems at once – believe that he does not work. There will always be excuses that he had not time, that something was not transmitted to him, that something is wrong, and everything is complicated and inconvenient.
11. The papers and notepads
The employee's paper notebook-diary is an "another system", which you do not control. Eliminate her. We must all keep in CRM. If your employees work in their notebooks – take them away or deny them uniquely.
If the employee does not agree with your demands and actively opposes you — you need to make a 1 day decision:
- to dismiss him,
- to force him,
- to forget about the efficiency of your business.
13. Spoken orders
Eliminate all spoken orders in your business. Someone said something to somebody, someone forgot something. Either all the tasks are put through CRM, or there is no sense in CRM. Absolutely all of the tasks. Even to "wipe off the dust on the table" (at this point you feel that it's crazy advice, but somebody will understand).
Any action in your business — this is a task in the CRM. Everything you don’t record to tasks – you'll forget and will not accomplish.
14. Do not rush immediately to the automation of processes
You wont manage with it. First force all of your employees to work on common tasks "New Task =>Accomplished", and then you will automate and refine exactly how to do these tasks (to register a business process). Because the processes automation within the middle company in most cases looks like a Goldberg Machine.
You will not be able to register immediately all "heads" (job descriptions and processes) within the CRM or on paper. But you still need to start doing it and improving and refining these documents all the time.
16. Paper instructions
Any instruction can and should be transposed to a set of tasks to be repeated. While the instruction is written on paper and lay on the employee's table, and work is being done in CRM — you will not get the results or they will be ineffective.
17. Results and Actions
Effectiveness is measured concerning results and actions.
Please note that it is "the results AND actions".
If an employee receives outstanding results, but his actions are not understood — you can not get another one of the same employee, because it is not clear how to pass his experience (actions) to a new employee or trainee. This is not a consistency business. CRM-system allows to evaluate the result (sales, leads, transaction), and evaluate the actions (how many tasks and which have been made for this).
Project management, calendars and todo-sheets
18. Project management
When the tasks become multiple – you'd better gain insight the conception of "Project Management", and then study how it is implemented and what are the opportunities within CRM. It is not necessary to pass the entire MBA or learn PMBoK.
It is enough to understand the key idea that any project — it is a clear goal. And the only way to achieve it — it is properly planned sequence of simple tasks that are carried out consistently.
19. PERT and Gantt
20. 1 client = 1 task minimum
or any of your customer at least one task must be created in the CRM. For example:
- To call and offer something
- To call and report on the project status
- To present with a bill
- To make payment arrangements
- To give an order for shipment
No task for the client — consider that you have stopped working with him. Do not wait until the client will call you himself. The initiative should be in your hands. Kyryl Kunitsky made a very good report about working with clients and tasks in the video "Что такое What the CRM is and why does your business need it?”.
21. Chaos in the task descriptions
When you begin to assign tasks and your employees start to set tasks to each other a big chaos shall occur because all the tasks will be registered at random. Half of the employees will think, "What kind of nonsense is written here, it could write only a gawk". And you will be forced to enter tasking standard within CRM.
You shall have only two styles:
- what should be done and how it should be done (a clear objective instruction)
- think of how to do this (creative task)
All other settings should be consididred as invalid.
22. The transition to business processes
When several thousand tasks will be registered and accomplished within your CRM-system, then begin to bother about the instructions on the most popular tasks topics (titles).
For example, select all the tasks "to present a client with a bill" and describe clear instructions with the words "how to do it".
After that, the instructions can be transposed to business process workflow and automation).
Compose lists of occasions (todo-lists). After a month of work in the CRM you will have 500-1000 tasks. You will not be able to do everything in one day. Select 5-15 tasks for the day and work on it.
Lists of occasions composing is a rare feature for popular CRM, as a rule it is implemented in the form of a calendar with notes, which is linked or not linked to tasks.
- After a month of hard work, you will learn how to plan more than for a couple of days in advance and will accomplish much more tasks than before.
- At start of CRM implementing you will have 5-10 tasks per day and you will feel that it is unrealistically great number.
- After a year of productive work you will accomplish 35-50 tasks per day and wonder how your efficiency has increased.
- Enover year later you shall realize that this is not the limit.
Automatic reminders and consistency
25. About consistency
What is the goal of CRM implementation enover than consistency? Consistency – that is when a definite action is repeated with the desired sequence and is repeated guaranteed.
- For example, if an accountant checks the latest admissions to accounts every morning — it is consistency.
- If you check mail every hour — it is consistency.
- You browse Facebook — it is consistency also (but not the fact that it benefits).
Your job as the owner / manager / senior manager is to build your business consistently. This means to find efficient actions and make your employees to repeat them systematically. CRM system must provide consistency in your work.
26. Tree view of roles
Create a tree view of roles within your CRM (or company' organizational structure). Tie the employees and responsibilities to roles (tasks and business processes, KPI). This will create a visual map of your company; your employees will understand who and for what is responsible.
Roles — are a clear hierarchy but are not the liaisons "everyone with everyone".
Create tasks-reminders for roles.
- If you check bank account every morning — you can create a role "Accountant" and configure the system so that every morning it will set the task "Check the bank account" to the role of "Accountant".
- Describe how to do it — how to check a bank account specifically within the task.
- Assign this role the right person and the tasks will be put to him.
This scheme allows you to be independent of the employees. If the accountant resigns there will be no problem. You hire a new employee, assign him the role of "Accountant" — and CRM begins to set tasks which describe what should be done and how it should be done already to him. You save on the new employee training and his entrance threshold. It is also called the "adaptability" of the company, due to which it is possible to hire less qualified personnel and increase business margins.
28. Create queues
For example, you have 10 sales managers.
The e-mail applications are received from the web.
Create a virtual queue "applications from the website" and configure your CRM so that it assigns tasks from this queue to your employees with the role of Sales-manager.
Almost all modern systems are able to do it.
Database of contacts and customers
29. Start earlier
Start to manage database of contacts as earlier as you can. If you have it in a notebook — transfer it to the CRM and continue to work only there.
30. About the “database management”
In most cases database of contacts management is limited with "the infinite adding of new data to database and system marketing activity on this database".
31. Do not fill completely
Do not force your employees at the beginning of CRM implementation to fill all the contacts in the database correctly and completely. We know only the name and the phone – fill the already known data. Do not specify the surname, date of birth. Do not make a bunch of required fields. Even if there is only a phone number and the client's require purchasing a hammer – you should fill a contact like "without a name" and create an order with the product "hammer".
32. Specify the data during the work process
Proper CRM allows you to specify the data in the process of work. You will learn a person's name later when you communicate with lead. Later, from a different source, you will learn the date of birth, field of activity, etc. and amend your contact card.
33. Synchronizing with phone
Set up your database of contacts synchronization with your phones. Your mobile phone should get all the contacts from the CRM. Almost all smarfphones support vCard or MS Exchange formats. If a contacts number is too huge (more than 1000) send to the manager's phone only those contacts with whom he works.
(Applying to the OneBox it is available from version 2016m12, it also OneBox Next)
34. Do not complicate card
Customize your contact card in CRM in a way you need right now. You do not need a date of client's birth — do not add this field. You do not need the last contract number — do not add. The more complex the card — the longer the employee will work with it.
35. Formatting of phones
Do not bother about the format of telephone numbers. For example, if your co-worker typed 050111111 instead of +3805011111 — it's not a problem. If it is devided into parts within the CRM telephone number: prefix, country code, area code and phone number — then your employee will enter the phone number several times longer and you will have problems with the website integrations. Applications "call me back" from your website will still be recieved in some horrible formats.
Phone numbers formatting and regularizing is the task of CRM-system and not human. Modern CRM systems for a long time are able to do it themselves, rather than forcing humans.
Mailing lists and directmail marketing
36. ystematic marketing
Do the marketing activity according to your database of contacts at least once a month. Do any activity. Even if you have nothing to say — ask what they are interested in and wish them a good day. It may be mailout, cold colling. Follow this marketing activity consistently (permanently). Set to yourself 12 tasks for each 1st day of each month to "Make a mailout under the database of clients". At the first stage it is better than spending hundreds of hours for correct email-marketing with trigger letters, and the result will be faster.
37. Mailing services
When you database reaches more than 2,000 contacts it will make sense to integrate with the mailing services. For example, with SendPulse, UniSender, DM.ua, MailChimp and others. They enable the delivery of much larger volumes of messages than your mail servers. Generation of letters is the area of your CRM responsibility. Delivery of letters is the zone of your SMTP or delivery services responsibility. Do not confuse it.
38. About text letters
Conventional text letters emails on behalf of your employees work better than a beautifully composed letter made from the dispatche service. But, in truth, almost any CRM are not able to send conventional text letters.
39. Email open rate
Tracking the email open rate, the number of deliveries and clickthroughs makes sense only when you create maiouts upon your database systematically and at least once a week. Otherwise, this statistics will give you nothing to learn.
- Imagine that you sent 2,000 emails January 1 and learned that their open rate is 5%. Looks like bad (maybe good)?
- You repeated mailout March 8, but with different content and got open rate 6%.
How to interpret this data? Have you done better or worse? May be database has grown? Or maybe January 1 was just the wrong time, and the proposal within the mailout was better?
But if you send emails every week then you will be able to understand the consistent pattern: what works better and what worse.
Any letter sent with your CRM should be personalized: an address to the customer or the company by name.
Even better, when the personalizing is contained within the letter text: "For Mickey Mouse company".
41. Integration with e-mail
Integrate your CRM-system with e-mail as soon as possible. Do it even if you don’t see the benefits immediately. Proper CRM will read mail in the background and apply it to a contact card. You will be able to enter the contact and read all the correspondence with him, from all the staff. Even if an employee will clean his mailbox the data will remain in CRM.
42. From letters to tasks
All the letters that come to your mail boxes shoul be converted into tasks within CRM and processed as the tasks, send emails to customers from the tasks. This would allow abandoning the mailboxes.
We had situations when the online store manager simply forgot to check mail firstname.lastname@example.org and missed a bunch of orders. We started to convert all the letters into orders, always, even the spam-mails. Orders number increased, all of them were processed, and spam was removed.
43. Do not lose email addresses
Integration with e-mail allows not to lose contacts. For example, if your co-worker wrote an email email@example.com, but this address is registered in your CRM — you will see, CRM will put the task to employee "create a contact".
44. Transition to IP telephony
If you do not use IP-telephony, start to do it as quickly as possible and integrate it with your CRM. You need to fix the fact of each call and, it is desirable, to record the call. Similarly to mail, calls will be attached to the contact card.
You should be integrated with telephony for at least one reason – when you click on a phone number in CRM your phone (device) starts to call the contact. You save 1 minute on an incredibly tedious work to dial a phone number correctly. Once you try, you will not be able to work without this feature.
46. Pop-ups when calling
The second reason to have the integration with telephony is that CRM-system showes a contact card for incoming calls. But the main thing here is not to overreact.
All employees (roles) should be divided into two types:
- those who obligatory need pop-up contact cards when calling (it is impossible to perform work his role without it)
- and all the rest.
Everyone else does not need these windows at all. As a rule, only call center operators need pop-up windows. And they just impede the work of anybody else.
47. Telephony in the fields of employees
If your employees are working "afield" (do not work all the time in the office) you should use the applications to make calls (softphone, for example; the best app for iOS is Bria) or a service “Simple calls” (for Android only).
48. About the old office PABX
If you already have an old office PABX (very popular Panasonic PABX model) then you need to understand is it digital or analog. Typically, a digital PABX can be integrated with the use of additionaly bought for 500-1000 USD integration hardware board. However, for this money you can change an entire office to a modern IP-telephony. The price of rental Asterisk server consist from 3 USD/month, the price of 1 IP phone is about 50 USD.
49. Quick start with cloud telephony
Start with Binotel or Zadarma services — virtual cloud PABX for 5-20 USD / month for start-ups or small businesses. There is no need to buy expensive equipment of questionable quality with them. Also such services have a list of supported CRM, with which they integrate quickly.
Integration with 1C (or any other ERP) website
50. About the integration with с 1С
Integration with 1C is terrible for all developers, although it is done in every second CRM or shop project. Who what didn't tell but you'll be able to complete the integration with 1C only starting from 3rd-5th iteration of development. Because there will always be inconsistencies, errors, and you as a customer will be constantly changing requirements. A month later it appears that the use of integration with 1C does not affect the goal of CRM implementation. Because the real goal is to force all employees to conduct tasks and proper interact with clients, but not the convenient transfer of invoice to accountant.
51. Simplify integration
When you decide to realize any integration make it as easy as possible. Anyway you will go wrong in statement of the task and will not foresee something. Do easier: all orders from CRM in such a statute could be transmitted to 1C. This, this and this fields are the subject for transmission. It should be only this one direction. That's all. This saves money and time.