Best Practices for a Successful CRM Implementation

lists
The list of recommendations when it comes to best practices could easily become a list longer than anyone wants to digest. But, I think it can be boiled down to 5 key suggestions. In fact, these 5 suggestions can likely lead to the success of just about any implementation.

Support from Firm Management
The sole determining factor of success when implementing a new piece of software is adoption and the adoption rates are undoubtedly going to be higher when the firm’s management is invested in the product, excited to use it and ready to encourage the rest of the firm to follow suit.

Dedicated Project Manager
Implementing ContactEase will require a team effort between Marketing and IT, but it’s easy to fall into the too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen trap. Designate a project manager at the start of the implementation who will lead the charge and keep the rest of the team working seamlessly toward the finish line.

Clearly Defined and Realistic Timeline
Be sure you map out your timeline at the start of the implementation and set realistic goals for completing each step. It’s important to move the implementation forward in a timely way to be sure you maintain everyone’s interest, but you also don’t want to fall behind schedule. Build sufficient wiggle room into your timeline and if you complete the implementation ahead of schedule, I assure you, nobody will complain.

Internal Communications Strategy
By nature, people resist change. Even the members of the firm who are enthusiastic about implementing a CRM system will need encouragement to incorporate it into their routine. The communication strategy to introduce and promote your CRM system can make or break the success of the rollout. Be sure you are clearly communicating with all users throughout the implementation and for some time after. Keep their tasks to a minimum and be sure the instructions for each step are clear. Continue to provide them with user tips/tricks to ensure they are making the most of the software. And, most importantly, be sure to communicate the benefits. The firm made a major investment and they want to see a return. Let them know how many hours the firm is saving now that you have an efficient system in place to manage the firm’s contacts and how many new opportunities you’re leveraging now that you can see the relationships that exist among the members of the firm. Be sure they understand how the CRM system benefits them.

Incentives
Offering incentives boosts participation and ups the fun factor. And the list of ideas for incentives is endless, so be creative. If your budget allows, have contests or raffles throughout the implementation to energize people and meet your overall goals. Reviewing your contacts to be sure they are ready for synchronization seems like more fun if you know you might win a gift certificate for being the first to complete the task. A pizza lunch for the first practice group to finish categorizing their contacts could go a long way. Incentives don’t require a budget. You can encourage users by sharing their successes too. Look for successes to share in the firm newsletter or at practice group meetings.