10 tips for implementing Salesforce.com (or any CRM, really)

I chatted with our VP of Sales, Anne Kelly – who led theentire effort – and asked her for 10 tips to share with other companiesconsidering or planning to launch a new CRM system:

10. Begin with theend in mind – understand that this can be a lengthy process and it’simportant to define early what the end goal is. Once you define the vision, youcan plan the intermediate steps (the process) accordingly (adapted from Stephen Covey, author of the 7 Habits of Highly EffectivePeople).

9.  Don’t be afraid to make changes – ifyou’re launching a CRM system for the first time or planning to upgrade, now isthe time to make the changes you’ve always wanted – don’t waste theopportunity!

8. Include your salespeople- It’s a good idea to involve one or two members of your sales team who arecomfortable with change. Involve them early in the process (quick brainstormsare good) so you can make sure their needs are met and their perspectives areshared.

7.  Involve everyone else, too – a CRM system isn’t only for your sales organizationthough. Management probably wants access to forecasting, finance will needcontact information and account notes for billing and marketing will want toutilize the data to help optimize the sales process.  Make sure to include people at all levels anddepartments throughout the planning and implementation so you can make sure thesystem addresses their needs.

6.  Define metrics – The beauty of modernCRM systems is the deep data they provide to help every facet of theorganization. Make sure to determine which metrics are important to you, andalso allow your sales team to create reports that will help them manage theirdestiny. crm3.jpg

5. Migrate yourdata smartly – Probably the scariest component of moving to a new system iswhat to do with the old data. First things first: data management will be messy – so you should expectthat.  To help alleviate issues, it’ssmart to migrate portions of your data in a test environment (called the’Sandbox’ in Salesforce.com) so you can easily catch issues and fixaccordingly. Salesforce.com also has some good data tips on their blog.

4. Run parallelsystems during the launch – Plan to keep both your old and new system upand running for a period of time so you can compare reports and validate data. It’skey to validate data on an ongoing basis (daily, if you can) because if youdon’t catch issues quickly, things can spiral out of control.

3. Piecemeal yourimplementation – If you’re concerned over the scope of a full CRMimplementation, there is no reason why you can’t do it in pieces. Withforecasting, lead management and account management being the three main componentsof a CRM, consider migrating in whatever order makes most sense for yourbusiness.

2. Use shorttraining sessions – You’ll want to get your team up to speed quickly, butwith so much to cover, it helps to have multiple sessions in short bursts overa period of time.

1. Utilize toolsat your disposal – This may seem obvious – but use Salesforce.com support(phone and email) as questions and issues arise (they will). Also, don’t forgetto take advantage of the many tools and add-ons for Salesforce.com which cangreatly harness the power of the software.

And, finally – not a tip per se, but a reminder to celebrate success. Implementing a newCRM system is a challenging undertaking – but the time and investment will pay off. Good luck!

Want to read more? Here are some basic tips directly from Salesforce.com.

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Jeff Gordon

About Jeff Gordon

As Director of Marketing, Jeff is responsible for key online and offline marketing initiatives including customer acquisition and retention, demand generation, business development and public relations. Jeff has spent his entire eight year career at BuyerZone in a variety of marketing roles. Prior to his current position, Jeff managed the company's email strategy, affiliate network, external communications and has deep experience working with BuyerZone's sales organization.

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2 Responses to 10 tips for implementing Salesforce.com (or any CRM, really)

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  2. Pat Allaway May 29, 2010 at 7:42 am #

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