What are the 10 rules of CRM success?

April 6, 2022 | 3 minute read
Annie Calfo
Product Marketing Manager, Oracle Advertising and CX
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Learn the steps to CRM successA customer relationship management solution (CRM) can deliver high ROI by managing each stage of the sales cycle more efficiently.

“Businesses continue to invest in CRM, and for good reason,” said Barry Nolan, chief strategy officer at Swrve. “When implemented correctly, a CRM can pay back every dollar a company spends on it [many times over]. But CRM requires a disciplined approach to be successful.”

Focus your strategy on these 10 CRM building blocks to achieve successful implementation and increase ROI.

1. Understand the vision behind your CRM implementation

What issues are you hoping to address by implementing a CRM solution? Ensure your system can deliver on key business goals by helping you:

  • Answer basic customer questions.
  • Manage customer data.
  • Automate the sales process.
  • Personalize marketing campaigns.
  • Align sales and marketing.

2. Know the different types of CRM solutions

Every company needs something different from a CRM solution. To select the right one, start by exploring the three types of CRM solutions: collaborative, operational, and analytical.

3. Be an effective executive sponsor

Having an executive sponsor is critical for successful CRM implementation. An executive sponsor can communicate the vision and lead by example to keep everyone on the same page and create a productive environment for change.

4. Discuss your technology roadmap with IT

To increase your chances of success, approach these CRM implementation steps with IT on your side. Involve IT in the decision-making process and discuss how you can work together to benefit the entire company.

5. Prioritize buy-in from your sales team

Sellers rely on CRM software every day. To ensure you invest in a solution everyone wants to use, ask them what they need from a CRM solution and choose yours accordingly.

Find out how sellers' roles have changed and why your CRM should too

6. Align sales with marketing and customer service

Traditionally, CRM tools have been seen as sales tools. “But if it can’t deliver for every customer-facing department, it may not be the right choice,” said Nolan. Demo several solutions across the business to evaluate the pros and cons.

7. Develop a plan for user training and adoption

All employees affected by a CRM implementation need to understand system fundamentals and the overarching benefits of customer relationship management or else they’re not likely to use it. Plan to train everyone from top to bottom—from executives and IT to functional end users—to increase adoption.

8. Integrate with your existing technology stack

“You’ll need the ability to connect every touchpoint to gain a comprehensive view and understanding of your customers,” said Nolan. “The ability to collect and analyze all customer data through a single platform is critical to delivering targeted, contextual communications.”

9. Ensure built-in flexibility of your CRM

Flexibility is one of the most important features to look for in a CRM solution. Does your chosen solution allow you to scale up or down by changing features and the number of licenses?

10. Actively manage your data quality

“Most organizations have a much bigger ‘no data’ problem than they do a ‘bad data’ problem,” said Kerry Cunningham, senior principal of product marketing at 6sense. “In fact, data that doesn’t get entered into your CRM is bad data—unentered sales contacts, unrecorded customer interactions, etc.”

Since loading complete, clean data is critical to the efficacy of your new system, you’ll need to cleanse and de-duplicate your data before these CRM implementation steps can be completed.

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Annie Calfo

Product Marketing Manager, Oracle Advertising and CX

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