5 Steps to Follow for a Successful Dynamics CRM Implementation

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With every business striving to become as customer-centric as possible, the rate at which companies are implementing CRM is incredible. According to Gartner, worldwide CRM software revenue amounted to $39.5 billion in 2017, and it believes CRM will be the fastest growing software market in 2018. Of the various CRM solutions available in the market today, Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM, now called Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement, is enabling organizations of all sizes to streamline processes across Sales and Marketing, Customer Service, Field Service, and Project Service Automation. However, the way you implement Dynamics CRM have a major impact on its success. Here are 5 steps to follow for a successful implementation:

Identify Your Organization’s Specific Needs

Organizations need a CRM system not just to ensure that their customers are being taken care of, but also to ensure that their business processes are as efficient and effective as possible. Identifying your organization’s specific needs, understanding the benefits you can achieve from implementing a CRM, and making a business case for it is crucial.

What is the Architecture of Your Business?
Companies embarking on a Dynamics CRM project are often confused about where to start. There are various approaches, and the multiple options are tough to navigate and understand. Evaluating the current architecture of your business and understanding how or where the CRM system will fit is important to ensure the success of your investment. When identifying needs, get clarity on:

  • Are you introducing a new system for the whole organization or only a part of your organization?
  • Can Dynamics CRM fit into your organization structure and satisfy the requirements?
What Do You Hope to Gain from a CRM System?
There are several reasons why organizations implement CRM:

  • Ensuring best possible usage of marketing budget
  • Optimizing the sales administration process
  • Getting insights into the performance of campaigns through metrics to having a clear and complete view of customer journeys
  • Improving a lead management process
  • Reducing customer churn
  • Consider— what are you looking to achieve?
When reviewing architecture, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you planning to implement a CRM for improving process efficiency?
  • Or are you implementing it to streamline your sales and marketing process?
Which Departments Will Use the CRM?
There are several reasons why organizations implement CRM:

Although CRM helps organizations organize, track, and manage prospects and customer relationships through the entire sales lifecycle, how this is done in each individual organization is completely up to you. You can either enable your sales department to identify trends in customer behavior, facilitate the marketing department to fine tune marketing campaigns, or allow the customer service team to improve satisfaction – the choice is entirely yours.

When assessing departments for the Dynamics CRM, ask these questions:

Who will be the actual users of Dynamics CRM? Will it be your sales team, customer service team, people on the field or project management team?

Develop a Budget

What you’re looking for, what you’ll pay for, and how much you’ll benefit from Dynamics CRM will depend on your budget and will vary according to the features and capabilities that you choose. Although an out-of-the-box system will be just as beneficial for a small organization as a highly-customized system for a large organization, the key is in determining whether the extra features will improve profitability and business outcomes enough to justify the cost. Understanding the various costs associated with the implementation, evaluating the number of users that will be using the system, and the features you require is essential to ensure the costs fit your budget. Ask yourself:

Will You Be Implementing the Solution Yourself or Employing an Implementation Partner?
Many organizations that begin their CRM journey begin by implementing a simple solution on their own. Although self-implementations can prove to be cost-effective and can enable you to reap the benefits in the short term, as your business grows, your expectations and requirements from the system will increase, which will require your solution to scale up to meet those needs. Bringing on board an experienced and successful implementation partner can help you get the most out of your CRM and help you in efficiently designing and customizing the solution to meet the needs of the organization, integrate it with other enterprise systems, and offer training and support for improved success. Keep your budget in mind and ask these questions:

  • What is your budget for implementing the new technology?
  • Are you okay with separate licensing cost besides actual implementation cost?
  • How many users have to use the system?

Create an Implementation Plan

Purchasing a CRM software and hoping it will solve all your problems is not the way to reap benefits. For Dynamics CRM to be successful, you first need to create a robust implementation plan. The plan should clearly state the roles and responsibilities of every member of the implementation team, include a plan for managing change, the implementation process, data migration process, integration plans, testing techniques, as well as training and support plans. What you should ask:

Who is Responsible for What?
Getting the right team together is critical for a successful implementation of any CRM. It is important that the team is well-balanced and comprised of representatives from all key stakeholder groups, such as senior management representatives, end users, a project manager, and a CRM champion.
  • Have you clearly defined the roles of your team as well as the implementation partner?
  • Do you have a change management plan in place?
Will There be Rollout Phases?
There are several ways to manage a Dynamics CRM rollout – you can either implement the system in short sprints, roll the entire system in a single release, in a single phase, or in multiple phases. In a fairly small organization with no immediate growth plans, you can start by implementing the most basic solution for one department. Once the department has used the system for a few months, you can consider additional phases for rollout across other departments.
  • Do you want to implement the system in small sprints or all together in a single release?
  • Do you want to implement the system in a single phase or multiple phases?
How Will You Integrate with Existing Software?
The actual benefits of any CRM system come when it seamlessly integrates with other existing enterprise and LOB systems. If you’re an e-commerce vendor, it makes total sense to integrate Dynamics CRM with your e-commerce site for smooth flow of data, improved insight, and better decision making. And if you’re a manufacturing organization, integration with manufacturing LOB systems drives better value.
  • Do you want to integrate existing systems with Dynamics CRM?
  • If yes, what part of system, do you wish to integrate?

Introduce and Train Employees

Although Dynamics CRM can be one of the most important tools for managing processes across your sales, marketing, and customer service departments, if your users do not know how to use the solution and leverage the various capabilities, it is a dead investment. Introducing the product to all of your users and training them aids in user adoption, which improves usability, acceptance, as well as confidence. Best practices include:

  • Communicate with employees about the new system before starting the implementation.
  • Generate curiosity among employees, by asking their expectations from the new system.
  • Schedule training sessions for actual users.
  • Provide user manuals to users and ask them to practice and give feedback for the system.

Ensure You Have Ongoing Support

After successfully crossing the hurdle of implementing a complex system like Dynamics CRM, maintaining and managing it can be extremely taxing – especially if you do not have in-house skills and resources.

Use an Experienced Technology Partner

Although your in-house team can provide guidance and support for minor issues, the kind of support you need goes well beyond a help desk; what you need is an experienced technology partner that can provide support for the day-to-day management of the system. When selecting a partner, keep in mind:

  • Make sure to have a support desk that offers a 9-5 model
  • If your business has flexible operating hours, ensure your partner offers a more flexible support model that covers your business hours.

Plan Your Implementation Well

Switching to a new system such as Dynamics CRM can vastly improve your marketing, sales, and customer service processes and efficiency. However, if you want to create and nurture long-lasting relationships with your customers, cater to their needs, and stay ahead of competition, there are certain steps you need to follow for a successful implementation: start by understanding your business needs, develop a feasible budget, create an implementation plan, introduce and train employees, and ensure ongoing support. The key to success is careful and thoughtful planning!

Learn more about how to plan a Dynamics CRM implementation that will deliver lasting results.

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