It’s Not Just a System – 5 Key Elements for Your CRM Process

April 13, 2017
It’s Not Just a System – 5 Key Elements for Your CRM Process

When you think about a CRM process, it’s easy to focus on implementation. Once you have the system up and running, it can be tempting to assume the sales process is all you need. But if you don’t take the time to develop a CRM process, your system will quickly lose value.

Here are 5 essential components of a CRM process.

1. Document your CRM policies.

Your CRM system’s user guide isn’t enough – you need to provide your team with custom CRM policies that support your sales process and any other organizational needs, such as compliance.

What information must always be captured in the CRM system? How will client agreements be documented? How are accounts handed over to your operations team? Who is responsible for ongoing data integrity?

Review your sales and operational processes and identify a CRM process that will support them. Include data and activity tracking, as well as approvals and data ownership.

2. Establish a CRM process update schedule.

Rather than waiting until your process is out of date, proactively schedule CRM process reviews.

Have data requirements changed? Do you have any new systems to integrate? Do operational or organizational changes impact CRM?

Develop a list of standard areas to review, then schedule quarterly or monthly meetings to conduct the review.

3. Develop a CRM training process.

CRM training isn’t a one-time thing. Plan consistent refresher training for your current team, as well as a training program for new hires. And make sure you provide training with any system updates!

When you’re developing a training plan, consider a mix of lecture-style and interactive training. For employees who are new to the system, it’s generally best to allow them to explore it after an initial high-level training session so they have some context for a more in-depth training session.

4. Develop a CRM update process.

Most CRM systems have a consistent update schedule. Ensure that you have a plan for integrating these system updates, as well as any additional changes you may make to the system.

Rather than releasing updates randomly, it’s best to follow a schedule when possible. Sharing a road-map for major planned changes can also help your users prepare.

When you are planning an update to the CRM system, get your users involved as much as possible in the planning process. Have them socialize your changes with their teams, and for major changes, you can ask these users to function as beta testers.

5. Ensure both strategic and tactical administration.

Often, the CRM system is owned by the IT department, with someone in sales or marketing functioning as an executive sponsor without much involvement in the implementation. This can cause huge problems with CRM direction, implementation, and process.

As you are developing your CRM process, make sure you have leadership that’s both strategic and tactical. You need someone who has a vision for what CRM means for your organization and the authority to make that happen. You also need someone who has a deep understanding of how the system works, its capabilities and limitations, and what’s possible.

Your strategic CRM leader should focus on identifying goals for CRM, not on figuring out how those goals should be executed. Rather than saying, “I want a text box on the page for X data point,” they should say, “I need to capture this data point – what’s the best way to do that?” The tactical leader can then determine the best approach.

I hope these ideas are helpful as you develop your CRM process. What do you include in your organization’s CRM process? Share your ideas in the comments.

And if you’re implementing or changing your CRM system, check out our change management guide to make sure your initiative succeeds.

A Simple 10 Step Change Management Process for Sales Success
How Sales Training Programs, CRM Rollouts, and Sales PlayBook Implementations Fail - and How You Can Prevent It
Download Now


  • Barry Hall - Reply

    Very nice post Elizabeth thanks for sharing it with us.
    Best regards

    • Elizabeth Frederick - Reply

      Thanks so much, Barry! It’s always great to see your feedback.

      My best,

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