Seven steps in implementing and adopting a good CRM. Our experiences

Number of recorded contacts: +18%

Task execution delays: -15%

Payment delays: -12%

Person+month equivalent: 22%

HOLISUN is growing in more directions: organizational, business, customer size and world coverage and, of course, targets. Therefore we always face new and new challenges. The most recent was the implementation and adoption (by the employees) of a CRM suitable for our complex needs.I had been flirting with such an idea for quite some time, but I had to make sure that some aspects are fulfil before anything. I expected the following features of such a CRM tool:

- to be really needed

- to be the backbone of the information flow, accommodating at list 85% of all info

- to cover the whole flow in a company (marketing and sales, inventory, technical stuff)

- to be an useful tool, which brings time, not wastes time of the people

- to be easily learnt and adopted by the employees

- to start paying off is less than 2 months, because otherwise we risked to loose the commitment of the people

- to be based on open-source solutions, so that we could customize it to our specific needs

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First things first

I made sure that some of the most important people in the company feel the need of such a tool and they did, so the first battle is won. Each of them had her own needs and that was good.

Second - identify the right CRM

But, further, I had to make sure that the CRM that I proposed them is really good. Hard task trying not to disappoint the pillars of the company. I finally found the one that I decided to be a good one and researched it and tried it out one week. The first impressions were good so I went on and showed it to my people. They liked it.

Third - make all the people follow you

I had the consent of a couple of people - the most important ones but, still, too little comparing with the total number of the employees. So we decided to give a demo to everyone. The feedback was both good and bad, the reactions were contradictory (I must say that worse than I expected). However, asking for an assessment of the tool on a scale from 1 to 10, the demo CRM was graded 7.5 on average. And that was the third step. We knew that we had to make better than that. On the other hand, people started thinking of a new solution as a new way of communicating and improving their life. (Maybe these were not their words, but mine; however, they started thinking over).

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Fourth - customization

We started to implement my needs. I preferred to be the testing rodent myself and fail victoriously rather than wasting other people's time and energy. Each implemented customization was a new success. Soon, my needs overlapped with other's needs and requirements were flowing towards us from all departments. And, guess what - we succeeded to avoid conflicts of the requirements. How? Coming up with a brand new work procedure.

Fifth - adoption

I have been using the CRM for a couple of weeks. Ever since the flow of information through CRM conquered all departments, some sooner, some later, but all of them.

Sixth - automation

I like this part. I want this tool (1) to be a trigger for the activities of the people (2) to do the routine jobs of the people. This way, the company would benefit of the intelligence, intellectual skills and creativity of the employees. Therefore we started to automate 15 jobs. Now, two weeks later, we have 53 automated tasks and everyday I have new and new ideas. ;)

Seventh - performance and result indicators

Current status: we implemented 75% of our internal needs and adopted the CRM in about 40% of the activities.

I expected the first results in 1-2 months. But we already see them. As a manager, I prefer to "see" by means of indicators and here are some of them:

1. By a rigorous management of the contacts, their number increased by 18% (in 2 weeks)

2. The delays in task execution was reduced with 15% simply by reminding the owners their priorities.

3. Guess what? We received the payments of the invoices sooner with -12%. How? Again, by reminding the clients that they have due invoices.

5. 53 routine jobs are fully automated. They cost nothing, but generate income.

4. This is NICE. The CRM replaced the job of the sales manager for 8% of the time, the job of the technical manager with 5%, which means that the CRM is worth already 12% of a full-time manager (and this in only 2 weeks).

Conclusions

The results of adopting a good CRM are already amazing. I will come back with some performance and result indicators after the first month of implementation. Until then, wish us good luck!

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