Your CRM (customer relationships management) platform is the hub of all your sales and marketing activity and the interactions or conversations you have with leads and customers.
How you manage your CRM - and which CRM you use - can make or break your sales activity.
Either it will create a streamlined bank of lead information that you can use to understand how and when you're engaging with customers, and what success you're having.
Or it can end up a jumbled mess of data that does nothing for your sales and marketing but create a hole in your budget and a headache when it comes time to reviewing your pipeline.
One of the reasons CRMs don't do the job they're meant to, comes in the very early days, when you're first implementing your CRM.
As we've said there's a tonne of CRMs to choose from and each one has its plus and minus points.
Obviously, as an Elite HubSpot Partner, we recommend you use them for CRM Implementations, but that's only because they've built an all-in-one tool that literally syncs your CRM to your marketing and sales - but this isn't a sales pitch.
When it comes to CRM implementation, there are steps you need to take to make sure the integration works.
As an inbound agency, we've helped thousands of companies implement a new CRM or replace or integrate something new into their business.
These are the common problems we come across.
This is the biggest killer of any project - not just CRM implementation.
A business wants to get a CRM but doesn't really understand why.
They've read or heard they're good (which they are) but they've got no real idea what a CRM will do for them and how it fits into the business.
This creates a couple of problems.
First, you can't implement something properly if you don't know how it'll fit.
At best you'll end up with something that does part of a job, but not something you'll get proper use out of.
And two, from an investment point, you'll never be able to understand if the implementation has been a success.
Before you even think about implementing a CRM, make sure you understand your objectives for getting one.
Do you want a clearer picture of your customer interactions?
Do you need somewhere to store your customer details that easily allows you to segment them?
Do you just need somewhere reliable to keep customer information because your rolodex is starting to show some signs of wear?
This is another major issue with new tech implementations in business.
Managers make the decision to bring in a new system, and none of the employees know about it until they're expected to use it.
What you'll usually find, is because employees haven't understood the benefits or why the change is happening, they'll hang on to the ways they used to do things.
That just means not all your customer information will end up in your CRM and you'll create another silo of information that's not really beneficial.
Again, if you're bringing in a new system but plan to keep some of your legacy systems, you'll need to understand how they fit together.
Or even if they will.
For a CRM, you need to know how easily it will integrate with your CMS and website, along with your sales platforms.
Can you sync these things together to create a unified sales and marketing tool?
Or are you going to risk information from forms filled in on your website getting lost because they don't sync with the CRM?
As a side note - this is one of the reasons we recommend HubSpot because their CRM, CMS and Sales platform all connect together as standard.
Despite what you might think, your sales team isn't the only sales resource you have in your business.
Everyone who works for you is potentially a salesperson when they meet or talk to customers.
An engineer implementing your software might identify the chance of an upsell while out on a job.
Your customer support team might end up dealing with sales calls coming through to the wrong place.
When they do interact with customers, they need to know what to do, and where the information needs to go.
If you've implemented a CRM and it's essentially siloed to a couple of people, you're never going to get the full potential out of it.
You might think a CRM implementation is just the time from choosing a system to setting it live in your business.
The reality is, a CRM implementation is an ongoing, constantly evolving process.
That's because as your business scales, your processes might change to adapt to your new environment.
If you've only implemented a CRM for where your business is now, you'll run into some costly problems when it comes time to scale it to deal with greater customer numbers, and you realise you can't.
The human element is one of the biggest factors in the failure of any CRM implementation.
If the end-users aren't trained how to use or understand what it's for, then the system is never going to be a success.
That's why it's essential when planning your CRM implementation you factor in the skills gaps and training you'll need to do with your teams, ready for the day it gets turned on.
What we find useful if you're getting pushback on training, is to create a few advocates in the business to do the training first. Once they start to see success using the CRM you can be sure the rest of the team will follow.
Again, this is mostly a failure in planning and not understanding the CRM market properly.
Your CRM will depend largely on the size and type of business you have and how you manage your customer interactions.
For example a small company with flexible and agile processes isn't going to get much out of a corporate CRM that's rigid and complex.
On the other hand, a large organisation is going to struggle with a CRM built for small businesses that can't store or segment customer information in the way they need.
The best thing to do is get a demo of a few CRMs and see which one you think will best fit your needs.
And if you want a demo of the HubSpot CRM, just get in touch and we'll be happy to show you how it works.
As we've said we've worked with thousands of companies to successfully implement the HubSpot CRM.
While the steps we take are based around HubSpot integrations, you can still use them to make your CRM implementation successful.
We never expect you to manage the CRM implementation alone, which is why you'll get one of our HubSpot experts as a dedicated project manager.
They'll work with you to understand your objectives for implementing your new CRM, figure out how it will integrate with any legacy systems you plan to keep, and draw up a roadmap to get your new platform up and running.
As we've said, one of the things we like to do with employee buy-in is start small.
We'll work with a few dedicated users who will be trained to use the new CRM, and get a complete understanding of how it works before launching.
These will primarily be the team who will use the CRM the most, and those who can demonstrate to the rest of your business what the benefits are.
Once your new CRM is launched, we can carry out training with members of your team to ensure they know how to get the best out of the platform.
Your new CRM is only as useful as the information you put into it.
We can work with you to build your buyer personas, understand your customer's journey and help you figure out what information you need to collect to get the best results from your CRM.
For the most part we work with clients to implement the entire HubSpot sales and marketing suite.
If this is the route you go down, we can work with you to implement and synchronize your new systems so they work seamlessly.
If you already have a CMS you plan to keep using, we can help you integrate it with your new HubSpot CRM so you're still collecting the relevant information you need.
As we've said your CRM implementation isn't a 'plug in and let it play' type of project.
You'll have to constantly adapt and evolve your CRM to fit around how you work.
As a HubSpot Elite partner we can continue working with you to support your CRM, along with your wider sales and marketing activity if you need us to.
If you're considering a CRM implementation or have recently invested in one and are now looking to make sure you get it working properly in your business, get in touch.
We've implemented thousands of HubSpot CRM's in our time and we know our way around it like the back of our hand.
We'll make sure you have a game plan and road map to get the best not only out of the implementation but out of your entire CRM and marketing suite for as long as you use it.