The accuracy of the term “growing pains” is all too familiar to business leaders. It’s an important part of your evolution that means your company is becoming more established, but it always brings a unique set of unforeseen challenges.
You’ll have to go through some discomfort to lead your company to a better place. However, as a result of these growing pains, you can achieve a more efficient and effective approach to your operations.
Our company experienced its share of growing pains when we decided to upgrade our CRM system. Our executive team recognized the need for a new system, and after extensive research, we selected Salesforce.
We knew this was a positive long-term move for the company, but we soon realized that the entire process — deciding strategy, what tech to use, and implementation — wasn’t as simple as we anticipated. The primary challenge was learning how to use the system. The transition was a little bumpy, but our new CRM system now allows our company to operate more fluidly.
Throughout the process, we faced several obstacles. Sure, things happen, but it’s how you handle these challenges that really determines the success of your organization:
1. Identifying your business needs
Determine your business’s needs before you explore the CRM qualities your company’s missing. This can be done internally or externally via a needs analysis, but either way, it’s important to define your company’s needs and then find a system that fulfills them.
Your executive team should ask: What do we truly want to accomplish with a new CRM system? Do we want a system that serves a specific function (e.g., sales or marketing)? Do we want a cloud-based system or a system that operates from a database?
Zeroing in on the your company’s core needs and the current strategy your team already uses to manage customer relationships is crucial for finding a system that will boost efficiency instead of creating confusion.
2. Choosing the right fit
After you’ve identified a few systems that seem to meet your company’s needs, take the time to explore how the CRM will be used internally.
Your executive team should consider: Which CRM software company will provide the most customer support? Which system do some of our current employees already understand?
Looking beyond the software’s capabilities and considering how well your employees will adjust to the new system is vital for success. After all, they’re the ones who’ll be interacting with it, so find one they’ll feel comfortable using.
The right CRM creates “aha” moments that help you understand your customers better and create more value for them, so finding that perfect fit is critical.
3. Implementing the new system
Before implementing your new CRM system, develop a specific plan outlining steps for your executive team.
With the use and implementation of new software, different challenges may arise. Certain systems might have an overwhelming amount of features and can be confusing, so make sure your team invests time into proper training. I’ve found it best to implement new business software in phases — you can begin with the executive team or the tech team and roll out the system from there.
Leaders often implement new CRMs without fully understanding what they’ve changed and how it affects employee processes. Communicate the importance of having this information in one place and help facilitate the transition for employees. And remember, there will be a learning curve that could delay the transition.
4. Overcoming resistance to the CRM system
Many companies face adoption challenges with a new CRM system because of the interruption it causes in the established day-to-day tasks of employees. This can be avoided by over-communication and training.
Preface your implementation with a reminder that adopting a new CRM system may require a new mindset. Once your team has begun incorporating the new system, ask for employee feedback at each stage. Make sure to give employees the support they need, but also remind them of the benefits this streamlined system will offer and that the transition isn’t optional.
Business leaders often undervalue the importance of internal marketing. Employees will inevitably resist sweeping changes, but making this transition as natural as possible will encourage compliance and help the executive team address issues and concerns in manageable portions.
If you’re thinking about adopting a new CRM system, don’t be intimidated by potential hiccups and growing pains. By taking the time to identify your company’s needs and developing an implementation strategy, your team will eliminate unnecessary challenges. And if you’ve chosen the right system, your company will be in a better position to manage these vital relationships that fuel growth.