Did you know: One in every three CRM projects fall short of expectations? While every organization is different, we hear many of the same factors cited as reasons for CRM systems not delivering the expected outcome, including lack of consensus, lack of clear goals, and lack of user adoption. So how can your organization ensure it’s part of the 66% of those who find success?

At our recent conference, DealCloud Connect, we spoke with dozens of customers about their tips and tricks for finding success in the CRM implementation phase. We also asked about how they were able to get more members of their firm “on board” with the changes. In this article, we compile our seven best practices for creating a more cross-functional system, and for getting the right people involved and seeing the value in a new (or improved) CRM system.

1. Gather input from all camps

Prior to implementation, it’s critical that management think about what existing processes the team uses. Be sure to challenge the team to think not just about obvious use cases for a CRM, but about other tedious tasks that slow them down or frustrate them. It’s also wise to speak with the non-deal team members, such as compliance managers, consultants, accountants and lawyers. Chances are, there are processes that could be automated or made more efficient through the use of a CRM.

2. Make initiation a top-down priority

From the very beginning, even the most senior members of the team need to be bought in to the roll-out plan for the CRM. Even the slightest hesitation or lack of enthusiasm can bring the whole team down. Members of the firm leadership – including Principals and Partners – should be present for the planning and roll-out meetings alongside the junior staff.

3. Find the wins early in the process

In the early days of the rollout (even in the first week or two), find a “win” to point to. Whether it be a useful and industry-specific report that automatically gets sent to the team who covers that sector, or a well-organized and reactive dashboard that gets leveraged in a team meeting, it’s important that the group overseeing the implementation identify these types of quick wins or success stories. Once the evidence is found, it needs to be communicated across the firm, and iterated on.

4. Iterate

If there’s a group or team that’s finding “wins” regularly, look into why it’s making a difference in their day-to-day business development activities. Once you’ve reached the root cause, iterate on the idea. Put yourself in the shoes of a group or user who isn’t “sold” on the idea yet, and try to create a shortcut, report, or process using the CRM that they might find helpful. Even if it’s not exactly what they need, it will provide an opportunity to learn more about their existing processes, and will help you set up the CRM to better serve those needs.

5. Keep tabs on users and sessions

Naturally, there will always be a group within your firm who become “power users” of the CRM. For those that aren’t so keen to jump into the new processes with both feet, there’s an easy way to identify them. In addition to identifying the laggards, managers of the CRM tool can pull lists that show which users have logged in, how frequently they’ve used the tool, and what contacts, emails or notes they’ve added.

6. Identify the gaps

In the first several months of implementation and onboarding, be sure to document the places in which there’s a gap between the team’s expectations versus reality. Don’t be afraid to ask questions you know you’ll get negative answers to! Chances are, there are tweaks that can be made to the system, or third-party data that can be leveraged to bridge the gap.

7. Ask for help

If the implementation of your CRM system feels overwhelming and complex, rest assured that following these simple steps will get your team off to a great start. We also encourage firms to keep an open line of communication between them and their CRM vendor of choice. Hundreds of firms have migrated to DealCloud’s CRM because of the way it adapts to meet the complexities of modern dealmaking and of business development teams of all shapes and sizes. Don’t go it alone — seek guidance from DealCloud’s Account Management team who have blueprints for making CRM implementation faster and more meaningful for the specific needs of your firm. They can provide direction on the deal management, fundraising, reporting and compliance capabilities of the platform.

 

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