How to Create a CRM Implementation Plan that Works

Kathryn Beeson


A correctly implemented CRM is an absolute goldmine.

On average, the ROI on a suitable, well-used CRM system is estimated at $8.71 for every dollar spent. To realize this potential, however, you’ll need to ensure your staff knows how to use your CRM.

At the same time, managers often assume that user engagement is sealed during the selection phase -  once you select a CRM that meets all your key requirements, everyone will be happy from then on.

However, nothing could be further from the truth. Engaging your staff with the CRM implementation process is absolutely essential if you want to ensure user adoption and make your purchase worthwhile.

Here are three steps to start of a CRM implementation plan that will engage key user groups and maximize ROI:

1. Make your implementation team representative

Tempting as it is, taking a ‘leave it all to IT’ approach to implementing your CRM is potentially the worst thing you can do.

Change is disruptive, and your sales team might initially be reluctant to embrace a new CRM. They will be even more reluctant to embrace it if they feel it is imposed from above with no consultation and little regard for how it will disrupt their day-to-day working lives.

Hopefully, you’ll have consulted with all user groups during the selection process. Don’t stop there - ensure key stakeholders have a voice in how your CRM is implemented, too.

The team managing your implementation should reflect this. Don’t make the mistake of only including managers - a perspective from ‘rank and file’ employees is just as useful. It will also will help create a workable CRM implementation plan that fits with your company’s day-to-day.

This will vary by organization, but key user groups you should consult include:

  • Department managers
  • Sales reps
  • Marketing team
  • IT department
  • Project management staff
  • Relevant staff for integrations

2. Reduce administrative burden on your sales team

Your sales reps have targets to hit. Whilst some disruption is inevitable, they will resent having to waste time with mountains of administrative work that pulls them away from selling.

A good chunk of getting this right is making a good software choice during the selection stage. Looking for CRMs that integrate with G Suite, for example, is an excellent way to save time and engage your workforce from the get-go.

Nevertheless, there are steps you can take to reduce boring administrative tasks during the implementation phase. Consider:

  • Deploying an automated testing solution. Testing takes time - if you have the budget why not use an automated testing solution to optimize your efforts? A number of these are available on free trial, offering the potential to save some cash
  • Bringing in an external consultant. They’re paid to help with the pernickety bits of CRM implementation. Your staff is not. Having their expertise around will help everything go smoothly, and free up time for essential user training.

3. Gamify your CRM implementation training plan

Sometimes incessant nagging isn’t the best way to get things done.

Nor is an expectation that your salespeople will just get on with it.

Acknowledging that a CRM implementation - no matter how well-planned and executed - will cause a certain amount of day-to-day disruption goes a long way, as does offering incentives to reflect this.

In a study by TalentLMS, 89% of those surveyed stated that a point-based system would boost their engagement, whilst 62% said that leaderboards and the opportunity to compete with colleagues would motivate them to learn.

Small rewards (think: free food, a department night out, or an extra hour for lunch) for everyone who completes e-learning modules will do wonders for user engagement. You could also set up a points system for training tasks completed. Those who accumulate the most points will win more substantial prizes (think: extra day’s PTO or cash bonus).

Again - this will require that the company put in an extra bit of cash. Whilst budgets for implementation are often tight, shelling out a small amount of money makes a huge difference long term.

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