No business really gets started until something gets sold, whether it’s a product or a service.
That’s why entrepreneurs need to at least have some sales know-how to even begin dreaming about success.
And get this—when you’re an entrepreneur, it’s not just potential customers that you need to convince to buy in.
From time to time, you need to turn those powers of persuasion and salesmanship on your own people, especially when you’re thinking of making a big change to the business.
Like switching to a new CRM, for example.
Now, I’m sure you’ve heard all the horror stories: over half of CRM implementations fail outright, businesses spend outrageous amounts of time and money on a system that doesn’t work for them, and so on.
Me, though? I’ve lived through them countless times.
Just like any other app out there, not every WORKetc implementation works like gangbusters. Thankfully, most of them do—or else we wouldn’t have lasted this long.
The good news here is that over the years, we’ve been able to identify common recurring threads in the implementations that do become successful.
In this post, I’m collecting a few of those tips that can help you turn your new CRM implementation plans into a resounding success.
Get Your End-Users Involved
Unless you’re a one-man outfit, you definitely won’t be the only one using your new CRM.
People from different departments or teams will use the CRM in different ways, maybe even ones you never thought were possible.
This is why you need to take steps to ensure employee buy-in even before you decide on which CRM you’re going to try out.
Even if you already have a list of potential CRMs for your business, it’s always best to involve some key people in the selection process.
This is even more important when you’re aiming for a complete business management solution like WORKetc.
Sales, projects, support, finance—pick stakeholders from these departments in your company and have them help you evaluate your choices.
These are the people who will be using your new CRM the most, so you have to make sure to give them the chance to identify potential benefits and bottlenecks in each CRM on your list.
Form a Scouting Party
Once you’ve picked a CRM, it’s time to poke around and kick its tires. This is where a free CRM trial comes in.
During a CRM’s free trial period, you have a chance to really dig deep into the system and see if it fits your business processes.
Don’t expect to master each and every aspect of the system if you’re going to go at it by yourself, though.
Even a system built specifically for small businesses like WORKetc still takes time to learn, and free trials can’t go on indefinitely.
Instead, form a “scouting party” similar to the one you created for the selection process. In fact, have the key stakeholders who helped you select a CRM candidate in the first place put it through its paces.
The benefit for future implementation here is two-fold. First, you’ll get immediate feedback from the people who will actually be using the system if you go ahead and implement it company-wide.
Will it streamline your current sales process? Will it let you take complete control of every single project that comes your way? Will it let you help customers in a fraction of the time?
These questions and more can only be answered by having actual people who are doing the work, the ones down in the trenches, use your CRM candidate.
And second, you’ll have people already familiar with the system who can help train their own team members in using it in the future. Training and adoption can go much smoother.
You can even go a step further and keep having this team try and push the boundaries of your CRM even after implementation with a pioneering team tasked with exploring the possibilities of WORKetc and then bringing along the rest of your team at a later date.
Focus on Small, Quick Wins
So you’re done with the selection. You’re done with the trial. Now it’s time to get everybody on board your new business management software.
This period is especially crucial in ensuring complete employee buy-in. You can make the transition go much smoother by focusing on small, quick wins first.
Choose key, high-priority areas to focus on during the first phase of implementation, and then deliver the benefits to end users as quickly as possible.
Let’s say you head up a fast-growing company. You’re getting more and more clients—almost more than your support team can handle, in fact, what with your company’s current time-consuming support process.
And since you brought along a someone from support during the selection and trial process (if you followed this post’s advice), you know that this is a hot-button issue for the entire support team.
This particular issue—streamlining the support process—would then be among those you focus on first during the early stages of CRM implementation.
Solving it means tangible benefits to your business, and those benefits are what you’ll need to communicate to your employees in order to get them on board.
WORKetc QuickStart Onboarding Program
This is actually a core focus of the WORKetc QuickStart onboarding program, a fast-moving 2- to 3-week training program that aims to get you started on WORKetc as quickly as possible.
What sets it apart from other onboarding programs is that it’s not just a bunch of general-use best practice tips and tutorials that don’t take your unique business processes into account.
Our product specialists actually take the time to get to know the inner workings of your business, how you do things right now, and how you want to do them in the future.
QuickStart drills down into how you can get these quick wins for your company, from importing your data securely to streamlining and automating business- and industry-specific processes.
Let’s take Queensland-based telecommunications outfit Eco Communications as an example.
The support process is pretty straightforward in most businesses. A client contacts support about a problem, then the support team fixes it.
Eco Communications had an extra wrinkle in their process: they needed a customer to sign off on a support case before it gets sent through to the people in charge of implementation.
By signing up for QuickStart, Eco Communications was able to get expert help from WORKetc product specialist Sarah Stermole to factor in this unique extra step in their process.
Sarah came up with a way of using WORKetc’s integrated quotes system with the support module, so when a customer calls with a support request, the Eco Communications support team can create a quote from that support ticket with one click.
That quote is then sent to the customer so they can sign off on the projected work before it’s sent on through to a technician.
A unique process like this most likely wouldn’t be included in more general best practice walkthroughs, but with QuickStart it’s just another quick win for your CRM implementation program.
A a fast-moving program, QuickStart also doesn’t let you become complacent in your CRM implementation efforts.
Commitment is an important factor in a successful implementation, and having someone pushing you along to improve your business operations can make the difference.
Oh, and all of those QuickStart benefits I mentioned? They’re all effectively free. You can learn more about QuickStart here.
I was fortunate in that I never had to do any of the research into CRMs. We were a small shop so the only real stakeholders were my boss and I. He liked what Worketc was offering and we just dove in and it did everything we needed. Wasn’t any Quickstart at that time, but it was easy enough to find our footing and we’ve been using it ever since.
I did a LOT of research into various software related to CRM, Project Management and so on before landing on WorkETC. I knew that if I picked one that fell short, we would all waste a lot of precious time finding that out… and in a company that only has 4 full-time employees, that’s a lot of precious time to be wasting! I played around with the free trial a bit, and as I became more comfortable I invited my coworkers to try it one by one. I made a “cheat sheet” of how to use some of the basic features that we could do out of the box when we hit the ground running. I told them about some of the fancier features, but those have been slower to implement. It’s taken us a long time, and the process isn’t over yet, but besides a few drawbacks I think WorkETC is a great tool for our company and should help us improve productivity and avoid dropping balls all over the place.
The proof is in the pudding as they say. The best way to get by in is to show them over and over how it is helping.
We researched plenty of CRMs before going with WorkETC and buy in was a challenge at first. We started slowly with key projects that forced small groups of people to follow and collaborate through the system itself. Slowly, over time the amount of people in the system began to grow and we were able to cut other systems that we were using to supplement workflows in the interim. Now, we are completely using WorkETC as a CRM and have a set training process in place for new users.
When my company switched to WorkETC there was major pushback. I was successfully able to get my team to start using it by showing one small part at a time. I would make sure to show how using WorkETC actually saved time in the long run (which seemed to be everyone’s main priority). I still share hints and tricks I have found with my team, which keeps their motivation up to keep using the CRM
Sales teams are often the worst participants in new tech that requires documentation. Since I’m the founder and owner/operator of our firm – and the “sales force” of our team – implementation was relatively easy.
I love not “re-inventing the wheel” every time we have a new project, so I devoted a few long weekends to creating project templates. Further, we went from close to a dozen “silos of information” to just a few – making everyone’s job easier, and making our information more transparent and correct. Instead of a separate CRM program, support system, project management system, regular client services delivery system, Knowledge Base, etc., etc., we have one system (with selective levels of permissions).
I gave everyone plenty of time to make use of the “User Guide” (especially the video tutorials) in WorkEtc. I gave my right-hand guy the task of creating KB articles to document our SOPs, and gave him the time to do it. He still maintains the Knowledge Base through updating and additions.
Thanks for creating a great system.
I hired someone to help me find the right CRM. Based on the requirements I gave, she was able to narrow it down to three. We reviewed the pro’s and con’s of each and landed on WorkEtc. I used FileMaker Pro in the past, but I lacked the support to turn it into what I really wanted it to become. With WorkETC we have been able to get great support, have questions answered quickly and be able to have input for future rollouts!
I think that one of best options of WorkETC is CRM sections (with characteristic to have possibility to customize everything) and we use it in our organization. We created custom labels and use it for different kind of sorting. Also, it’s very easy to track everything regarding the client (documents, bills, to do, project.). I think that we didn’t use full capacity of this options. Sometimes, I think you have too manyyy options in your product 🙂 which is a great but sometimes we need something simple 🙂
With all things, change is hard. For my company, this was true. We had become so accustom to our day to day operations that with talks of a new CRM we panicked. After a lot of hand holding and positivity, our team eventually warmed up. I think what made the sale easy was how WORKetc was able to provide seamless documentation and tracking. Also the ability to show our clients what we have been doing with tangible evidence spoke volumes too.