CRM system: full implementation algorithm

    CRM implementation projects fail - it is abroad, it is in Russia. There are many reasons, but the main one is the customer’s desire to jump over all the steps and get one button “Rrrraz and earned”. With this approach, the only thing that works out well is to collect all the rakes on the way to automating the business. And these are costs, nerves, layoffs, simple business ...

    We have prepared, perhaps, the most detailed scheme and instructions for implementing a CRM system in a company. It is designed to help businesses of all sizes implement enterprise software correctly, as soon as possible and without loss. In general, civilized and professional. We are for the right stairs! When you got on the wrong side: follow safety precautions when implementing CRM systems

    We have been implementing CRM systems for 11 years and have gone through all stages: from a small CRM to a fully functional ERP, from small and micro-businesses to large holdings. And, frankly, the diseases and symptoms are almost the same everywhere - just the scales are different. Based on this experience, we prepared our instructions and a very detailed diagram.

    Stages within the company: preparation, selection of CRM, collection of requirements

    Download the whole implementation scheme at once

    The first stage is internal preparation for implementation. Often it is skipped by companies, and this, unfortunately, indicates a low interest of employees in the project. This situation is a vicious path to further boycotting the CRM system, when managers simply refuse to enter data into the program.

    Even in the smallest company, a conflict of interest can happen when each department starts pulling the blanket of automation onto itself and wants everything at once. The task of the management is to initiate the creation of a working group, in which representatives of all departments will participate, whose work will be affected by automation. The group should include either process managers or the most experienced employees. In no case should you take the working group as a formality or imitation of activity - it should be just a working group. So what needs to be done first.

    • Define the goals and objectives of implementation. The goal is a specific planned result, for example, to increase the number of processed leads by 30% per unit time. Tasks - individual problems that should be solved: to establish business processes, improve mailings, organize collective planning, etc. Divide goals and objectives into groups. By the way, determining the need for a particular function is simple: it’s enough to ask yourself the question “Why?” Each time and find a reasoned answer different from “Well, it’s necessary.” Here's how it might look:

      Goals for implementation
      Tasks for implementation
      - Increase the number of calls by 30%
      - Increase the number of leads by 15%
      - Raise a card on a call
      - Fix clients to managers
      - Install a virtual PBX
      - Integrate CRM with a PBX and 1C
      - Reduce request service to 7 minutes
      - Create a knowledge base
      - Create a ticket system
      - Divide customers into categories of importance and urgency
      - Create segmented newsletters
      - Build analytics
      - Make up email templates - Segment the
      customer base
      - Build reports
      HR and personnel
      - Monitor KPI
      - Keep employee cards
      - Develop a KPI system
      - Unify employee data
      - Check data completeness
      In the same table you can enter all the main CRM users who will write down their reporting requirements - you can see almost identical options and choose a single configuration for several internal customers.
    • Calculate the minimum and maximum budget. This is perhaps the most ungrateful process, because without the participation of the vendor it is difficult to determine the cost of the project. However, you can set boundaries: for example, no more than 500,000 per project or no more than 150,000 per year. Do not forget that most CRMs are delivered according to the SaaS model, and this entails monthly costs, which can also be indexed by the vendor upwards. In RegionSoft CRM is also a SaaS (lease, but not the cloud - not to be confused), but the basic delivery model - the purchase of eternal competitive license, which means you pay once and use the product forever.

      Separately, it should be said that a budget equal to zero does not exist. As a result, you will still pay: for revision, for technical support, for plugins and widgets, for the work of the internal programmer. Finally, you will switch to the paid version - this is exactly what marketing tricks of vendors like “zero for the whole team” are designed for: the data is entered, it is a pity, migration to another system will cost more, so be it, we will pay money.
    • Analyze the business model of the company. Identify key and secondary processes, their frequency, responsible, timing, resources. Do not believe the trainers who say that you do not have a model - you may have a mess and a reel, but there is a model. Perhaps there is no structure and formal regulation, but the laws of doing business in the company just form the model: how you sell, what exactly, whether there is a warehouse and stocks, what is the delivery scheme, etc. This model allows you to formulate the first requirements for a CRM system: for example, mandatory integration with a website, availability of a warehouse, type of production, etc. In the end, somehow you worked, something led to sales and revenue. Try to organize this something and understand what can be improved. Automation is a great time to review things and get to the next level.

      The main thing is to understand in which direction you are moving. By the way, does the cat go up or down?
    • Analyze the software already installed in the company. Conduct an internal audit of the software used in the company, see what tasks it solves. If the CRM-system will duplicate some software solutions (for example, a project or warehouse management system), it is better to abandon existing licenses / leases and thus save. Changing the software “park” is normal practice, because by doing so you achieve a balance of costs and results, getting rid of unnecessary ballast. There is even a special term - SAM (software asset management, software asset management), SAM managers are engaged in optimizing the composition of software in the company. Incidentally, this approach is one of the best practices for managing IT infrastructure. So don’t be afraid to give up programs,
    • Determine the number of users. It seems that there’s such a thing - I took and counted everyone who will have CRM installed. In fact, there are a few points worth paying attention to.

      1. The presence of remote employees. They need to be connected to the CRM-system - and they will be comfortable working, and you will not lose any data. By the way, there is an opinion that since the team is distributed, then the desktop CRM system will not work. Of course, this is a completely false statement: the remote employee’s application exchanges information with the database in real time — and this process does not even occur at the highest speeds of the Internet connection.

      2. The presence of employees, often working outside the office. This is a source of savings: for example, you can buy competitive licenses and while employees are not in place, the license will be occupied by others (account for connections). This is a common practice, for example, for billing systems and workflow systems. For unknown reasons (well, for some reason we understand), some CRM vendors put higher prices on competitive licenses. We do not see any technical and economic reasons for this; therefore, in RegionSoft CRM all licenses are initially competitive.

      3. Do not forget to count the managers and the administrator. Oddly enough, it is precisely the management and technical specialists that sometimes fall out of the count - meanwhile, they will be critical users in the future.

    Make and agree a work schedule for the selection and implementation of a CRM system. Again, you will definitely go beyond the established framework, but the schedule disciplines and does not allow the implementation to grow into a process that takes several years.

    Choosing the base CRM system you need is a difficult story: there are dozens of offers on the market that will fall on you as soon as you enter “select CRM” in the search. Reviewing and testing them all is unrealistic. Here are sample criteria for selecting CRM-ok for further study:

    • well-known CRM systems by ear
    • systems with good blogs and reviewers on serious sites (Habr,, for example)
    • systems from proven CRM blogs and directories
    • advice from your friends and business colleagues (but remember that everyone has a different business).

    Systems of such categories most often have implementation experience, are developed, are responsible for quality, and do not liquidate after several months of existence, as market remodelers can do: swung at B2B - margin did not fade - close CRM - open a barbershop or go Bitcoin mining. In general, newcomers-minimalists have little trust.

    What should I look for when choosing a CRM system, in addition to the functionality that your business needs?

    • Scalability. Business is changing: directions and units are opening and closing, the number of staff is growing. The CRM system should scale up absolutely painlessly - new employees and departments should be automated literally on the fly. It is important that the scale does not fly you “a penny”: for example, some vendors increase the cost of a solution for large teams. Although the normal situation looks the other way around: more licenses - less cost for each of them.
    • Availability of technical support. Any vendor or his partner should have it. Please note the extent to which technical support is included in the contract - it happens that the client is required to purchase a paid support package. But basically, there are two types: minimal free support and paid priority support package. The choice is yours. For example, you can buy support for a year, and then use a trained internal expert (to whom you also pay, of course).
    • Integration. Russian companies use many services, the main of which are 1C, mail, telephony in conjunction with or without a virtual telephone exchange, an online consultant on the site and the site itself. It is desirable that the CRM-system not only exchanged data with these systems, but also allowed flexible configuration of integration and system management. For example, we developed the RegionSoft Application Server and VoIP Connector so that our customers can manage integration with external programs and telephony as flexibly as possible.
    • Frequency and model of updates. Any decent software is updated and this is completely normal. Check with the vendor for the frequency and model of delivery of updates - it is desirable that rolling new versions does not slow down the work inside the company.
    • System requirements. In principle, the programs themselves have fairly standard system requirements and do not require any special hardware, but there are nuances. For example, a CRM system may require a paid SQL Server or some special DBMS that consumes huge resources - in this case, the burden of paying for the necessary resources falls on the client’s budget.
    • Delivery models and pricing. We have already written a lot about this, but we will repeat that CRM can be delivered according to the SaaS model (rent - pay monthly, like for a mobile phone), by installments, and on promise, when you simply redeem licenses and pay once. The main thing you need to know here is a) the cost of ownership of the rented software for 2-3 years is far ahead of the cost of buying licenses; b) the vendor can raise prices or close the business - and you will need to pay more or urgently migrate the client base; c) the rented software does not belong to you.

      1. Make sure that you understand the ultimate cost of licenses, installation, and initial setup. Please note that an adequate vendor before signing the technical task will never name the price for revision “by eye”, “well, approximately”, “order”.

      2. Be sure to sign an agreement with the vendor and read each item (you can with the lawyers of your company). Pay attention to such things as linking the cost of licenses to the exchange rate, a strict obligation to buy a technical support package, payment for each update and patch, hidden payments, imposed services, inclusion of all the services you need in the contract.

      3. Check for the availability of default integration with mail, 1C, telephony - surprises after signing the contract are not needed by both parties.
    After clarifying all the circumstances and nuances, you proceed to the important point - interaction with the vendor. There are also a million secrets and tricks from all sides, but there is basic advice that will remove more than half of the risks and headaches: torment the vendor, ask any questions, do not hesitate to clarify and ask in detail, tell about your business goals and gaps. Otherwise, the project may disappoint you, the vendor will catch a negative review, and everyone will be sad. Is this the goal of business automation?

    Do not complicate and turn implementation into a complicated process
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    CRM for small businesses: how to implement one, two, three
    Unequal battle: CRM vs. Excel

    Work with a vendor of a CRM system: TK, tuning, revision

    So, after the first contacts with the vendor, it's time to collect requirements and draw up a technical task (This is done by the vendor! It is almost always paid! Why - read here and here ). It is at this stage that you can prescribe the desired processes and decide which toxic manifestations in the business it is time to abandon.

    For those who are too lazy to read the indicated posts about the technical task, we will repeat the main points. So, TK.

    • It should be unambiguous - all points of refinement and settings should be clear and transparent, implemented and work in the prescribed manner. In TK and its implementation there is no place for either vendor’s speculation or “I had in mind a completely different” customer.
    • It should be advisable - if you are not sure that you need custom functionality, do not order it. Use the CRM system for some time to understand what you really are missing.
    • It must be compiled by the vendor - this is a professional job, and it is the developer who understands how tasks should be written in the statement of work, so that later no one has any complaints.
    • It should not be old - if you drafted the terms of reference in cooperation with another vendor a couple of years ago, it is simply outdated and does not correspond to the real state of affairs in your business.
    • It should not come from a business coach, consultant and other B2B parasites. I don’t want to explain this point at all, but nevertheless: almost no sales trainer is able to adequately prescribe the terms of reference (at least in our many years of practice we have not seen this). He simply does not have that qualification. In the best case, he will write down the sales and management system of your company, and for the developer, this is a set of humanitarian fantasies. They do not lend themselves to formal software logic. If the vendor has a trained trainer and takes his TK to work, think twice. Three is better.
    • It should cover all the work and their stages - they should be clearly stated with the deadlines and cost of work. If there is no cost (and only a vendor can calculate and affix it), then this is almost a guarantee that you will pay a lot for improvements.
    • Must be signed as part of the contract. Often, TK is treated as some kind of formality - in fact, this is an important part of the contract that protects the vendor from constantly changing customer requirements, and the customer from strange amounts to pay from the developer.

    Schematic diagram of the technical specifications for the implementation project of the CRM-system
    Related articles:
    Implementing CRM without TK: the road to nowhere
    Terms of reference for revision: 10 rules and a little tediousness
    In principle, now nothing prevents you from starting to install the basic licenses of the selected CRM system (launch and configure the WEB application, if it is selected) and configure the program for each employee. It is also worth considering important points.

    • Importing data and entering data manually is the first stage of an employee’s interaction with his new AWP (workstation). All historically accumulated data must be transferred to the system so that the client base is complete and forms the basis of the company's information capital.
      When migrating data, it is important:

      1. Select, collect and organize company data from all sources: tables, documents, notebooks, paper, etc. Do not let yourself go bent - in the notebooks and electronic records of your “golden” sales people there is a part of the client base, that is, your asset, and not their property. In such cases, it is better to be a "goon of principle" than to lose valuable customers.

      2. Normalize data - bring files to the standard specified by the vendor (everything is usually simple), correct incorrect information, clean incorrect and outdated contacts and transactions.

      3. Together with the vendor, consider migration options (from base to base, transferring information to .csv or .xls, etc.), clarify all migration conditions.

      4. An optional step is to conduct a test migration on a data block. In principle, now there is no danger of data loss, you can just roll back the process.

      5. Check the migration result (optional).
    • Settings for the graphical user interface (GUI of the workplace) - each employee should be able to configure the system for themselves, remove unnecessary sections and bring to the CRM desktop the most necessary for work in order to have quick access to these objects. For example, in the case of RegionSoft CRM, you can also change the color scheme of the program - a trifle that adds comfort to the work.
    • Setting up reports and templates is an advanced stage, on which you need to spend time and effort of an internal expert, programmer or other IT specialist “in the subject”. Ready-made reports and templates for documents and newsletters will facilitate the work of the manager and accelerate the business processes associated with them. In addition, standardized documents are better analyzed.
    • Assigning access rights is the task of the implementation project manager or system administrator. Each employee should receive a set of capabilities in the system that corresponds to his position and level of trust in him. Do not ignore this setting - these are the basics of information security.
    • Setting up backups. It seems that we are already writing in each article about the need to backup databases, settings, configurations, but no - "u have disappeared." In general, make backups - this is your productivity, security and protection from unforeseen circumstances, from force majeure to a particularly cunning employee.
      While this article was being written, another system administrator called tech support and suddenly cut off the light in the office when 40 users worked in the system. And to the question “After all, you set up automatic backups, as we strongly recommended you to do the last time?”, This is not the first time we hear the familiar answer: “Yes, I’ve worn something ...”.

    The main thing is not to abandon the implementation halfway. This is money and time into the pipe.

    Simultaneously with the start of operation and training, if necessary, you can delve into the refinement of the business logic. You can order a revision right away if you know exactly what specific things you need. Or you can work in a CRM system, set up business processes and communication between departments, and then decide what you are missing and contact a vendor. Often, customers prefer to choose a freelancer for improvements, which seems to be a cheaper solution. This is fraught - not a single freelancer will be able to quickly understand the logic of the system and successfully enter into it a modified component or report. Sometimes this is simply not possible. In general, the avaricious pays twice, so it’s better to immediately contact the developer of the CRM system: it will be faster, more successful and, we assure, cheaper.

    Operation of the CRM system and strong friendship with the vendor

    Training is the key to a successful start of a CRM system, but even here there are several pitfalls.

    For some reason, it seems to everyone that the best form of training is the format of the lecture and practice in the training room, when the vendor's trainers show the functions and principles of work, and the employees repeat one by one or in pairs behind them on training PCs. This is actually the worst form of learning, and here's why:

    • adults are unaccustomed to student practice
    • everyone is used to their computer and even in a similar one, for some reason, gets worse
    • it’s easier to join a strong employee and passively observe what he is doing
    • everyone works at their own pace, and it’s impossible to reach everyone.

    In this scenario, just a demonstration of the capabilities of all modules and it seems more productive. In fact, online training, organized simultaneously with the development of the CRM system and the study of documentation - is the most advanced way to date. And less resource intensive.

    Each company needs an internal expert - a CRM guru, who will master the system at the administrator level and will be able to train employees, understanding how the system fits exactly into your business processes. This is not necessarily the head of the department or an experienced merchant - such an employee may be the assistant administrator, analyst, salesperson, marketer, etc. There would be a desire, an understanding of processes and the ability to formulate thoughts.

    By the way, do not forget to request documentation from the vendor - it can be a PDF file, Wiki help, other help, printed materials. The main thing is that the documentation is complete, relevant and competent. And of course, tested - but this is on the vendor’s conscience.

    From the moment the training is completed, the stage of active exploitation begins. In fact, this is the longest period - the life cycle of a CRM system inside your company. You spent a lot of effort, nerves, money to implement the program, so it is important not to let things go by their own accord, but to get used to working in the system and make it almost an electronic copy of your business. In general, a person gets used to new conditions in 21 days. That is, this is a full working month - it is during it that you need to motivate employees, initiate constant interactions with the CRM system, continue training and consultations from an internal expert.

    What is important at this stage?

    • At first, sabotage of employees may occur , and often among the "stars" of the company. They believe that this is not a royal matter - they fill out the cells and ask to hire assistants for such purposes. Do not be fooled - the rules are the same for everyone, and such sabotage is often a consequence of the fear of revealing all your customers, kickbacks, the real amount of transactions and milestones of the tasks.
    • Be sure to customize, change and add business processes . An automated routine will literally untie the hands of you and your managers - well-coordinated work of a minimum of the human factor will quickly affect the overall result.
    • Plan and manage tasks only in the CRM system - employees will get used to the fact that tasks are waiting for them there, they will understand how convenient and gradually they will fully be included in the automation of personal and group tasks. Moreover, it’s easier for them: stages, reminders, all the data at hand, all the deadlines are in place. Order and calm.
    • Motivate employees to enter data correctly , timely and in full - preferably not by deprivation of bonuses, although in extreme cases all means are good.
    • Do not ignore the individual needs of managers - help set up reports, templates, change the appearance of the program. Moreover, you can even order a revision if the employee justifies such a need.
    • During the operation of the system, it is important to continue to maintain relations with the vendor . There are several areas of interaction: technical support, remote configuration, updates, bug reports, mailings from the development company, website, etc. Be sure to keep track of all the information - so you can keep your CRM system up to date.
    • Ongoing technical support under the contract. We already talked about it in this article. Priority technical support is a guarantee of ensuring the operability of your software, protection against unforeseen circumstances and the almost complete absence of downtime due to the fault of the CRM system.
    • Paid and free updates . Updates are free - patches and improved versions as part of the current release and paid - new releases with radically updated functionality, important interface changes and changes in the logic of certain modules.

    In general, talking in Russia about SLA (Service Level Agreement) is a sure way to be misunderstood and pat your nerves to yourself and your interlocutor. But if the vendor does not fulfill the minimum requirements described in the contract, breaks the deadlines for processing requests and declares that everything is in the manuals, it’s bad. Of course, you can change the CRM-system, with experience it is easier, but this is a new implementation costs and more than half the process again. Try to solve the problem with the top management of the CRM provider - as a rule, it is extremely interested in user loyalty, because it is well aware of the scale and fierce competition in the business automation market in general and CRM in particular. It works magically!

    Download the file with the implementation concept - it will come in handy for you anyway.
    Download the entire file with this article to print it and actively use it.
    In general, in the case of implementing a CRM-system , as in all other works, a good expression is suitable: “Do it normally, it will be normal.” The implementation process is final and sooner or later (following the scheme - sooner rather than later) you will get a working tool that will save you from many headaches and help you earn more. Do not think, wait, endlessly consult - you need to start today to do tomorrow and reach a new level the day after tomorrow. Although most Russian companies needed to implement a CRM system yesterday.

    Important announcement
    Мы инициируем масштабное исследование продаж CRM-рынка — будем тайным покупателем других вендоров и найдём тайного покупателя себе. Обзор будет честным, мы заинтересованы сравнить себя с другими и выделить лучшие и худшие практики. Если у вас есть вопросы, которые хочется выяснить в ходе такого исследования, предложения и замечания, пишите в комментариях или на — всё учтём. Если вы вендор и хотите попасть в обзор, тоже пишите — с удовольствием рассмотрим любого, объективно и без намеренного негатива. Начать планируем в сентябре — время есть. О заказухе, деньгах, «а может, договоримся», «поделимся», «дайте почитать и согласовать»  и прочих откатах, условиях и подкупах речи не идёт — таких просим не беспокоить.

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