1. Get the process right first, then automate.
Many companies are so eager to get started with their CRM – and the newer tools are so easy to learn and use – that we often see folks run ahead before thinking through what they’ll need. First, get your process right. Know the kinds of marketing campaigns you’ll run, who’ll you’ll target, how they’ll want to engage with you, and how you’ll know if campaigns are working and converting. Know how you’ll approach sales, who you’re selling to, what are the typical stages, and how long each stage takes. If you rush in, you may automate a process that isn’t working… which just gets you to the wrong place, faster.
2. Focus on “Minimum Viable Data Entry”.
Most CRM and automation tools are pretty easy to use these days. It’s easy to get the data in. It’s easy to add custom fields. Lots and lots and lots of custom fields. But “garbage in, garbage out” is true with CRMs. If you want the data to be good, you’ll want to be very mindful of what is the minimumset of data you need. And then think through what you’ll have to do to get that minimum viable data with a very high degree of completeness and accuracy.
3. Go wide, not deep.
Although we are big fans of taking on big projects in phases, we recommend going wide before going too deep. By that we mean your CRM will have far more power if it becomes a company-wide tool, than if it becomes the “marketing stack” or “sales stack” that nobody else cares about. Think about how your CRM can become the place where all the knowledge lives about your customers and prospects, and then invite the gang in. Let the product team look at the customer and prospect data to see what trends they uncover. Let Customer Success find which customers seem similar, so they can recommend solutions to shared problems. Help the exec team pull an accurate sales report or KPIs from the very same tool the sales team is using.
4. Invest in onboarding.
Again, the ease of use can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it means you can likely just invite your team to jump into your stack and they’ll get started. On the other hand, it means that they may not understand some of the nuances that can mean the difference between “it works awesome” and “this CRM is brutal”. So, invest in onboarding. Spend time with your team explaining the why: why you are moving customer and prospect data to a CRM, what it means for them, what you need from them to make it work, and what’s in it for them. And then keep selling them on the value to keep adoption high.
5. Keep investing.
We often see folks get really excited about their new, shiny CRM, only to fall out of love 6 or 12 months later… and then start shopping again. Your stack requires your ongoing love and devotion. You have to keep investing. Proactively invest in keeping the data clean (we recommend deep “scrubs” of your data at least 2x a year – quarterly is even better!). Tweak your configuration so it keeps meeting your needs – remove unused fields, dated report templates, metrics you no longer care about.