It’s not the CRM, it’s you — How to make tech work for you

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Scene:

You already have tried multiple pieces of software to solve a problem and each time you’re sold a bill of goods that does not seem to come to fruition. It always looks easier in the demo, the time to set up always seems like it should be less, and the result is always the same, software that does maybe 80% of what you were hoping for.

End scene

Here’s the problem, in many of these cases though we actually are not taking the time in the setup phase to do enough organization and due diligence and this is especially true of CRM systems. We love the idea of a client relationship management software.

Think how organized our project and task management will be. But the reality is few firms take the time to vet the system that’s right for them and then even fewer take the time to make sure that all the bells and whistles of that system are properly set up, taught to the staff, and tested prior to implementation.

Most CRM software now provide a variety of functionality; the ability to communicate with clients, provide easily accessible portals for information sharing, task management, project management, time tracking features, and more.

Those features are all great efficiency tools when implemented properly, but most systems do not come set up and customized to our firms on day one. A lot of organizations miss the boat on the setup and training process.

Most CRM software now provide a variety of functionality; the ability to communicate with clients, provide easily accessible portals for information sharing, task management, project management, time tracking features, and more.

Common areas of stress post-implementation include “tagging” issues and lack of training.

Tagging can apply to a variety of pieces within a system. Client contacts can be tagged to the file. Documents such as financial statements and tax returns can be tagged to a file and a year.

Tasks can be tagged to both a specific client and a specific project on that client. Team members can be tagged or “assigned” to specific tasks. Failing to set your database up with these tags at the onset of software implementation is going to make everything harder later.

Team members may not be able to see everything they are responsible for, resulting in the potential for work being missed.

Files could be more difficult to find. Worst of all, I find that in most circumstances, the database issues at the beginning lead to frustrated staff members who resort to just inputting their own solutions. This means you will end up with a team not utilizing the software you’re paying for appropriately.

This can cost dollars in terms of lost efficiency.

Training is absolutely necessary. Start a “sandbox” section of your software to be used as a test area to allow everyone to “play around” and learn how things work without disturbing your real working data.

Ask a company before you commit to using their solution what their training program looks like. Is it live? Do they help test your data to make sure it’s working properly before you go live? What type of support will you and your team receive if there are issues that pop up (there will be) after implementation? Write standard operating procedures for your team before going live and make sure everyone knows where to access them.

The key to successful efficiency utilization with the implementation of any CRM or database is to put the time in upfront. Most organizations skimp on this step because they believe the faster the solution is implemented the sooner they can start reaping the benefits, but the time cost on the backend for skipping steps in the beginning will only suck resources from your team.

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