Articles
Articles
FEB 25

Successfully Implementing the Sales Module in Dynamics CRM

Top Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Begin Configuring Your System

The sales module is typically one of the first modules that gets implemented since the account/customer is the heart of your business. Since there are many different departments that rely on client information, there will be requests and requirements coming from multiple areas of the business. What you have to watch out for is for this module not to become a “dumping ground” with so much data and with such complex forms that people get discouraged searching and entering information.

Before you start the configuration of your system, you need to ask yourself some questions about the specific reasons behind your decision to implement this module and what use you would like to make out of it.

1. What is your main goal in implementing this module?

It is important that you have a clear vision of what you want before you start implementing this module. One of the primary reasons why CRM implementations tend to drag on and go over-budget is because of the exponential number of possibilities within the system. An error that we see often is that companies start dreaming too big and adding too much from the beginning. Company are usually excited about the possible level of automation and information that can be entered and extrapolated from the system, but keep in mind, by adding on all these additional bells and whistles right from the beginning, this makes it easy to lose sight of your main objective (and lose sight of your original budget!).

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Our most successful implementations have been when the customer kept it simple and stuck to their core objectives. Only once the most critical processes were implemented and that this new system was adopted by the staff, did they start adding new features or automations as they had a clearer picture of what were the next priorities for their system.

Among our customers, we have seen the highest level of satisfaction and the best user adoption rates with those who had a phased approach to their CRM implementation.

2. What is not working with your current system or process?

Focus on your pain points and the processes that are most critical to your business. A CRM can help with a variety of issues, but it is important to list them so that you can see if there is a common theme between a couple of them as you may tackle them in different ways within the system.

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Mapping out your processes usually represents two-thirds of the battle, so make sure to have your key stakeholders involved.

3. Which of your processes that are currently manual would you want to automate?

Our reflex is to say to automate as much as you can, which is correct, but in past experiences, too much automation at the beginning is not always a good thing. This can add a level of complexity to the user experience as complex automations may leave more questions than answers when users are not used to working with them.

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Start small. From your list of processes that can be automated, pick a couple of key processes and have only 1 or 2 steps. Once everyone has gotten comfortable with this, then you can add steps and complexities to your workflows.

4. Are you planning on integrating this information to your financial application? If so, what do you want to integrate?

Integrated systems have a lot of benefits, but it is important to correctly understand what you need from the beginning so that you can use the best tools for your needs. There is a variety of tools that exist and the ones you will end up choosing will depend on the complexity of your requirements.

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What you need to keep in mind is that when you integrate applications, there is the possibility that there need to be changes to current practices or business logic as it will no longer only affect a single department. Make sure before you implement that you have discussed with all parties involved in the integration and what are the implications on the other departments or restrictions that may occur by integrating these systems. This may seem more time consuming at the beginning, but this will help reduce time in the long run.

5. Who is the owner, super-user and primary cheerleader for this project?

You should have an idea from the beginning of who you want involved in this project. It will be important from Day 1 of the project to have them involved so that they can become the internal sponsors and those who can help others adapt to the changes.

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Change management is a crucial part of an implementation and should not be ignored. It is important to identify your key users early on so that they maintain a positive outlook of the project as they will most likely be your first line of training and support once the system goes live. The advantage of having these members in your different departments is that they will be able to answer specific process questions quickly so that other team members don’t fall back to old habits while they wait for an answer.

When implementing a CRM system, a key element to success is user adoption. If the system doesn’t help your staff, they will continue you use other tools outside the system and bad pre-implementation habits will start creeping back.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers a lot of flexibility to meet your various sales and customer relationship requirements, but keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither should your CRM system. Give people the time to adapt – once they have started using the system on a daily basis, wait for constructive feedback so that you can make the necessary adjustments to move forward. Continue to evolve your CRM system with additional workflows and automations to take full advantage of the capabilities available within the system.