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Customizing Your CRM Makes All the Difference

by Corie Kaftalovich

May 12, 2011

After months of research and demos and sales pitches, you’ve finally decided which CRM software you want to implement in your business. The next question on your mind is…now what? With the manual in hand and the support team just a phone call away, the logical first step is to tailor the system to your business’ precise needs and goals.

However, most CRM systems make customization super easy, which results in adding in lots of unnecessary fields and notifications that you don’t even end up using. So before you go on customization frenzy, take a peek at some of these helpful tips to getting your CRM solution customized to perfection.

1.       Always have a plan

Though it’s tempting to just add fields left, right and centre that you think would be of value to input in your CRM database, it is so important for you and your team to first sit down and discuss what you want to achieve with your CRM. Think about what types of reports you want to produce and therefore what data you need to have in your system in order to create them. Knowing this in advance will greatly help to ensure you have the necessary fields in each module and more importantly, that the CRM system is truly providing value to your business.

2.       Begin with the basics

Make sure to begin your customization process at a basic level. The last thing you want to do is to overwhelm your users with too many input fields as this will only make them more resistant to adopting the solution. As your team gets used to the system and as your business grows, add the other fields gradually and begin making some fields mandatory so that your CRM solution is up-to-date and serves as a true data repository.

3.       Create a mirror image

Your CRM system should work with you and not against you so when customizing, always ensure that the solution uses your lingo, reflects your business’ processes and seamlessly functions the same way you do. For example, if you need to be reminded of upcoming meetings and appointments a day in advance, set up email or SMS notifications in your CRM solution to do so for you. Alternatively, if your company refers to Leads as Prospects, change the name of the module so that the CRM system not only looks but talks like you too.

4.       Trial and error

Always be open to making changes to the way you use your CRM system. The solution must adapt along with your company so fields and processes that were once relevant when the CRM was first implemented might need to change a few months down the road. As long as your entire team is on the same track and agrees with the changes, your potential for success with the system is endless.

Though these tips may seem commonsensical, you’d be surprised with how many people dive into customizing their CRM solution without thinking them through.  Now that you have the basic know-how on how to approach the CRM tailoring process, start working on it one step at a time, because after all, customizing your CRM system makes all the difference.

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