Best Practices when developing a CRM System

TRAINING

  1. An absolute must! It is ridiculous to spend money on software and customization, and not spend money on the one item that will actually get people to use the system.
  2. Users who are not confident will not use the system.
  3. Always include hands-on practice.
  4. Divide training into functional segments, and have people only attend training that is relevant to their work.
  5. Ramp up training as skill sets improve.
  6. Provide advanced training for Power Users.
  7. Provide a contact who will quickly answer User questions, especially in the beginning.
  8. Provide specialized Administrator Training.

Helpful Training Videos 

PLANNING

  1. Getting User Buy-In
    1. Include User input when deciding options.
    2. Ask Users what measure they will use to decide whether or not the installation is a success, then include those items.
    3. Manage expectations by letting them know what is within scope and what is not.
    4. Map as many fields as possible to avoid duplicate data entry.
    5. Automatic formatting of standard fields (phone number, Zip code, Account Name).
    6. Training!!! This is the #1 way to attain User buy-in.
  1. Security Roles
    1. Who will be able to see what information?
    2. Who will have access to everything?
    3. Are there entities that need to be restricted to only certain job titles? (e.g: credit card info, social security numbers, etc.)
    4. Usually upside down from the organizational chart. People on the bottom do the most amount of work and often need the widest access.
  1. Reports, Views, Charts, Dashboards
    1. Start at the end and work backward.
    2. Decide what pieces of info you will want to see, and make sure fields are included to give you that info in a format that will show well in the desired format.
    3. If there is anything that you will want in the future, be sure fields are included from the beginning so Users are in the habit of completing them.
  1. Data Integration
    1. Decide which direction info will flow (A to B, B to A, or both ways).
    2. Include fields that will be used to integrate with other systems.
    3. Consider the format of the info that is needed when pushing to another system.
    4. Determine what info should be read-only, and what should be editable.
  1. Terminology
    1. Use terms that make sense to your staff.
    2. Change the display names of entities as appropriate (rename “Literature” to “Sales Tools”).
  1. Establish business rules that tell Users how to enter info in text boxes
    1. Common abbreviations (Co., Inc., Jr.).
    2. Use of other abbreviations (Hosp., Assoc., Int’l.).
    3. Whether or not to spell out numbers (First National Bank, Fifth/Third).
    4. The, A, An at the beginning.
    5. Establishing naming conventions – Example: Start all case names with product type.

SETUP

  1. Form Setup
    1. Only require essential fields so Users won’t see completing the form as a burden.
    2. Avoid text fields in favor of drop-downs or checkboxes.
    3. Add fields that are for Users, rather than reports (nickname, pronunciation, pets).
    4. Contact status is important (decision-maker, deceased, vendor contact).
    5. List all contact info, and include a way to indicate BEST contact method/time.
    6. Include extra fields for home phone, home email, etc.
    7. Preferences area, if relevant (day/time for contact, service provider, contact method).
    8. Be conscious of when to allow multiples (job roles) vs. just 1 selection (job title).
  1. Workflow Processes
    1. Start at the end and work backward.
    2. Decide what the process will accomplish, then figure out how to make that happen.
    3. Decide which steps can be automated (email notifications) and which steps will need User input (shipping date).
    4. Factor in quality checks (automatic escalation after a set number of days of inactivity).
    5. Get input from Users who will be required to use the process.
    6. Make sure all necessary fields are present to accomplish the process.
    7. Make sure you can duplicate the process manually before attempting to automate.
    8. Testing – Use a variety of login types (Admin, User) and security roles (Admin, Manager, Salesperson) when testing, to assure the process works in all relevant scenarios.
  1. New entity vs. adding to a form
    1. Decide when you will need a new entity, and when you can add fields to an existing form.
    2. Example: Yearly Cost Tracking Info
      1. If putting just a few months on the Opportunity form will work, great.
      2. If you need to keep more than a few months, you probably need a separate entity.

Comments

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