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How CRM implementation will help your startup grow

CRM has long been a go-to tool for large companies and enterprises as it increases profits, reduces costs, and streamlines business communication. But what if a company is still maturing? What if it’s a small startup with unicorn dreams?

In this article, we’ll discuss how to implement CRM in the most beneficial way as well as explain why it will come in handy for any company, even if it’s still in the early stages of growth.

First: Is CRM worth your startup’s attention?

The answer is definitely yes. The main goal of every startup is to steadily grow with as few resources as possible, and CRM is a perfect hack as it automates sales processes and customer relationships, offers analytics, and much more. In fact, a Salesforce survey found that most companies see results almost immediately, with sales and productivity increasing by up to 40 percent and 96 percent of users reporting that it met or exceeded their ROI expectations.

Today, plenty of small businesses are still using spreadsheets to manually send emails to prospects, leads, and customers. But come on, we live in the digital era! Not only is that inefficient, costly, and time-consuming, but there will quickly come a point when you can no longer track your ever-growing client base.

The good news? Strategic CRM implementation can help you enhance customer retention, customer acquisition, user satisfaction, and team communication, all leading to increased business growth.

What is the difference between CRM and a CRM system?

The broadest definition of CRM is any technology that helps manage all of the company’s relationships and interactions with clients, potential customers, vendors, partners, and prospects — really any external party — so that no one misses a single step during the communication.

But very often, when people talk about “CRM,” they mean the platform itself, a specific tool for contact management, sales management, agent productivity, and more.

What are the main features of CRM?

Since CRM systems have a ton of useful capabilities, let’s have a brief look at the ways they add value:

The main features of CRM

Scalability

CRM continuously supports functionality as your startup grows, so you won’t have to start from scratch all the time — you’ll be equipped to deal with large demand and spikes in traffic organically, without the need for advance planning or additional resources.

Flexibility

Any software used by startups should be customizable and flexible as well as correspond to the unique business processes of your company. With CRM, you can manage your configuration for a solution that is not only a good fit right now but will also support you five years from now.

Regular updates

All major CRM vendors include regular software updates; Salesforce, for example, does it three times a year. As a result, your system will always be functioning at its peak with no effort on your part.

Reporting

Customized analytics reporting will keep you ready for whatever’s next in your business. With a data reporting component, you can identify customer behavior trends, take action to improve client relationships, and make data-driven decisions and develop strategies to benefit the business in all areas.

Rich integration capabilities

Most companies rely on multiple apps to manage all business processes. The good news is that certain CRM systems support integration with the external applications you use every day — Slack, JIRA, HelloSign, MailChimp, DocuSign, and more — bringing together various functions to a single interface.

Security

A CRM system keeps data secure, allowing only authorized users to gain access to the resources. Sharing rules can be set up to provide information gathered by one individual to others within the organization.

How is CRM implemented?

Now, let’s talk about how you can make your digital transformation faster and easier.

Steps to implement CRM

Step 1: Start with your plan

First and foremost, set reachable goals. You should clearly understand the current state of your startup in order to define the most realistic short-term results. Build a roadmap including time and budget requirements, decide how you want to communicate with your clients and define your desired conversion rate, lead volume, and more. This way, you’ll get a clearer vision of what functions you need in your system.

Step 2: Find an experienced partner

Choosing the appropriate CRM system is only 50 percent of the challenge; the other is setting it up correctly. That’s why next, you need to find an experienced implementation partner.

If you’re a startup, you probably have a brilliant business idea and no CRM developers on your team — in fact, even a stable mid-size company may not have CRM system experts. In these cases, our advice is to find an experienced partner who will take care of all technical matters; start by asking your peers for recommendations and doing your own research.

Keep in mind that the right implementation partner supports you all of the way from purchasing the system to the release to user training. And take into consideration that sometimes you may need an experienced partner at the planning stage to identify the proper CRM system for your existing business processes.

Step 3: Develop and test the system

At this stage, your partner will develop the system according to the outlined requirements and specifications, including system configuration, data migration, and integration with third-party systems. This step also includes user acceptance testing to make sure the requirements have been met and all business processes are working correctly.

Step 4: Deploy and train the users of your system

Finally, according to the results of user acceptance testing, developers deploy the system while experts organize training for future users. The experts can also provide detailed technical documentation on the system capabilities and configurations that have been made.

Wrapping up

While the world of CRM might seem overwhelming at first, the payoff is most definitely worth it — especially when you have a knowledgeable partner to guide you through. We hope that by sharing the information above, we’ve helped to clear the clouds and left you with a better understanding of why your startup needs a CRM system and how to make its implementation easy, effective, and profitable.

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