Choosing the Best CRM for Your Business: A Step-by-Step Guide – PART 1.

Getting more from your data, driving process efficiencies, and saving time – Helping you to write the Business Case for CRM.

Stacked die spelling out CRM Marketing on a grey work surface.

We provide expert support for businesses going through change and transformation. This post will help you with writing a business case for CRM in your organisation.

Often, these changes are led by technology – digital, data, AI – the hot topics that are keeping everyone on their toes right now. We’re here to help you understand the impact of technology on you, your employees, and your clients.

Our work often starts with a digital, or technology-focused challenge, but we understand that change programmes are about people first and foremost, so we spend just as much time and attention on communication and bringing your people along with us on the transformation journey.

Here is part one of an example of how we approached an accountancy firm’s data challenges with an employee-first, technology-second approach to CRM (Customer Relationship Management) project initiation, and how we made sure that strong Internal Communication and stakeholder engagement was built in from the start of our work.

In Summer 2022, we started a conversation with one of our clients about data management, client information, and the possibility of bringing in a firm-wide CRM.

Taking the First Step with CRM

Implementing a CRM system can be a daunting job for any business. Having worked closely with in-house CRM teams in the past, we know how tough the notion of centralised platforms can be within partnership-based organisations.

Entrenched behaviours—doing things “our way, because it works for us,” sharing information across teams—and balancing this with the desire to change towards a more ‘one team’ approach can be a challenging prospect.

On top of this, beginning a conversation about CRM can be a big undertaking. The way businesses record and manage client information can be wildly inconsistent and often necessitates a big commitment to change from employees.

To get an idea of how involved the task might be, tick all that you think may be true in your business:

All joking aside (are we joking though??!), introducing CRM is no easy task and requires subject matter expertise. Mapping and starting to clean up the data sources ahead of a CRM implementation was a project we knew we needed some help.

A People-First Approach to Digital Change

We always try to work with proven experts, directly from our networks, so we had a chat with Josie O’Donovan, who we knew immediately would be a perfect fit to work alongside the team at our client. Josie has so much patience and brings a measured and calm approach to her work, coaching each client through the project and, at the same time passing on her knowledge to them. Josie is a perfect fit for what we’re building at Excited by Digital.

Josie quickly got to work with the Marketing team, and they brought together client-facing teams from across the business, to start their data review. We knew we needed to start engaging hearts and minds with the project right from the start, and the people we brought into that room helped us get off to a flying start, and are still actively involved today as CRM Champions.

Building a Strong Foundation

Before we could begin to identify suitable CRM systems, we had to review how the different teams worked with their clients, and as with most businesses, and particularly partnerships, we knew this would probably be done very differently from team to team.

And we weren’t wrong! However, what we also found was that there were many commonalities across the teams that could help them save time and reduce duplication of effort. This allowed us to present a streamlined vision for client onboarding and became the blueprint we would take to the firm’s partners to get the green light for the full project.

Here are the main benefits we helped the firm to present in their business case:

1.    Improved Data and Reporting Insight

These sessions helped us to identify key data points for improved reporting insights such as clarifying the number of valid contacts, assessing and predicting client revenue, enhancing prospect management, and monitoring loyalty rates. This comprehensive view of your data is crucial to help strategic decision-making.

(The sessions also helped us to identify where the firm’s clients had similar needs related to their stage of growth and development, and that helped us to suggest a subtle shift the firm could make with its marketing—but that’s another story for another blog post!)

2.     GDPR Compliance: An important aspect of choosing the right CRM is how it can help you with GDPR compliance. The system you choose will help you to handle your data responsibly, and securely, and help you to adhere to the regulatory requirements to protect your clients’ information – especially if your data is managed inconsistently across the business.

3.     Process Efficiencies and time-saving: Implementing a CRM should help you to make efficiencies and time savings across your client processes. Centralising and streamlining your data management processes and using powerful inbuilt tools like AI, mean teams can reduce time spent on manual tasks, minimise errors in the held data, and focus more on people-focused jobs like client engagement and more time for service delivery.

In summary, here are some key points to remember for your business case:

  • People-First: Focus on how CRM will help people and help with their pain points. Engage a small group of employees from the start and keep them close throughout the transformation journey.
  • What are the key business benefits? These are likely to include, but not exclusive to – improved data management and reporting insights, better segmentation of clients, ability to predict client revenues, enhanced prospect management, and being able to monitor loyalty rates – and how all of these are helpful to more strategic decision-making.
  • GDPR, Risk, and Compliance: Bring your risk and compliance officers to the table! CRM can help to ensure GDPR compliance by helping you manage data responsibly and securely, adhering to regulatory requirements to protect client information.
  • Process Efficiencies, Time Savings, and saving money: Make sure your business case shows how you expect CRM to help streamline data management, reduce time spent on manual tasks, minimise errors, and how users can free up time and costs to focus more on client engagement and service delivery.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help you with CRM, marketing, or any of our services, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to set up a call.

Next week we’ll share Part Two of this guide:

Choosing the right CRM technology for your business, and how to build communication strategies to help your employees embrace change.