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Here’s the second part of our blog giving you five more important tips about the factors you need to consider right at the start of your Microsoft Dynamics CRM project. Along with the previous five tips, this information will help to ensure that you get the system successfully working for your business and delivering results as smoothly as possible.
Tip 6 – Make sure you have Staff available
Making sure staff have time scheduled specifically for the project is often overlooked by organisations implementing a CRM system for the first time. It’s really important – and not just for user buy-in. As well as appointing a Project Lead, you need to make staff available for their input at various stages. They will need to schedule time for consultation, updates, data cleansing, testing, training, and other project activities.
Your CRM project will have to take your staff away from their ‘day job’ at times, so you will need to plan and schedule this., Delays in staff availability can delay the project, or worse lead to less than ideal configuration, system design, or usage.
Remember that different staff will need different levels of CRM training and support. Also consider a ‘train the trainer’ approach from your business partner – get them to train some of your staff to be able to train others. This not only reduces reliance on your business partner, but will also save money and gives you a valuable in-house training resource.
Tip 7 – Clean your data
Some businesses getting started with Microsoft Dynamics CRM will find their data is ok, perhaps consisting of a few hundred contacts, all up to date and all on one spreadsheet. For most though, data is all over the place – on different devices, in different formats, in different files, on paper, and even in people’s heads.
For many organisations, data cleansing can be painful. There’s no getting away from it. But implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM is actually a great opportunity to sort your data out, and data cleansing is always time well spent.
How you clean your data depends entirely on your organisation. Sometimes you can employ a temp to work through it, or employ a data cleansing agency before it’s imported into your CRM software. Some businesses will need to use members of staff who understand the data. Occasionally some organisations decide it’s easier to discard their old data completely and start from scratch with a clean system.
Tip 8 – Check your IT resources and infrastructure
Considering its power, flexibility, and functionality, in terms of technical specifications and hardware processor power Microsoft Dynamics CRM is perhaps surprisingly not that ‘hungry’. You won’t need the very latest, high-end PCs or processors.
If you’re deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premise, you’ll need a medium level server. For general guidance – if your server is less than three years old you’re probably OK. For PC’s and workstations, as long as they are less than around four years old, again Microsoft Dynamics CRM will probably run OK. Make sure that Active Directory is installed and configured correctly on your server.
If you’ve chosen hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM, all you’ll need is a reasonable PC and broadband internet connection. If you’re happy with the speed and performance of your system when you’re browsing the internet, you should be OK. It’s also advisable to have the latest version of Internet Explorer (you must use Internet Explorer with Microsoft Dynamics CRM; other browsers are not supported).
Tip 9 – Keep talking!
The smoothest run and most successful CRM implementation projects tend to be the ones where people communicate well – clearly, fully, and frequently. This includes internal communications, for example between IT staff, project managers, and end users, as well as between business partners, consultants, and client companies. So, try and keep everyone up to date about what’s going on. Make sure that if people, at whatever level, have concerns or issues to raise, they have no barriers or reasons not to express their opinions. Keep talking, keep the project moving, and let everyone know how things are going.
Tip 10 – Don’t try to do everything at once
CRM is a strategy. One of the key features of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is that, as your company and business processes develop, Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be developed with you. Over time people will get to really know the system and realize its potential. Also, Microsoft Dynamics CRM is an incredibly powerful CRM solution with a lot of potential functionality. So, don’t try and use all of it all at once.
Divide your CRM implementation project into manageable stages. For example, start off with marketing campaigns, lead management and sales automation. As your business changes, so will your CRM system. Regularly review its functionality from a process, user and technical perspective, and don’t forget to update your documentation, processes, and procedures to reflect changes accordingly.
Good luck with your Microsoft Dynamics CRM project, and if you need further help and advice, don’t hesitate to contact Concentrix.
By Concentrix Ltd – UK CRM, Accounting and ERP Software Specialists, a UK Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner
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