Deploying Your CRM Solution
One of the initial steps for developing and executing an implementation plan is to assemble your teams. Gaining buy-in from your internal team at the start of the project is key to a successful manufacturing CRM solution deployment. Begin by aligning business goals and vision with the senior management team. Getting senior management’s support can ensure the CRM deployment has both adequate resources and prioritization. After the executive team is established and supportive, it is time to bring in members of the team who will be directly working with the upgraded manufacturing CRM solution.
Supply chain specialists, the sales team, production planners, and the customer service team are integral to effective CRM implementation. Get these individuals involved early to test the upgraded CRM solution so that they will have time to better understand the system and have an improved capacity to communicate technical challenges and workflow inefficiencies.
In addition to building your internal team, it is critical to have a strong external team involved in deploying your CRM solution. This team includes any consultants or providers and they should be experts in deploying manufacturing CRM solutions. Your external team should offer implementation services that help translate your business needs into a functional solution. They can advise you on needs for your specific industry and ensure the deployment meets those needs. Also, the external team can help to develop an implementation plan that will help ease the changes within your organization.
During the deployment stage of a CRM upgrade, data migration will be your friend. Use deployment to cleanse your data. Identify inefficiencies, redundancies, and other problems, then use the CRM solution to work toward correcting them and developing measurable performance indicators. Data migration will save you time and ensure the new CRM solution will be impactful.
An effective external team can prove critical to ensuring your CRM solution makes for a smoother deployment and places value in the people, not just the technology. Significant changes mid-deployment can cause a budget to blow up. Be specific with what you want from the start, and make sure that your expectations are aligned with your budget to prevent major headaches during deployment.
The go-live moment is one of the most exciting and nerve wrecking aspects of CRM deployment. Be sure to devote a team consisting of internal and external stakeholders to monitor go-live. They can spot mistakes and bugs and work on real-time solutions to the inevitable problems. While go-live and other stages of deployment can feel like the culminating event, it is critical to continually evaluate success and monitor the big picture. Develop milestones for success that are specific to your organization and track key performance indicators to gauge your progress toward the milestones. Be sure to include external stakeholders in these discussions as they may offer a perspective that your internal team overlooks.
Throughout the process, it’s important to remember that how you implement the technology can be just as important as the technology itself. A key aspect of this is training employees and gaining buy-in. You can do in-person training which has the benefit of allowing for real-time feedback and in-depth communication. Role-playing and practicing, both key elements of training, may be easier in-person. However, e-learning may be more practical for many organizations. Given our modern world, this may be easier than in-person training and can be done from any location including a home office. If you need additional support, there are services available for any type of training related to deployment you need.