Best practices when implementing a modern business software solution
To run a modern data driven business requires a modern business acceleration platform, sales acceleration platform or CRM. The time, when excel spreadsheets and the email inbox was good enough, has actually passed years ago.
This article describes some best practices to think about when implementing a new solution to make your marketing, prospecting, sales, delivery and invoicing, i.e. work with customers more efficient.
Historically and even today many companies focus to much on tech and too little on the business side of an implementation.
To generalise if the focus has/is to 80% on the tech side of the implementation and 20% on the business side, it has to change to 90% business focus and 10% tech implementation focus.
Why is this ?
Most of the issues related to implementing a new CRM are business related. That has historically also been natural because that’s how new IT softwares have been managed, like IT solutions and not business solutions.
When the product including configurations etc. has been delivered, the work is done.
Now when the business is exposed to the rapid change we are experiencing most businesses need to become more agile.
We can therefore not settle one fixed way of doing things that will be valid for the next few years, in many cases that will be adjusted every 12 months.
Therefore the tech side of an implementation need to be as plug & play and flexible as possible.
We cant forget that the whole point of implementing a new business software like a CRM is to make the business more efficient. If that basic requirement is not met, then there is no point of wasting time and money on implementation projects.
Best practices – New solution means new routines
Too often have I seen it happen. The organisation has decided to bring a new solution onboard BUT the solution should work like the old solution being replaced.
How come? and what’s the result?
We humans do not really like change because change always means we need to make an effort.
It’s often quite cozy to just cruise along and do things on routine. Anything that disturbs that might be questioned for a bunch of different reasons, some logic some irrational.
The point with all feedback what a change is not good often derives from the fact that some people don’t want disturb their cruising.
However, if the change will improve its worth it!
So far so good, most organisations that have decided to swap a solution has passed this point.
The next part however, is quite often missed out on. The fact that a new solution often means new routines and ways of doing things, often more efficient.
Then its important to not just copy the old routines and data to the new solution.
My experience is that most organisations don’t keep a well maintained CRM softwares and therefore include a lot of irrelevant data.
When switching to a new solution it can be worth thinking about cleaning that data and not bring all the noice in to the new solution.
Best practices – The software implementation – What to focus on
As said in the beginning, the focus on tech need to be focused on getting solutions that do not require programming OR complex configurations to get started.
Our best practices indicates that programming could be required but basically it’s only enterprise companies with needs to integrate specific legacy systems that has a true need for this.
Here are some general recommendations to be able to get pass the tech part as fast as possible
> Choose a cloud based software, stay away from anything called on premise or installation
> Choose something that gives you all access on mobile. Mobile is not innovative, its basics to be able to operate the whole system from a mobile. Soon you need to be able to do voice as well. All to make it as easy for your users as possible. Secure the provider you talk to has a strategy for both mobile and voice interactions.
> Make sure the important integrations you need are play & play, now or on the way.
> Make sure the software can be set up for your use in hours, not in days or weeks.
> Make sure to get clarity on what is included in terms of assistance and training.
> Make sure you get access to support and what the potential price tag is
More question you could ask to secure that you choose a product that is future proof are:
– What is the main focus of the product road map the next 12-24 months. This gives you a clear indication on where the provider is heading and if that strategy is something that benefits your strategy or not.
– How often does the provider release new updates
This gives you a hint on how the provider will follow or even lead the general development in the specific field.
You need to make sure your choice is as future proof as possible.
Historically, when the speed of new updates of the product was once a year, it was more important to only check what features were available at the evaluation point.
In a modern cloud and mobile based environment new updates are released as often as every 2 – 4 weeks.
In such an environment it’s is therefore important to also check where your potential provider is heading and not only on what exists today.
You don’t want to get a stagnated solution with a best before date that passed years ago, just because they are a known brand.
The speed of change is so high that the direction of your potential provider actually matters a lot. You don’t want to find yourself stuck with provider that make you fall behind your competitors.
Best practices – Choose a best of breed software
We have all seen it before, so many times. One provider that try to offer all bits and pieces you might need. Microsoft, Oracle etc are good examples.
The result ? the provider is actually not best at anything.
Why did apps become so popular? Because they are deadly focused on doing one thing really good.
Bringing a really good product to market is not only about size, its about focus, knowledge and priorities.
If you do one thing you become much better at that compared to do a lot on many fields. Your future provider of business acceleration, sales acceleration or CRM should not try to become the best marketing tool or invoicing tool.
The best one focus on bringing all parts of your business that concerns your customers together, in one solution. That solution can and should consist of tools from different providers for two reasons.
> You increase the chances of getting the best tool for each department’s needs
> You reduce your risks since you don’t put all your eggs in the hands of one provider
When you select a solution try to pick the best possible softwares for your different needs.
Don’t try to find a-one-software that will cover all your needs for website tracking, email-automation, driving your lead qualification, sales, invoicing etc. The provider that offer you one solution with all, is less likely to provide you with the best software for each part.
According to our best practices a modern strategy is best of breed. Pick the best email automation tool, best website tracking tool, best lead and sales tool, best ERP etc. Then you get a tailored solution that suits your needs.
All providers invest in product development and unless the provider is a global giant it’s hard to beat the niched providers. Even for a global giant it’s hard since keeping focus and domain knowledge is an important factor when developing the best possible software for a specific target group.
Best practices – Keep a business focus
As said in the beginning the focus for an implementation need to on the changed routines that comes with a new solutions and not the tech.
The purpose of implementing a new digital solution is to become better, more efficient, faster etc. As for any other change in life to become better it takes practise and repetition. There are no short cuts and there are no easy ways to improvement.
Unfortunately many people have a believe that machines can do all things for us and that new knowledge and routines should get stuck without any efforts. In reality thats not the case. We need to make an effort to become better and learn new routines.
Some people get stuck on a specific level in life, others regularly challenge themselves to break the levels and become better.
When we are forced to change routines or acquire new knowledge in live we always go through the same fours mental stages:
- Unconsciously unaware
- Consciously unaware
- Consciously aware
- Subconsciously aware
We go through these four stages when exposed to new routines when starting to work with new IT-solutions as well, as users.
Therefore, when it comes to on-boarding a new software, it’s important according to our best practices that everyone in the team understands
> Why the change takes place
> What benefits they will get when they learn to master the new solution
> How this will improve there work life
It is very important that everyone in the team is aware, and take responsibility for, the effort that is required to come out on the other end (subconsciously aware).
This is why you need to put most of your effort on the business side when implementing a new software in your organisation.
It’s also important to not try to master it all at once but rather over a longer period of time, perhaps a few months.
To make any new routine/behaviour stick and become natural you need to repeat it frequently over a period of 20-30 days.
Therefore it’s recommended to not begin with all parts of a new software at once.
Try to group and take the features month by month until all relevant features of your new software has been rolled out on the relevant sections of your business, but don’t try to do a one big bang roll out, it has been tried so many times and failed.
Technology is there to make you and your team better and more efficient, but to reach that point you need to realise its a behavioural change you need to go through and that requires time and effort.
CEO & Founder Salesbox