10 Steps to Implement a Customer Relationship Management System

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How to Implement a Successful Customer Relationship Management System

Since the spread of customer management systems became full-fledged, there are many companies that have failed to implement them.

In many cases, this is due to the assumption that adding a customer management system will make sales activities more efficient and not following the correct implementation procedures.

If you want to implement a system without fail, you must first know the correct implementation procedures and have a solid plan for operation after implementation.

In this article, I would like to introduce the steps to implement the system.

Table of Contents:

  • Steps to implement a customer relationship management system
  • Summary

Steps to Implementing a Customer Relationship Management System

Clarify the purpose of implementation.

The purpose of the customer management system needs to be clarified, as it is the critical element that will determine the success or failure of the implementation.

Be careful if you are proceeding with abstract purposes, such as streamlining sales activities.

The objectives must be more specific and consistent.

Clarify the purpose of implementing the system in detail, even if it is only pinpointed, such as "To provide highly satisfactory services by sharing customer information across the entire company, which is often managed in an Excel format by individual staff members." 

Identifying current issues and define requirements

Once you have determined your objectives, identify all the current issues in your sales activities. Prioritize them and pick out a few of them that you need to take the initiative in solving.

Defining the requirements for a customer management system is based on the issues you have picked up. If you start defining the requirements without any preliminary work, you may include unnecessary functions, which will increase the probability of failure.

Therefore, thoroughly understand the current issues, prioritize them, and enter the requirements definition.

Creating an implementation person or team

It is very important to create a person or implementation team to implement a customer management system. Even if you don't have e-resources, nominate people as dedicated as possible.

There are many things that need to do in the implementation process, such as creating manuals and preparing the environment, so it is not something that can be done perfectly on one hand while doing your original work. If you proceed in parallel, both the customer management system implementation and the original work will be done halfway, which may have a negative effect on the overall result.

If you still have no choice because of the lack of human resources, create an implementation team to spread the burden.

Clarifying the scope of implementation

A surprisingly common failure in implementing a customer relationship management system is to implement it company-wide suddenly. While it is tempting to implement a company-wide system when you see the benefits, do not be too hasty.

In the first place, when it comes to whether a customer management system is a company-wide requirement, it is not always the case. In fact, it is often better to clarify the scope of implementation.

If, after the implementation, you still want to implement it company-wide, you can just expand it gradually.

Picking a product based on your requirements

After clarifying the scope of implementation, it is time to select a product, but what you should pay attention to here is to pick up products thoroughly based on functional requirements.

At this point, if you care about the cost side, the choice will be narrowed down by that much, so it is not a good idea. So, don't worry about the cost, but pick a product that matches your functional requirements anyway.

We often tend to choose a product with the lowest possible cost if it matches our functional requirements. Until we actually use it, we will never know which product will be the best match for our company.

From this point of view, pick up without considering the cost first.

Defining the target of the review and try it out

Once you have selected the products, you can try them out. In other words, set some evaluation items and measure the effectiveness of each product.

For example, if the purpose of implementing the system is to "provide highly satisfactory services by sharing customer information across the entire company, which has been assigned to each person through Excel management." And if this is the case, you may want to include the average amount of information per week and the number of follow-up cases at the end of the month as evaluation items.

These evaluation items simplify the measurement of the effectiveness of the implementation and make it easier to select the product that is best for your company. It is also important to quantify the evaluation.

Trial for at least two weeks to a month

Once you start a trial, you need to use it for at least two weeks to a month to evaluate it, and a certain period of time is necessary because it is not easy to evaluate it fully in a week or so.

Make your time more efficient by firmly establishing how long you want to evaluate this in-house.

Reviewing the vendor's security system

In today's increasingly cyberattack-becoming more serious, it is safe to say that system security is a top priority. In the unlikely event of an information leak, the company's credibility will be shattered, and the business will suffer a severe financial blow.

In particular, customer management systems manage the customer information that needs to be protected the most, but security is inevitably more important.

Deploying on-premises depends more on internal security measures than vendors. However, if you are deploying a customer management system as a cloud service, make sure you have a good look at the vendor's security structure.

Do you have basic measures such as SSL encrypted communication and firewalls? On top of that, do you have more advanced measures such as multi-layered defense systems and tamper detection systems? Is the physical security and earthquake resistance of the data center (where the data is stored) perfect? 

There are surprisingly many things to check for security requirements. Today, both large companies and small and medium-sized enterprises are subject to cyberattacks, so be cautious.

Compiling existing data in CSV format

In order to import existing customer information into a customer management system, the data needs to be compiled in CSV format. If you start summarizing after the introduction, it will be difficult for the work to proceed due to the convenience of each person in charge, so let's summarize everything before the implementation.

Gaining employees' understanding of the implementation

The last important thing is to gain an understanding of your employees before implementing a customer management system. Many salespeople may think that the current management method is sufficient or may not be willing to change their environment.

If you do not implement it after recognizing that there are such sales staff, not only will it become a source of stress for employees and reduce labor productivity, but in the worst case, the implementation itself may fail.

Therefore, why implement a customer management system? What are the benefits? What will be changed by the implementation of the system? Before implementing the system, make sure to get the employees' understanding.

If you can be a little more careful about the stress caused by the change in environment, the results will be very different.


What do you think? The steps to implement a customer relationship management system are not easy, as you have seen in this article. However, it is essential to achieve a failure-free implementation. 

If you are considering implementing a customer management system in the future, refer to this article.

It is also a good idea to consider implementing an ERP solution, as implementing a customer management system is a sign of corporate growth. ERP solutions are solutions for implementing core systems necessary for management, such as customer management systems, accounting management systems, and marketing, all at once.

See also:
Reasons for Failure in Implementing CRM Tools
Open Source CRM Software and Tools
Customer Relationship Management Tools / CRM Software
CRM System
Advantages and Disadvantages of CRM

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