Updated: Nov 8
Having a customer relationship management system, otherwise known as a CRM, to store your client data, is an invaluable tool. Not only because of the ability to make contact and keep details secure but also for the amazing automation capabilities many CRM systems have today.
But aside from all that, if you don't set your CRM system up right from the start, it can end up being a huge headache later on down the line. Check out these top tips to get your CRM launch off to the best start. It will help you get it right the first time, leading to less feelings of wanting to rip your hair out.
1. Make sure your CRM system has forms
Imagine setting up an entire CRM system and then realising it doesn't have the capability to create forms. It might not seem like a big deal, but getting information from an external form into your client's records within your CRM might be if your system doesn't have the functionality to create forms from scratch.
It isn't always an issue when you can use third-party apps like Zapier to act as a conduit between your default form provider and your CRM system, but adding in additional steps can be more costly and leave room for error, which is why having the capability within your CRM, is a much better option. Most CRM systems will allow you to create forms, but it's always worth checking first.
2. Plan your custom fields
Most CRM systems will come with default fields, usually something like name, address, phone, email, etc. But chances are you will need more fields than this depending on the information you want to collect. If you're starting a CRM system off from scratch, with no contact details to bring over, then this part won't matter all that much, as you will naturally develop custom fields over time. But, if you are migrating data into your new CRM, creating your custom fields first is absolutely essential.
There is nothing worse than exporting a CSV. file full of contacts, uploading it into your shiny new CRM, mapping only the default fields, and then after you've got your 500+ contacts, realising all the additional information you had in their records, otherwise held in custom fields, is missing. Do you really want to input all of those details one by one?
The best way around this is to spend the time creating your custom fields first. Look at the information you already collect, or the titles you have on your spreadsheets, and create those as new fields. When you upload your spreadsheet full of contacts, now you will be able to map those fields in one bulk move.
3. Create lists and tags before you import contacts
Once you have imported your contacts, you're going to want to label them somehow. This usually happens in the form of lists and tags. Some CRM systems only have tags, but many have lists and tags. The beauty of this is that you can further segment who and how you target your customers with emails and newsletters. For example, let's say you want a list of all current customers, but those customers fit into different purchase types or subscription plans. You can add them all to the same list, then apply different tags, perhaps, monthly subscriber, annual subscriber etc.
By doing this, you can send out blanket emails if you need to, to everyone on that list, but if you want to run a campaign just for your monthly subscribers, perhaps to offer them something that might encourage them to pay annually instead, you can then choose that specific tag within that list, to ensure only those contacts get the message.
If you don't already have lists and tags, think about what you might want those to be and create them before you import your contacts, that way, you can automatically assign your contacts to their respective lists upon import.
4. Don't import everyone at once
Not only should you run a batch test import before you bring all of your contacts into your CRM system, but you should do it in list batches anyway. When you think you have everything set up exactly as it needs to be, import just a small list, say, 20 customers. Check everything came through the way you wanted it to before importing everyone else.
When you are ready to import the rest of your contacts, think about those lists and tags. Import in blocks of the list you want to assign contacts to and do it in stages for each list. Just like in the scenario of failing to create custom fields, the last thing you want to do is bulk import a bunch of people, then realise they need to be in different lists or assigned different tags, then have to do that manually.
These four key steps are absolutely essential to getting your CRM launch off to not only a good start, but the best start. It's a bit of work upfront, but it's absolutely worth it when your contact import runs smoothly and you feel stress-free at the end of it.
If you don't feel comfortable handling a CRM migration, or feel that you simply don't have the time for all of this, why not contact us about our one-off CRM support? Book a call with us to find out more about how we can help with your CRM system setup.