Step One when setting up a CRM system: Design Strategy

You're a small company that serves other businesses (B2B), you have been operating for more than a couple of years, and your organization is growing. It's time to use a technology tool to track new leads, business partners, and current clients. Using the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system puts all your information at your fingertips. But how do you choose between multiple products and recreate your processes?

We help you choose the right product based on your business operations and the tools you need to achieve your particular business goals. We also teach you how to use the CRM system you have already purchased. If you don’t understand how to use all the features, it can’t give you the results you expect.

Designing new business processes is the first step in our three-stage integration when setting up a CRM for your business. Simply knowing how a CRM system is supposed to work doesn't help you choose the right one or learn how to use it. Our CRM Coaching and Consulting process puts you at ease as you transition to new technology that streamlines your business.

How CRM Design Strategy works

It starts with a discovery call to learn more about you and your business. Let’s walk through a typical client conversation with Laura, the owner of Professional Content Writing Solutions. Her business helps produce website copy using SEO best practices to enhance her client’s marketing efforts. She used to do all the writing for her clients, but over eight years began adding one or two part-time writing contractors to handle more volume. At first, she managed her business processes between writers and clients using Google Docs and Gmail.

Laura now has a team of five remote copywriting contractors working with her and her business is growing. She is spending more time coordinating the work with her subcontractors than handling new client leads and writing projects. Laura needs to keep up with requests from new and existing clients and manage the projects between her team members. A CRM would offer a visual dashboard of things like her client list, project workflow, contractor communications, other partners involved, project delivery, and payment schedules.

Identifying Business Goals

As we follow our process with Laura, we will first try to dig deeper into her business to understand her pain points.

  1. What is the most challenging for her right now? Is it to track the sales pipeline with new and existing clients, manage the work with the subcontractors, or are these equally important priorities?
  2. What is her budget for setting up a CRM system?
  3. What does she want her business to look like five years from now?

These questions are the first step in clarifying Laura’s goals. We want to know when she sits at her desk on Monday morning, what insights would she like to view on her CRM dashboard that could immediately improve quality and efficiency for her clients? Laura’ answers to our questions are as follows:

  1. Laura feels that details about new leads and existing client projects are equally important to tracking workflow between contractors.
  2. She did some online research and settled on a budget hovering around $40 per month.
  3. She imagines adding contractors, doubling, or tripling the volume of business in the next five years.

Defining Requirements

Now that we know what Laura wants to achieve, we will map out her process in more detail by going over her current methods.

  • We know she is tracking her leads and sales using Google Contacts and her Gmail account.
  • She is managing the projects between contractors and clients through Gmail and Google Drive.
  • There is a mix of one-off projects and ongoing tasks for regular clients.

This information helps us identify the features that she needs from a CRM system. Most systems for a B2B organization have a sales pipeline, but they don't always have a project management component. At this point in the process, we need to determine if Laura really needs a complex or robust project management feature or a more straightforward system that allows her to assign tasks to her copywriters to track activity. In the end, the answer needs to come from Laura. We will show her some examples of systems with more project management tools, and she will decide if it's relevant.

Laura spent a few days thinking after our consultation and decided the priority was a system making it easier to assign tasks to her copywriters. This was in line with her price point too. She was not as concerned about other aspects of project management because most of her revenue comes from ongoing monthly contracts for regular clients. After going over all the details, we agreed with this decision and made a plan to move forward. Should the situation change, new tools could be discussed and added later. We wanted to get her started and familiar with the technology to make her life easier.

Creating a Plan

After narrowing down the pain points and priorities, we could start working on evaluating a few different CRM products with Laura and finding out which aligns best with the information she is capturing about her clients. We review three levels of information to find the best way to track information for her business:

  • Basic contact details - what information does she need to capture about the people she interacts with?
  • Descriptions of the organization's industry and services
  • Opportunities relating to her client’s services

 We'll discover if she targets multiple industries, works in specific regions, how she finds new clients, and other ways to categorize client data.

To create the footprint of her CRM database, we will also gather more information about her sales process.

  • How many times does she meet with a potential client?
  • What happens in each meeting?
  • What types of activities does she have in each stage of the sales process? 

This will help us map the stages of her sales pipeline and add them to her CRM system. The products we choose must integrate the steps she takes and have configurations closely matched to the business processes we will be testing. 

Stay tuned for our next step in the CRM implementation process when we discuss Step Two: developing a system through custom configuration, importing data, and testing. 

You need a CRM if email and navigating stand-alone document sharing applications slow you down, making it hard to manage your daily activities. 

How are you tracking your clients and potential sales? Is your business growing? Do you need a better system? Contact us for CRM Coaching and Consulting to help you choose between desktop applications or cloud-based solutions with more data storage options and access across digital devices.

 Are you interested in learning more? Reach out to Small Business CRM Coach for a consultation.

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