Checklist for a Successful CRM Launch

Checklist for a Successful CRM Launch

Oct 1, 2021 | By Sarah Simmerman

Launching a new CRM can be a nightmare. As a marketer,

you understand the value of a CRM, but one of the biggest problems with a new CRM is getting your sales team to actually use it. You spend months choosing and setting up a system; then, the launch falls flat. The key is getting people excited for an improved system as early as possible, giving them the opportunity to voice their opinions, and developing a functional training plan. 


Check off the steps on this list as you research, implement, and launch your CRM, and you are on your way to a successful launch:


Involve the Team Throughout the Process

Often new CRMs or other technology is researched behind the scenes without the sales team knowing until it is time to launch. I recommend a different approach. Before you start researching different options, let the team know you are looking, and ask what features they love and hate from your current set up. You can do this either in a group setting such as a sales meeting (just be ready to moderate and make sure the conversation stays on track) or individually with each member of your sales team. 


Once I have narrowed down my options, I also like to ask one or two sales team members to help evaluate CRMs. Make sure you choose a team that will provide you with honest feedback and not hold back their opinions. Your previous conversation will give you a good feel on who to select. You do not have to take too much of their time, just time to sit in on a couple demos and then to share their feedback.


During the build out of the CRM, don’t hesitate to run your ideas through your sales team. Asking for feedback on the set up can save time adjusting after launch. This is especially true for registration information, workflows and sales processes.


Launch Meeting

This is the big reveal of your new CRM to the team. This is not a training session; it is the time to get everyone excited about the transition. Showcase all the shiny new bells and whistles. You should have your notes from the first feedback session and be sure to call out the frustrations you solved from your previous system. 


This is also the best time to set clear expectations for use and to explain why these expectations are in place.


Comprehensive Small Group Trainings

Throughout the week following the Launch Meeting, schedule training sessions with small groups or individuals. People tend to glaze over and lose focus in larger training sessions. In larger groups, you will also get fewer questions because people have a tendency to be embarrassed to ask questions.


You also want to make sure you do not try to cover too much in one session. Teach the basics first, the tasks that they need to know to meet their requirements. Generally, you will want to start with: how to enter a lead, what fields need to be filled in, where to find contacts, how to find contacts, how to follow up. I do not recommend controlling the computer as the trainer. I like to have everyone walk through the steps I am teaching on their own. This allows you to see where people are getting stuck or having difficulty. (Save this session. This is now a part of your onboarding process!)


Ongoing Support

It is extremely important to provide quick support and answers to questions. You should have a person dedicated to providing this ongoing support and will be the first person the sales team calls when they are having difficulties. Make sure this person is easy to reach. If you select someone who is overly busy, or in meetings all day, you will cause frustration with your team.


You should also hold group refresher courses on a monthly basis for the first year, at least. You could introduce a new tool or discuss frequently asked questions. These are preferably done in person. By regularly taking 15-20 min for additional CRM training in a sales meeting, you are helping to advance the teams’ education and reinforcing the importance of using the software.


Listen to Feedback and Adjust

No software is perfect, and there will always be challenges. Encourage your team to give you feedback and be willing to make changes that would help your team’s productivity or overall experience. 


Hold the Team Accountable

Someone needs to hold people accountable for using the CRM. It may be you, or it may be a sales manager. You need to track the percentage of leads that are actually making it in the system and the amount of follow-ups that are done. When someone is not meeting the expectations you set for use, it needs to be addressed. 


You can also modify this checklist to help create more buy-in from your team for your existing CRM. Start by asking for feedback and identify roadblocks, and then make adjustments as needed to overcome frustrations. If you are not holding regular quick training sessions and do not have a dedicated support person, start now! You will feel a reduction in frustration and see more activity in your CRM.

Sarah Simmerman
Senior Marketing Strategist

Sarah Simmerman

Meet Sarah

Online Sales & Marketing Insights Delivered Straight To Your Inbox

Get Free Insights