CRM integration projects need the most meticulous execution approach to avoid going awry. As per often-quoted industry analyst reports, CRM integration projects run the risk of going over time and exceeding the budget when risks are not preempted and the needed adjustments or due steps are delayed.
1. Avoid integrating everything at once
If you want a successful, timely, and an on-budget rollout avoid integrating everything in one go. Divide the CRM integration project into smaller and manageable parts to accommodate changes in business needs occurring in real time. Start with the components that will yield instant benefits and scale down the scope of the integration in order to focus on immediate and feasible wins while the teams build their expertise in the background to go about the overhauled CRM ecosystem.
2. Have well-defined Data Migration requirements
In cases of an unplanned CRM integration project, requirements and targets can keep changing frequently and lead to utter chaos. Every participant of this process including the sales team, the software vendor, and integrators have to be on the same page when it comes to defining expectations, project implementation milestones, and the delivery timeline. If the final product cannot be agreed upon, then bifurcate it into pieces. Deploy agile methodology but keep a clear vision and roadmap.
3. Use the right platforms, infrastructure
If you want to ensure a successful CRM integration project with zero excessive costs then make it a point to invest in the right infrastructure. Skip solutions that depend on manual programming or dense and complex heavy middleware software sets. Deploy single stack and single studio solutions with a reliable enterprise-class integration platform.
4. Be realistic with a delivery timeline
It is productive to follow a schedule but going overboard will prove to be counter-productive. Measure and establish accurate estimates in line with realistic expectations and integration efforts required for the project. If you are falling short of competency then hire consultants like ZOHO CRM integration experts and their like to provide an estimate of the effort required.
5. Reduce staff turnover
When initiating a CRM integration project, ensure that the participating team members are not going to exit the firm. Try and get commitments from participants that they are going to be available for the entire duration of the integration. Changes to core team members of project management, developers, and business analysts can hinder the completion of the project.
6. Prepare and simplify change management procedures
While changes are being made to CRM and other systems that are being integrated to/with, avoid locking them down during the course of the integration process. In scenarios where management lacks the formal methodology to handle change orders, the result is often chaotic from implementation and testing perspective.
7. Don’t hesitate from hiring consultants
If CRM integration is new territory for your staff and management then fortify your approach with experience from hired ZOHO CRM integration consultants and likewise for integration with other leading CRM software. Leverage the vendor’s experience for your benefit of a smooth CRM integration process while you as an entrepreneur have not deviated from your core functions.
8. Anticipate and Manage users’ resistance to change
Bringing about even the slightest of change in the CRM ecosystem is enough to disrupt the functioning of many team members, therefore it can be imagined how tough it is to make team members adopt change when CRM integration is taking place in its entirety. To avoid this it is advisable to get the processes vetted by customers and stakeholders so that they take to the changes easily with due adherence and clarity.
9. Have ongoing support in place
Deploying a new CRM integration infrastructure can throw certain functions off-track. For this reason, ensure that the vendor experts are available as a solid backup for your team. And this backup is essential not only for troubleshooting technical bugs but to implement the best practices, advice, and services that come with their CRM implementation experience.
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10. Keep testing and do it early
Introduce test plans early on. For the early and holistic discovery of problems in the CRM integration project make use of test scripts and automated testing. This also helps in accelerated identification of issues.
11. Keep in mind the costs
Always bear in mind the costs and complexity associated with vetting, deploying and integrating applications from multiple vendors. Weigh the pros and cons of CRM integration via a natively integrated software suite as opposed to individual applications within a CRM suite that may not be best of the breed.
12. Performance assessment 5 years from the day of CRM integration
Evaluate and gauge how the chosen CRM integration solution fits into a broader strategic approach to software adoption and application integration. Assess the CRM solution you are currently operating or the one under consideration and measure it with your enterprise’s requirements in current terms and five years from now.
13. Remember than an open API does not equal zero maintenance
In case your vendor or the one you are considering to hire pitches an open API as a plug and play solution to CRM integration, a red flag should be immediately raised. As per research from Gartner, APIs and integration have the same goal; akin to two sides of a coin. Data transfer is enabled by APIs while CRM integrations carry out the transfer. Keep in mind that nor does an open API equal zero maintenance nor plug and play integration with a CRM.
Every business needs to understand that CRM software is instrumental for enhancing customer service, streamlining people-intensive processes, and facilitating intra and inter-department communication. BUT, for the process of CRM integration to run its course successfully every roadblock or possible issue needs to be anticipated throughout and due measures should be taken to avoid mistakes because of the complexity of the process and their direct bearing on sales and customer-centric business processes.
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