Businesses today are run very differently compared to the businesses of old. Once upon a time, to keep everything in order, your office needed to be filled with filing cabinets, boxes, and clutter. And those filing cabinets, large and unwieldy as they were, were filled with paper copies of everything – often in duplicate, triplicate or more! Paper piled up faster than it could be read and filed.
These days, technology can control your office clutter. With searchable documents stored in the cloud and information shared over the web, offices can be virtually paperless. Immeasurable time is saved with up to the minute client data and business information available at your fingertips and accessible in seconds. And not just your fingertips – your entire team can stay up to date with access to virtual real time updates, all on their mobile phones.
Updating to a New CRM System
Going paperless does not have to be difficult. All your documents, contacts, business cards, customer notes, invoicing, and other information can be stored on customer records in your CRM. Every bit of information about your customers can be searchable, accessible, and in one place.
Proper preparation and having everything in order before you transition to a CRM is the key to making the switch easy and seamless. Here’s how to switch from piles of paper to paperless, online records:
1. Involve Your Team
The people who will use the system will give you the best feedback. If your team has input to the selection of your new CRM, they’ll be much more enthusiastic about using it, which is half the battle that many companies face when attempting to implement a new system. Ask what they need and what they would like to see. Find out what specific changes would excite them, and what would make their jobs easier. Choose a CRM with the features and integrations that meet their needs.
2. Gather Your Records
Collate all the information you want to move from your old system to the new. It’s easiest if you can transfer everything into one separate file. Make sure you can access all the right data. If you need email login codes or access to specific files and areas, have it all ready to go before you start migrating your data.[Tweet “6 easy steps for upgrading your #CRM, from @ChamberOnline.”]
3. Standardize Your Data
All the client data you import should be standardized. Separate first and last names and make sure all data fields are correctly filled with the relevant information. Check that there is nothing obviously out of place before you attempt the import. Eliminate duplicate records. There’s little point in copying the same information more than once when you can attach tags and search using keywords to point you in the right direction.
4. Import Your Data
Start with a test run to make sure everything transitions seamlessly. This should highlight any data that hasn’t been standardized so that if you have to start over it won’t be so painful. Once you’re sure everything’s running smoothly, take the plunge and migrate your records.
5. Get Familiar
Spend some time getting used to the new system, and make sure you’re fully comfortable with it before you organize training for your team. You want to be able to easily find whatever you’re looking for, and show others how to get comfortable with it too. Make ease of operation a priority. If your CRM has a steep learning curve, your staff may resist adoption.
6. Excite Your Team
Whatever changes you implement, it’s vital to spend time dedicated to training your team. The initial fear of change that inevitably comes from any system upgrade will subside quickly if you’re confident and can show that you know your way around. Show them how the new system will save them time and increase productivity.
Your enthusiasm will catch on, and the team will soon see for themselves how much better it is to stay up to date using your new CRM.