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CRM implementation success factors: 5 signs you nailed it

by Steli Efti, CEO

Last updated September 10, 2021

Your new CRM is purchased, and you’re ready to get started. How do you know if the switch was worth the effort? (And how do you prove that to your boss?)

A successful CRM implementation is dependent on how much your team uses the new system, as well as how it affects their conversion and close rates.

So, what should you expect to see happening on your team and in your sales process if the new CRM is working? Which metrics should you be tracking and reporting on, and when will you see the results you’re looking for?

Let’s take a deep dive into:

  • 4 top CRM implementation success factors
  • 4 KPIs for CRM implementation: how to measure success
  • When you should see the results of a successful CRM implementation

4 top CRM implementation success factors

How do you know you’ve made the right decision with your new CRM? Here are 4 factors that will help you see whether or not the CRM implementation has been successful across the whole team.

1. High adoption

Adoption is key to a successful CRM implementation. After all, if your reps aren’t using the new CRM, there’s a problem.

You’ll see high adoption when reps can clearly see how the new CRM improves their ability to do their job. That’s why it’s your job as the sales leader to make sure the new CRM is set up to enable higher performance for individual reps.

“Nothing you can say as a sales leader and nothing I can say as a CRM vendor can convince reps to use the new CRM,” says Nick Persico, Director of Sales at Close. “The value strikes for them when they see their data represented in the new CRM in a better way to help them be more productive.”

2. More time spent in the CRM

Your CRM is the main sales database where information flows to. But it should also be the tool where your reps spend 90% of their day.

When you see your team spending more time inside the CRM, you’ll know you made a good choice.

The simpler the process, the better. Reduce the number of tools your reps are logging into every day, and your CRM usage will automatically go up.

As activity and usage in the CRM go up, you’ll have cleaner, more accurate data in your pipeline and a smoother sales process.

3. Better collaboration on deals

A successful CRM implementation is shown when your team is better able to collaborate. This is a sign that everyone is seeing the same data and acting on it, and that can only happen when your CRM is implemented and used correctly.

This happens when data is logged automatically in the CRM (rather than forcing reps to manually log their data when they have time), and when coaching features are in the forefront of the CRM.

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4. Better visibility across the team and the company

When company leadership can see clear, understandable reports that help them make effective decisions for the business, you know you’ve hit a key CRM implementation success factor.

Visibility is essential, not just within the sales team, but within the whole organization. The more visible and clear your sales data is, the easier it will be to report on that data, build accurate forecasts, and make informed decisions.

4 KPIs for CRM implementation: how to measure success

So, you’re feeling pretty confident about the decision you’ve made. But, how do you prove the value of your new CRM to other stakeholders in the organization?

“The greatest part of sales is that it’s always a numbers game,” says Nick Persico, Director of Sales at Close. “It’s always the results that matter and speak for themselves.”

So, which sales KPIs should you be tracking to measure and demonstrate the success of your CRM implementation?

Aside from the specific goals you set at the beginning of your CRM implementation plan, here are 4 specific KPIs that will tell you how successful your new CRM is:

1. Adoption rates

Adoption rate is the percentage of users that have started using the new system. In the case of CRM implementation, measuring adoption rates will help you see whether or not your team is actually using the new CRM.

Why it’s important: Internal adoption rates are a key CRM implementation success factor, proving the value of your decision by real-time activity. Low adoption rates can be an indication that you’ll need to implement more training (and likely update the training procedures you used).

How to measure: Start by tracking the actions reps take inside the CRM. The formula to calculate adoption rate is the number of new users / total number of users. So, if you manage a sales team of 10, and 7 have started using the new CRM, your adoption rate is 70%.

2. Outreach rates

For sales teams, contacting more people runs parallel to closing more deals. So, by tracking your team’s outreach rates and comparing them to metrics from the other system, you’ll see how the new CRM is working for your team.

activity overview outreach rates Close

Why it’s important: Increased activity and outreach from your sales team over time will tell you whether or not the new CRM is helping them connect with prospects and leads.

How to measure: In Close, the customizable Activity Overview report shows you how much outreach your team is doing as a whole, and compares that to the previous period (week, month, quarter). Track and report on KPIs such as outbound calls, call duration, sent emails, sent SMS, and meetings completed.

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3. Opportunities created

Tracking opportunities created is a great way to track the success of your new CRM. After all, more opportunities mean more deals down the road. If you see this number steadily increasing after you implement your new CRM, then you’re doing well.

Why it’s important: Opportunities are the lifeblood of your sales pipeline. As new opportunities are continually created, you’ll have more chances to sell your product and increase your customer base.

How to measure: Your new CRM should have a report that tells you when new opportunities were created, and compare that over time, by rep, or by current status. Here’s how this report looks in Close:

CRM implementation KPI, opportunities in Close

4. Conversion and close rates

Conversions and closed deals are the life signs of your sales process, showing how your team’s efforts are turning into revenue. This general sales health metric shows the end results of the new system—after all, increased productivity, better deal visibility, higher outreach rates, and more opportunities created will all push conversion and close rates to increase.

Why it’s important: Better conversions and close rates over time in your new CRM will prove that the new system is helping your team convert more leads into paying customers.

How to measure: Most CRMs will show you overall lead conversion rates. You can also track and compare conversion rates to other metrics, allowing you to narrow in on specific areas of your sales team and process. For example:

When you should see the results of a successful CRM implementation

Even a successful CRM implementation will take some time to show real, measurable results. Ultimately, how long it takes will depend on the stage of your business and should follow the same framework you use for goal planning.

For example, an early-stage startup often looks at goals week-over-week. So any large changes—like switching CRMs—will give you measurable results week-over-week.

Mid-stage businesses often look at their metrics quarter-to-quarter. So, you’ll start seeing results from your CRM implementation over the next quarter.

For large enterprise companies, you’ll often see reports built with metrics year-over-year. A company like this would likely need to wait at least a year to see any measurable results from this kind of change.

In short: the smaller your business, the faster you’ll see results that you can track and measure after implementing a new CRM.

Continually measure results for a successful CRM implementation

Ultimately, you’re the one who decides which metrics are most important to your business. As you watch your key performance indicators go up, you’ll know you made the right decision and your CRM is working smoothly.

Of course, no CRM implementation project is without its challenges. Wondering how to overcome common roadblocks and avoid implementation failure? Jump to Chapter 5 to determine top implementation risks for your team (and prepare to overcome them).


Go to next chapter

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