Here’s a six-step approach to implementing your PlanPlus Online CRM and automating your business processes for maximum personal and professional effectiveness.

Step 1- Time Management

Before you start planning your implementation goals, it’s important to identify how much time you have to work with. Plan a project that can fit within the time constraints that you have. The more important the goal, the more likely you’ll be to spend more time on it–and, the more people involved, the longer it will take.

Start with one- to two-hour blocks and establish a timeline for identifying both short-term wins and long-term objectives. It’s likely that your implementation involves people other than just you. How much time and other resources are dedicated to your project, and how important are others’ time management skills to your success? If you’re unsure, now would be a good time to clarify expectations and time commitments from your team.

CRMStep 2- Define a Plan

What are your goals?

What parts of your business are the best opportunities for quick wins, and which areas will take more time?

The primary questions here relate to understanding what’s possible and how to prioritize your efforts to ensure maximum payoff. Clearly identify the specific use cases in your business as it relates to information and processes flowing from Marketing to Sales, to Product Fulfillment and Customer Support.

You can use the feature list of PlanPlus Online as a starting point to determine which features are most urgent for your specific situation, or you can talk to one of our productivity consultants for a list of common business goals. 

Step 3- Set Standards

The next step is to get all of your data into one place, and to get everyone on the same page with the terminology that you’ll use to refer to the data. Setting standards is comparable to making sure everyone is speaking the same language.

For customer relationships, you’ll want to set standards for classifying your customers, or set the standard that ALL current customers are located in one place.

For sales organizations, we recommend using terminology to refer to each step of your sales process. The benefit of setting standards is that you provide a definition for the terms: You make certain that everyone means the same thing when they use those terms to communicate meaning.

Standards also apply to things such as branding, such as where a standard email signature or email template is used to provide a consistent message.

Standards can also refer to standard levels of service, such as specific response times to new leads or customer support inquiries.

Step 4- Get “In Control” 

Every process is going to have a certain amount of variances in how it’s executed. Some of this variance is normal, expected, and tolerable. Process Control means implementing procedures, reports, and views to alert you when a process is outside of the normal variance.

Most managers don’t have time to look at every piece of data. It’s a better use of time to manage the exceptions.

Step 5- Automate

Once you have your  Standards Set and your Process Control steps in place, look for ways to automate the process. You might be tempted to jump straight to this step. However, you should resist automating until you have your processes defined and your process control steps in place.

Automation can reap tremendous time-saving rewards–if done with the proper preparation. Some common automation steps include data synchronization or integration of external data sources, or even lead generation and capture from your website.

Automatically triggering email templates, or assigning sales leads or cases are additional automation examples, and are possible with PlanPlus CRM.

Step 6- Evaluate & Refine 

Upon completing an initial phase, it’s a good habit to revisit your original goals and assess how well you did, and how close you came to those original targets. This entire sequence can be repeated occasionally with successive project phases.  It’s best to get a single part of your business through all five stages, rather than trying to get every part of your business through all five steps simultaneously.

By taking on a single project and seeing it through, you will increase the velocity at which the subsequent steps are accomplished.