Ten Easy Steps To Getting the Most Out of Your New CRM

7 min read
September 20, 2018


You've just invested in a CRM or are considering using one. Congratulations! CRM is the most powerful and essential tool for any business, small, medium, or large. It's the essential brain or engine that drives your customer's journey towards a purchase. However, if not implemented correctly, your CRM won't help you build better customer relationships, improve your sales and marketing synergy, improve efficiency, enhance customer satisfaction, or reduce attrition and ultimately save money. The first 90 days after your investment is crucial to solidifying CRM as a vital cog in your business. Here are 10 first steps you should take to better implement CRM in your marketing and sales process to get the most return on your investment. 

1. Set Goals and Expectations

If you're a regular reader, you already know that we emphasize the importance of goal setting. It's essential to understand what your CRM is capable of and set reasonable but ambitious goals that you and your team can focus on as you integrate the tool and lean on it as the central mechanism to help you scale. In order for your goals to truly be meaningful, they must be SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time bound).


Here are a few do's and don'ts for setting SMART goals:

  • Specific -- Do set real numbers with real deadlines. Don't say, "I want more visitors".
  • Measurable -- Do make sure that you can track your goal. Don't hide behind buzzwords like "brand engagement" or "social influence".
  • Attainable -- Do work toward a goal that is challenging but possible. Don't try to take over the world in one night.
  • Realistic -- Do be honest with yourself, because you know what you and your team are capable of. Don't forget any hurdles you may have to overcome.
  • Time-bound -- Do give yourself a deadline. Don't keep pushing towards a goal you might hit "some day".

2. Create Timelines

The first 90 days with your CRM are of significant importance. If you don't fully integrate the tool within that time, statistics show that your attention will shift to other projects, robbing you of the results you expect and the CRM is capable of. You must create an on-boarding timeline that lists the activities necessary to successfully get going. Your timeline should map out the technical set-up activities that your IT department or marketing agency can likely do for you to make sure your CRM is able to monitor and report all activities. It should also outline your strategy that you will use and identify some areas for "quick wins" which we'll talk about that later.  

3. Segment Your Teams and Assign Permissions

While CRM isn't to be confused with project management software, it does have some similar features such as teams. As an admin of any CRM worth its salt, you'll have the ability to invite team members and assign permissions according to their role. Remember, your CRM is powerful and can provide a great deal of information, too much for most. It's important to grant that information to only the individuals who will really need it. Your sales team may not need access to some of the marketing reporting. Customer Service may only need access to a general sales dashboard. You may want to keep corporate profit data to the C-Suite. Consider what information is most valuable to each department and create teams so that as new members come and go you don't need to assign a whole new list of permissions but rather just assign their team.   

4. Connect All Relevant Social Media Accounts

Get the most out of your CRM by connecting your company social accounts. Not only will you be able to monitor basic integrations such as likes, shares, and new follows but also track traffic, contacts, leads and customers that are driven from your social media efforts. This provides some performance indicators you can track that illustrate tangible return on your social efforts. Depending on the CRM, you may have a marketing Hub which may allow you to actually publish, listen and measure all social activities right from one portal.   

5. Sync With Your Website

The true power in your CRM is as the central brain of your marketing and sales organization. While CRM is older than the internet, it really can't exist without website integration in today's landscape. Your web presence is essential to lead development, nurturing, conversion, closing and ultimately customer relationship building. You feed your CRM with digital data. It's important that your CRM is equipped to monitor, not only traffic, but pull data from from contact forms, blog posts, landing pages and CTAs.  

6. Identify Quick Wins

When integrating any new tool, the elephant in the room must not be ignored. Whether your CRM is free or fee-based, there's always an investment, even if only in terms of time. In mapping your first 90 days plan, as we mentioned above, its important that you develop a plan for quick wins. This is done by focusing on the bottom of the funnel and working your way to the top. If you haven't already, consider adding a very simple form right on your home page. By completing it, users can perhaps schedule a consultation or book an appointment. This drives leads right into your CRM showcasing value immediately. As you become more familiar with your CRM and fully build out conversion paths and marketing automation, you can further nurture leads that might not be ready for this offer but at least you don't miss "hand-raisers" in the meantime.  

7. Add Integrations

One of the most attractive elements of any CRM is its ability to integrate with a myriad of different Martech solutions. Especially for small business owners, you've likely been using a suite of free or low-cost solutions to handle specific functions like Mailchimp or Constant Contact for email, Hootsuite for social publishing, Wordpress for web publishing or Shopify for merchant services. However, when you reach the point that you realize you need CRM, having all these different tools can become overwhelming. Today's CRM is designed to allow you to elect to continue to use your favorite tools or transition to the native options, all while seamlessly housing data under one umbrella so you can track and monitor your marketing position comprehensively at any one given time.  

If you've recently invested in a CRM or plan to soon, take a peak at their integrations section, (commonly listed under settings.)  They likely already exist as an option to allow you to continue to use your favorite program and sync all that data it produces in your CRM analytics. However, in the case that it doesn't, check the native version of the software to see if it jives with your needs. In the case that it doesn't, you may need to consider either moving to another platform or considering another CRM.   

8. Map Out Sales Process

You've unboxed your shiny new CRM, integrated with your website, synced all your contacts, added your social media handles...now what? You need to map out a sales process. Please note this is different from the buyer's journey.


Your sales process is made by the common and repeatable steps your sales team takes with a prospect to close them as a customer. A good sales process is one that is clearly defined and easy for new sales reps to follow. If every sales rep has a different process for going about closing customers, it's impossible to train others on how to do it correctly, is inefficient, and limits an organization's ability to scale.  


Creating a sales process isn't easy, nor is it something you do once. It's not set it and forget it. There are literally thousands of theories on what a good sales process should look like but here are the basics. If you haven't yet clearly outlined your sales process, start with these 5 basic stages of any deal and make a note to revisit it in 3 to 6 months to see if you need to make any changes. 

  1. Prospect
  2. Connect
  3. Research
  4. Present
  5. Close

9. Define What Constitutes A Good Lead

One of the benefits of CRM is that it establishes a single source of truth for your organization. That truth starts with the basics, what is a lead?  Every organization defines a lead differently and there are even more variations of what a good and qualified lead is. It's important that leadership sits down with both marketing and sales and collectively decides what factors, contact attributes, and behaviors determine a good lead. 


This is easier said than done as sales and marketing rarely agree on what constitutes "buying behavior". By establishing those agreed-upon qualifications and single source of truth up front, there is little confusion as to what the objective is. Developing a Sales and Marketing Service Level agreement can be helpful with this. We'll talk about that next. From there, you can program your CRM to dig for "good leads" as defined and go about developing a lean, mean, lead generating machine.  

10. Create a Marketing & Sales Service Level Agreement 

According to a 2017 research study, fewer than half of marketers would describe their respective company's Sales and Marketing teams as "generally aligned." However, in order to maximize profit, your sales and marketing teams must be on the same page. CRM can help with that. Organizations must intentionally make an effort to create a culture where sales and marketing work together by setting goals and creating a service level agreement or SLA. 

This SLA is an agreement or pact between the two teams that details the promise each will give to the other. For marketing, this can be in the form of a number of leads or revenue pipeline. For the sales team, it may outline the speed with which they are expected to follow up. If SLAs are the promise made by Marketing and Sales of a commitment to support each other, then the CRM provides the scoreboard.  It keeps track of the leads, conversions, revenue, stage in the sales cycle and calling cues. Here are a few additional helpful hints on creating SLAs.  

Getting your CRM strategy off the ground shouldn't take a lot of time but by concentrating your efforts in the first 90 days after investing, you will realize a return that will help your business not only thrive but scale, well into the future.  

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