I own a real estate agency in Florida. About half a year ago I decided to open another office and start using a CRM in order to avoid incoordination, messing up the database of properties (for instance, shifting property statuses without making changes in property profiles), mistakes in document flow (such as sending wrong copies), etc. I've already done some research and have nearly made up my mind. Can you please advise on how to implement the CRM without major damage to the workflow and the employees? What are the pitfalls of this process? How can I quickly upload the data to the system and start working immediately? 

           Colin

where to begin

1. If your company is pretty big, you'll need to put together a team representing each branch and department. Normally, you would invite department managers and the ones responsible for business processes. If the company team is relatively small — just tell everybody you are going to introduce a new type of workflow and ask a couple of most experienced employees for assistance.


2. Define your targets and tasks: "Why does your business need CRM?", "What targets are you trying to reach?". Let's suppose your goal is to minimise the request processing time. In this case, your target would be automating campaigns, document approvals, shifts of deal stages, assigning tasks, etc. Elaborate and describe the optimal algorithm for each department and employee. 

3. Make a budget estimate: assess the minimum and the maximum. After you employ CRM, you will be able to make more accurate calculations. If you choose a SaaS solution, don't forget to include its monthly fee in the budget. Do not hesitate to envisage any additional expenses, such as fees for the activation of complementary features and technical assistance. 

Please note: APRO CRM users get all the technical and informational assistance with the system adjustments and deployment absolutely for free.

4. Define and describe your company's structure, policies, and business processes (the core and and the auxiliary ones). For instance, you can describe the algorithm of client interaction: from sale and processing claims to document approvals, etc. Specify responsible employees at each step. Analyse your business processes and decide which parts of them can be automated, improved, and accelerated, which costs can be reduced, etc. This will help you make the right choice of CRM functions and select the business processes to be automated. 

5. Study your IT infrastructure: what software you are using, what are its advantages and disadvantages, which features are missing and can be replaced by the CRM functions and which challenges can be solved by the CRM. 

6. Make a list of factual CRM users. Why is it important? — Your CRM usage fee depends on this number, which also provides for a nice opportunity to spare on shift workers, the ones working remotely or offsite (for example, real estate agents). You can create one account for 1-2 users and use the system in turn. Don't forget to assign the CRM administrator and the managers. 

how to choose the right CRM and integrator


Set strict deadlines for your team and yourself to find and purchase the right CRM. Accept the fact that you will not most probably have the time to test every system you liked, as they would be many. Instead, try studying the market and the ratings, read reviews, topical forums and posts on specialised websites. Ask your business colleagues about the systems they are using and create a topic/ask a question on a dedicated public forum. Select 3-5 CRM systems that meet your targets and goals and look user-friendly. Test them and contact each system's tech support to find out how long the provider company has been on the market, and how often their product undergoes upgrading. 


PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE FOLLOWING:

— Compatibility with your existing software.

— Pricing. It is always best to settle the payment question prior to everything else and find out what components the price is made up of, how often the fee is deducted and what its size is, and what factors influence the pricing and its regular increase. 

— The capacity of the system to be complemented with additional functions. Your business will develop, and the team will grow larger; new offices are bound to open, and the number of departments will grow — so as the number of clients, which demands high quality service. Or, for instance, you might face the challenge of switching from using your CRM just as a database of contacts, products and services to employing it as for staff management and much more. Searching a new CRM solution always requires time and money. That is why it is best to choose a scalable system that can easily be complemented with additional functions at any time, if necessary. 

— Integrations. Your CRM must be compatible with external services, such as website, telephony, email, organiser, social media, etc.

— Availability and periodicity of upgrades. This might not be of crucial importance when you are purchasing the system, but your CRM must always be ready to offer new functions and features for your business to develop and grow. 

— Tech support. Some of the CRM providers would charge you for it or not provide it at all. You'd better ask them about it beforehand and include these additional costs in your budget. 

Please note: APRO CRM offers you UNLIMITED technical and informational support ABSOLUTELY FOR FREE. We provide assistance with system functions and settings, as well as solve technical troubles and help you adjust the CRM to best satisfy your company's needs. 

Take all the time you need to study the contract, rights and obligations of the parties, pricing policy and the package of services rendered. 

crm chosen. what's next? 

This is what APRO CRM deployment process would normally look like:

  1. You need to make the initial request describing the adjustments you require and the way you would like your company's business processes to work. Explain it the way you can, with your own words.

  2. Our team will study your request and estimate the costs and the deadlines.

  3. If you find those fitting, you'll need to make the initial payment for the first month of system usage and the drawing up of the technical specifications.

  4. Drawing up the technical specifications normally takes 5-7 days and implies a detailed description of the CRM features and functions you require.

  5. Approval of the technical specifications, the price and the deadlines.

  6. Adjustments, demonstration, and rectifications.

  7. Training.

ADJUSTMENTS TO MAKE

  • Company structure. Register all users in the CRM and create profiles for them. 

  • Distribute user access permissions and set access restrictions by IP address. 

  • Import data. Transfer all the information you require to the CRM, including notes and personal remarks in managers' organisers. 

  • Create document templates and reports.

  • Integrate the system with your company's website (enable the callback feature and online forms), telephony, email, etc.

  • Connect Dropbox cloud file storage.

  • Adjust the sales funnels. 

  • Create custom business process algorithms of your own. 
This is a sample list of adjustments, that would naturally vary for each company individually.

training for crm users

You can either hire a professional, or make one out of your most reliable colleague. This person will give explanations on the system functions and adjustments to different groups of users or individually. However, this method has a major disadvantage: it is quite time-consuming and comparatively cost-intensive (you will have to pay salary to the instructor, regardless of his factual preoccupancy), and, besides, your team would normally find this format boring. Alternatively, you can give training sessions in the form of video presentations — just like we do it in APRO CRM

how to raise the value of CRM for your team

  • Automate business processes to optimise the work of different departments and spare your colleagues the daily routine.

  • Assign tasks and control their performance right in the CRM.

  • Motivate your team to save all the data in the CRM to make the work with it and report building infinitely easier, which will provide for a more transparent system of rewards.



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APRO CRM is a SaaS cloud solution and is hosted by our servers. The CRM is flexible and can adjust to your business needs. You will be getting all the necessary assistance from your personal adviser while using the system