Guide to Building and Implementing a Modular CRM (Must Read)

Mastering CRM Implementation: A Step-by-Step Guide

Building and deploying a CRM requires careful planning. A well-planned CRM can automate nearly everything, and Picky Assist's modular CRM allows you to customize and automate processes to suit your organization's needs.

Picky Assist is a unique CRM that can automate virtually all processes for any organization worldwide, thanks to its modular architecture, no-code chatbot builder that offers a connected CRM with minimal data entry, a visual workflow builder, an inbuilt no-code connector that can link with over 5000+ apps, a Teambox for team collaboration, a no-code email builder, and much more - all within a single platform.

This guide provides comprehensive information on setting up your CRM with Picky Assist, allowing you to fully leverage the CRM's potential for your business. Here are some key areas to consider before you start building:

1. Decode the Current Process

It's crucial to understand and analyze your current processes. If you're using an Excel sheet, another CRM, or multiple software solutions to manage your business, identify all the processes you're executing using those platforms and software.

For instance, a real estate agency might use Excel to track potential clients, separate software for scheduling viewings, and yet another for processing transactions. The agency would first identify these processes:

  • Lead tracking: entering potential clients' information into Excel, tracking their communication history, and noting their property preferences.

  • Scheduling: arranging viewings for interested leads, tracking which properties are being viewed and when.

  • Transaction processing: once a lead decides to purchase or rent, processing their transaction, including price negotiation, paperwork, and finalizing the deal.

Identifying these processes is the first step toward integrating them into a centralized CRM system.

2. Centralize All Your Data Sources

The cornerstone of an effective CRM is consolidating all your data in one location for a comprehensive view. For example, if your leads are arriving from social media ads, WhatsApp, calls, website forms, landing pages, referrals, exhibitions, shows, trades, etc., you need to centralize all these sources into a single place like a Lead Module.

Take our real estate agency example. They might be generating leads through various sources such as social media campaigns, website forms, direct calls, exhibitions, shows, and client referrals. All this information might initially exist in separate places - social media insights, call logs, and referral sheets. However, to effectively manage these leads, all data need to be consolidated into a centralized CRM system.

In a Lead Module, each lead could have attributes such as name, contact information, source (social media, call, referral), and property preferences. Thus, every time a new lead comes in, regardless of the source, the information would go directly into this central Lead Module. As a result, all relevant data are in one place, making lead management and follow-up much more efficient.

3. Identify and Establish Modules

Modules in a CRM are typically designed to represent various business processes. Your task is to identify the different activities you're currently performing and plan to create separate modules accordingly. For instance, if you're aiming to automate and enhance your sales process, consider creating modules like "Leads", "Contacts", "Deals", and "Meetings". These will assist in organizing the relevant data efficiently.

Let's return to our real estate agency example. In their day-to-day operations, they will likely handle tasks such as managing leads, tracking properties, scheduling viewings, and closing deals. Therefore, the agency could create modules like "Leads", "Properties", "Viewings", and "Deals" in their CRM system.

  • The "Leads" module would contain all the information about potential clients, such as their contact details and property preferences.

  • The "Properties" module could hold information about the different properties the agency has in its portfolio.

  • The "Viewings" module could track when a potential viewing is scheduled, with which lead, and for which property.

  • Finally, the "Deals" module might store the details of closed deals, such as the lead's name, the property bought or rented, and the final deal amount.

This modular approach allows every piece of information to have its designated place, making data management and retrieval highly efficient. Moreover, the modules can be interlinked for a more comprehensive view of the entire sales process. For example, a viewing record could link to a lead record and a property record, providing the full context of that particular appointment.

4. Design and Implement Data Fields

Data fields form the bedrock of your CRM as they hold all the specifics pertaining to your modules. These fields can be filled by your users, chatbots, or even 3rd party platforms, which then supply data into the different modules. Therefore, it's critical to invest quality time in defining all the necessary fields required within each module.

In addition to that, establish data validation rules for each field to ensure data sanitization and consistency. This means enforcing certain types of input formats (like date format, email format, etc.), limiting character counts, or even setting up mandatory and optional fields.

For example, in the "Leads" module for our real estate agency, you might have data fields like:

  • Lead Name (Text field, Mandatory)

  • Contact Number (Numeric field, Mandatory, Validation rule to ensure it's a valid phone number format)

  • Email (Text field, Optional, Validation rule for email format)

  • Preferred Property Type (Drop-down field with options like "House", "Apartment", "Condo", etc.)

  • Budget Range (Numeric field, Optional)

  • Lead Source (Drop-down field with options like "Social Media", "Website", "Referral", etc.)

By setting up these fields and their respective rules, you ensure that the data entered into your CRM is accurate, consistent, and usable for future reference and analysis.

5. Define Relationships:

When designing your CRM, another important step is to define relationships between various records across different modules. This is achieved by creating "Lookup fields" that allow one record in a module to relate to another record in a different module. This connection enhances data management and operational efficiency within the CRM by maintaining context and allowing for more robust data analysis.

For instance, in our real estate agency scenario, let's consider these two modules: "Leads" and "Properties". You have a "Preferred Property Type" field in the "Leads" module. In the "Properties" module, you have a "Property Type" field.

By creating a relationship (lookup field) between the "Preferred Property Type" field in the "Leads" module and the "Property Type" field in the "Properties" module, you can associate a lead with a list of properties that match their preference. This association not only provides context but also allows for more personalized interaction with the lead.

Such relationships can also be defined between the "Deals" module and both the "Leads" and "Properties" modules, allowing a particular deal to be associated with a lead and a property simultaneously.

These relationships not only provide a holistic view of a lead's interaction but also enable efficient management of your business processes within the CRM.

6. Data View:

Setting up the way your data is visualized in the CRM is critical to how effectively you can use and understand the data. This includes determining which views and filters need to be created and defining the filter conditions that allow you to view and analyze the CRM data in the most meaningful way for your business.

For example, if we continue with the real estate agency scenario, your agents might need to quickly see which leads are high priority. To enable this, you can create a filter that shows only leads marked as "High Priority" or leads where the estimated deal value exceeds a certain threshold. This can be visualized in a list view for easy access.

Similarly, a manager might want to see how many deals are closed versus pending for a particular period, for example, monthly or quarterly

Another example is to create a view that shows properties that have been on the market for a long time. This could be visualized by a filter that shows properties where the "Date Listed" is more than 30 days in the past.

It's important to involve the users of the CRM in this step, as they will be the ones who know best what data views they need to perform their tasks efficiently. Get their input, iterate on their feedback, and continuously improve your data views to make your CRM a powerful tool for your business.

7. Set Up Workflow:

Workflows are key to automation in a CRM system. They are a series of automated actions that trigger when certain conditions are met. This saves you time and ensures consistency in your operations. You need to define the workflows that will be part of your business process automation.

For example, let's say in your real estate agency you want a workflow that initiates whenever a lead status changes from 'New' to 'Engaged'. This workflow could consist of several steps:

  1. Send an email notification to the agent in charge: When the status of a lead changes to 'Engaged', an email could automatically be sent to the agent handling the lead, informing them about the status change.

  2. Assign tasks to the agent: The workflow could also create a series of tasks for the agent to follow up on. For example, it could create a task to 'Call the lead within 24 hours' or 'Schedule a property visit'.

  3. Update the lead record: The workflow could also update the lead record with the date and time of the status change, or any other relevant information.

  4. Send a welcome email or WhatsApp to the lead: You could set up the workflow to automatically send a welcome email or WhatsApp message to the lead, expressing your excitement about working with them.

Remember, workflows should be designed to complement and streamline your existing processes, not complicate them. As your organization's needs evolve, so too should your workflows. Regularly review and adjust them to ensure they're delivering the maximum benefit.

Also, consider how these workflows interact with other elements of your CRM, such as your data fields, modules, and relationships. The most effective workflows will take advantage of the full range of capabilities your CRM has to offer.

8. Set Up WhatsApp Chatbots:

Picky Assist's modular CRM not only offers you the ability to manage and streamline your workflows but also features a built-in no-code chatbot builder, which can dramatically reduce data entry and enhance various processes such as lead nurturing, feedback collection, lead qualification, lead distribution, and much more.

For instance, consider the following applications:

  1. Lead Nurturing: Once a lead has been captured in your CRM, a WhatsApp chatbot could send them an initial greeting message. This bot could provide potential customers with additional information about your products or services, answer common questions, or even guide users through a simple product selection process.

  2. Feedback Collection: After a customer interaction, such as a customer support call or a product purchase, a chatbot could reach out to the customer to collect their feedback. This could help you improve your services or understand what you're doing well.

  3. Lead Qualification: The bot could also play a crucial role in lead qualification. By asking a series of questions, the bot can determine if a lead meets certain criteria, and update the lead status in the CRM accordingly.

  4. Lead Distribution: If a lead needs to be assigned to a sales representative, the chatbot could automate this distribution. Based on predefined conditions (such as the lead's location, or the product they're interested in), the bot could assign the lead to the most appropriate representative.

  5. CRM-Driven Chatbot Conversations: Finally, the chatbot can use the data stored in your CRM to deliver personalized conversations. For instance, if a customer reaches out asking about their order status, the bot could pull this information from your CRM and provide a real-time update.

To leverage the power of chatbots in conjunction with your CRM, it's important to consider how the bot will interact with your CRM data, how it will update the data, and how it will use the data to drive conversations. Additionally, you should ensure that your chatbot conversations are in line with your overall customer service and communication standards.

9. Create Email and WhatsApp Templates:

Proactive and timely communication is a crucial aspect of customer relationship management. With Picky Assist, you can use templates to standardize and streamline your communication processes, ensuring that every customer interaction is consistent, engaging, and effective.

Consider the following types of communication and their corresponding templates:

a) Welcome Email/WhatsApp Message:

As soon as a new lead is added to your CRM, a welcome message should be triggered. This initial communication introduces your brand and sets the tone for future interactions.

For example, a welcome email could include:

  • A warm greeting and introduction.

  • Brief information about your company and services.

  • Next steps the customer should expect or actions they should take.

Similarly, a WhatsApp welcome message could include a short greeting and the key points mentioned in the email in a more concise format.

b) Feedback Request Email/WhatsApp Message:

Feedback is crucial for your business’s growth and improvement. After an interaction with a customer, you could use a template to request their feedback.

This email or WhatsApp message could include:

  • A thank you note for their recent interaction or purchase.

  • A simple, straightforward request for feedback.

  • A WhatsApp chat that can collect feedback from the user

c) Business Proposal Email/WhatsApp Message:

When moving forward with a potential business opportunity, you might need to send out business proposals.

Your proposal template could include:

  • A detailed overview of your proposed services or products.

  • The benefits and value the customer will receive.

  • Pricing and terms of service.

For WhatsApp, you might send a brief summary of the proposal and prompt them to check their email for more details.

All these templates can be made with the Picky Assist drag-and-drop email builder for emails and the WhatsApp template builder for WhatsApp messages. Having these templates in place will ensure your team communicates consistently and professionally, enhancing your brand image and improving customer relations.

11. Integrate All Your Tools into the CRM

If you're utilizing various software solutions such as a payment gateway for transactions, invoicing software for billing, meeting scheduling tools like Calendly, or online collaboration platforms like Zoom, it's vital to integrate all these into your CRM across different modules. This enables a unified view of information and smooth operations. Picky Assist's built-in no-code Connector can facilitate these integrations seamlessly. Alternatively, consider using automation platforms like Make, Zapier, or Pabbly Connect to integrate your various tools with your CRM."

For example, if you use Stripe for payments, you can set up an integration where every new payment is automatically logged into the CRM as a new record in the 'Payments' module. This allows for automatic reconciliation and makes it easier to keep track of customer payments.

Similarly, if you're using Calendly for scheduling, you can set up an integration that logs every new meeting scheduled into the 'Meetings' module in the CRM. This gives your team a centralized place to see all upcoming customer meetings without having to leave the CRM.

These integrations not only save time by reducing manual data entry but also ensure that your CRM is always up-to-date with the latest information.

12. Define Permissions and Roles

In any organization, not everyone needs access to all information. With Picky Assist, you can define roles and permissions, ensuring that each team member has access to the right data and modules needed to perform their job effectively. This not only enhances security but also ensures the organization's data management is orderly and streamlined. Here are the steps to consider:

a) Identify User Roles:

Start by identifying the different roles within your organization that will interact with the CRM. These roles might include sales representatives, marketing team members, customer service agents, managers, etc. Each of these roles requires access to different types of data.

For example, your sales reps may need access to lead and contact information, but not necessarily to financial data. Your customer service agents, on the other hand, may require access to a customer's full history, including all interactions and transactions.

b) Define Access Levels:

Once you have identified roles, the next step is to determine what level of access each role should have.

  • Read Access: Can view the information in the module but can't make any changes.

  • Write Access: Can view and modify the information in the module.

  • Full Access: Can view, modify, and delete information in the module.

For instance, a sales representative might have write access to the Leads and Contacts modules to update lead status or contact information, while a manager might have full access to view, update, and delete records across all modules.

c) Set Record Ownership Rules:

You should also define rules around record ownership. Can users only view and edit records that they own? Or can they also view and edit records owned by others?

For example, in a collaborative environment, it might make sense to allow team members to view and edit each other's records. But in other situations, you might want to restrict access to only the records owned by the user.

Remember, the main goal is to ensure the right people have the right level of access to the data they need, while also maintaining the security and integrity of your business data. So, carefully define these permissions and roles based on your business's unique needs and structure.

13. Train Users and Define a CRM Usage Framework

Once you've designed and set up your CRM, the next crucial step is to train your users and establish a usage framework. This is key to ensuring the consistency of data input and maximizing the potential of your CRM system.

a) Conduct Training Sessions:

Plan for regular training sessions with different teams. The training should include a comprehensive overview of the CRM's features, focusing on how these features apply to their specific roles.

For instance, sales representatives should be trained on how to enter and update lead and customer information, manage deals, set reminders, schedule follow-ups, etc. Customer service representatives, on the other hand, should be trained on how to access customer history, log interactions, manage service tickets, etc.

It's also helpful to provide training on any automation workflows you've created in your CRM. Show your team how these workflows function, what triggers them, and how they benefit the users and the business.

b) Create User Guides:

For reference and reinforcement, create user guides tailored to the different roles in your company. These guides can include step-by-step instructions, best practices, and FAQs.

c) Define a CRM Usage Framework:

In addition to training, it's important to set guidelines on how the CRM should be used. This is essentially a set of rules that everyone agrees to follow to ensure consistency and reliability of data.

For example, you might specify that all customer interactions must be logged, all sales deals should be updated weekly, no duplicate records are allowed, all mandatory fields must be filled out, etc.

d) Monitor and Give Feedback:

Continually monitor how your team is using the CRM, and give constructive feedback. This will ensure that they're following the usage framework, and it will also help you to identify any potential issues or areas for improvement in your CRM design.

Remember, a CRM system is only as good as the data it contains. Proper training and a clear usage framework are essential to make the most out of your CRM.

14. Monitor and Enforce CRM Guidelines

Once your CRM is set up and your team is trained, your job isn't over. Monitoring usage and enforcing the guidelines you've set out is an ongoing process that's vital for the success of your CRM implementation.

a) Monitor CRM Usage:

Our CRM systems offer analytics or reporting that lets you track user activity. Make use of these features to monitor how your team is using the CRM. Are they logging in regularly? Are they updating records as required? Is there a pattern of certain errors or oversights? These analytics can provide valuable insight into how well your team is adopting the CRM system.

For example, if your sales team isn't logging calls or updating deals in the CRM, this can impact the accuracy of your sales forecasting and reporting. On the other hand, if they're using the system effectively, you'll have up-to-date data that gives you a reliable picture of your sales pipeline.

b) Enforce Guidelines and Best Practices:

If you notice patterns of misuse or non-use of the CRM, it's important to address this quickly. This could involve additional training, reminders about best practices, or in some cases, implementing stricter rules about CRM use.

Remember, your CRM system is a tool to help your team work more effectively. It's not meant to be a burden or a big brother watching over their shoulder. So when enforcing guidelines, make sure your team understands the benefits of using the CRM correctly - not just for the company, but for them as individuals.

Proper CRM usage can help them manage their workload, follow up more effectively with leads and customers, and ultimately be more successful in their roles.

c) Regular Reviews and Updates:

Keep in mind that your CRM system is not a set-it-and-forget-it tool. Regularly review and update your CRM structure, workflows, and guidelines based on user feedback and changing business needs. Your CRM should evolve with your business to continue providing maximum value.

By effectively monitoring and enforcing the use of your CRM, you'll ensure its success within your organization, leading to more streamlined processes, better customer relationships, and ultimately, a more successful business.

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