CRM Onboarding: Steal Our Battle-Tested Framework Best Practices by Val Riley June 20, 2023 CRM onboarding is the process of introducing new users to a CRM system. It is a crucial step for those who want to adopt a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. The process involves setting up and organizing contacts, as well as learning how to use different features of the CRM. Through this process, users can learn the necessary skills to use their CRM effectively. CRM onboarding is an essential part of the process of adopting a new CRM, and it plays an instrumental role in helping users get the most out of their new system. If you are new to a CRM system and want to use it efficiently, participating in CRM onboarding is highly recommended. Understanding what is CRM onboarding is important for anyone adopting a new CRM system. What Is Onboarding In Software (SaaS)? Let’s step back for a moment and talk about the concept of software onboarding in general. It is not possible to overstate how crucial onboarding is. In a 2023 study, Gitnux shared a report on Customer Onboarding Statistics. It showed that 76% of customers likely persist with a service after a welcoming onboarding experience. However, it also showed that poor onboarding leads to a 40-60% user drop-off rate post sign-up in the software industry. Onboarding in software is a crucial process to get new users familiar with a particular application. It encompasses guiding users through the essential functions of the software and helping them understand the features of the application. Most of the time during a software purchase, a small group of users has seen and selected the software. The rest of the user base, which could be dozens, hundreds or even thousands of people, has not seen the platform and may not necessarily understand its purpose or use. The onboarding process solves for this. Essentially, an onboarding specialist or team helps users create accounts, set preferences, and navigate the interface. Tutorials, step-by-step guidance, and interactive features are commonly used during the onboarding process to help new users learn the application easily. When done correctly, software onboarding can positively impact user retention rates and overall user experience, leading to long-term success for the application. So, “What is onboarding in software?” It’s the process that helps new users understand and navigate an app’s features, making it easier for them to use and enjoy the software. Why Do You Need CRM Onboarding? A CRM, or customer relationship management system, is a software platform that is the heart of a business operation. It touches many teams, and is typically the single source of truth for a business. Since this is such a vital tool for a business, proper CRM onboarding is essential. A CRM makes customer relations more efficient. If you’re not using a CRM system, it can be challenging to keep track of customer interactions and information. CRM onboarding is the process of setting up and implementing a CRM system to ensure its seamless integration with your business operations. This process helps your team understand the features and functionality of the system and how to use them effectively. By going through the CRM onboarding process, you can ensure that your team is equipped with the tools and knowledge needed to make the most out of your investment. Overall, investing in CRM onboarding offers many benefits, including improved customer experiences, better team collaboration, and increased revenue. A Framework For CRM Onboarding A framework for CRM onboarding is a template or process that organizations can use to create a CRM onboarding plan that works for their unique needs. To ensure a hassle-free onboarding process, businesses should implement a CRM onboarding checklist and a clear CRM onboarding example for new customers. The checklist should include tasks such as setting up customer accounts, providing training and support, and ensuring successful data migration. Additionally, the example should showcase an efficient onboarding process that sets clear expectations and fosters two-way communication between the customer and the company. By implementing a well-thought-out framework, businesses can reduce onboarding time, increase customer satisfaction, and boost overall retention rates. Implementing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is a pivotal step in enhancing customer interactions, optimizing sales processes, and boosting overall business efficiency. However, to ensure a successful CRM onboarding experience, it is crucial to follow a well-defined framework that covers essential aspects such as data preparation, software configuration, and user training. The steps below present a comprehensive framework for CRM onboarding, focusing on three main points: cleaning up your contact list, setting up the software, and training and preparing users for the new system. Clean up your contact list to prepare your data before uploading it to the system: Before migrating your contact list to the CRM, it is essential to conduct a thorough data cleansing process. Start by removing duplicate entries, outdated information, and incomplete records. Standardize data fields to ensure consistency and accuracy. Validate email addresses, phone numbers, and other contact details to ensure they are correct and up to date. By cleaning up your contact list, you lay the foundation for a robust CRM system that will yield accurate insights and facilitate effective communication. Set up the software to reflect the customer lifecycle and configure the CRM to be compatible with the business’ sales processes and specific needs: Once your data is prepared, it’s time to configure the CRM software to align with your organization’s unique requirements. Start by defining the customer lifecycle stages specific to your business. These stages can include lead generation, qualification, nurturing, conversion, and retention. Customize the CRM’s workflow and automation features to mirror these stages and automate routine tasks to streamline sales processes. Configure the system to track relevant metrics and generate reports that provide actionable insights. Tailoring the CRM to your business processes and needs maximizes its effectiveness and ensures that it becomes an integral part of your operations. Training and preparing users to use the new system: Adopting a new CRM system requires proper training and preparation of the users who will be utilizing it daily. Start by identifying key users or administrators who will play a crucial role in system adoption. Provide them with comprehensive training on the CRM’s features, functionality, and best practices. Offer hands-on practice sessions and allow them to explore various scenarios to familiarize themselves with the system’s capabilities. Additionally, create user documentation or manuals that serve as references for common tasks and processes. Conduct regular training sessions for all users to ensure they are comfortable and confident in using the CRM. Furthermore, establish a support system, such as a dedicated help desk or knowledgeable CRM champions within the organization, to address user queries and provide ongoing assistance. CRM Onboarding Phases At Insightly, the CRM onboarding flow consists of 5 phases. Permissions and Basic Configuration – This is the first meeting where we will talk through the initial setup of the software and who needs access and why. Objects and Fields – In this second phase, we’ll talk about objects and fields which are key to customizing the CRM experience to your organization. Automation and Advanced Features – In this phase, we’ll look to find efficiencies by automating repetitive tasks and learning what advanced features of the system will benefit your team. Reporting and Dashboards – What data do you need in real time, at a glance? What data should be available in reports to leadership? We cover this and more in this phase. Launch and Post Launch – Let’s get the system in the hands of users during this phase. Then we’ll loop around to see what improvements we can make. Each of these phases has a plan with the detailed features that will be covered, links to the feature help articles and videos, and a checkbox to show progress in terms of the customer’s understanding of that feature. These plans are shared documents with the onboarding team and the customer, so there is always an understanding of where the customer is in the process. Insightly offers additional applications as part of its platform. They include Insightly Marketing, a marketing automation tool, Insightly Service, a customer service and ticketing application, and Insightly AppConnect, an integration tool. Should a customer be implementing more than one of these applications in addition to Insightly CRM, the team will typically do the CRM implementation first, then the Insightly Marketing implementation, followed by the Insightly Service implementation, and ending with AppConnect. By following this framework for CRM onboarding, organizations can ensure a seamless transition to a new system and reap the benefits of improved customer relationship management. A clean and accurate contact list will enable effective targeting and communication, while a customized CRM setup will align the system with the business’s specific needs. Lastly, thorough user training will empower employees to fully leverage the CRM’s capabilities, enhancing productivity and overall user satisfaction. In conclusion, implementing a CRM system requires a well-structured onboarding framework. Clean up your contact list to ensure data accuracy, configure the software to align with your business processes, and invest in comprehensive user training. By following these steps, organizations can successfully onboard CRM systems, optimize customer interactions, and drive growth and success in the digital age. How Long Does CRM Onboarding Take? This question has a lot to do with the CRM you have selected. Legacy CRMs like Salesforce can take between 6-12 months to implement, require an outside (read: expensive) integration consultant, and new, permanent staff members to operate the platform. It’s a long and arduous process. If you choose a modern CRM like Insightly, the situation is much different. Firms typically implement Insightly in 4 to 8 weeks, and don’t require outside help. With just the series of 5 onboarding sessions listed above, your team can be up and running with Insightly. (Psst…take the modern CRM test to see how your CRM of choice compares.) If your team adds Insightly Marketing, Insightly Service, and/or Insightly AppConnect, that will add additional time to the process. However, since all of the applications are on a shared platform, it will feel like one cohesive motion. Select Insightly and Onboard Quickly Insightly CRM is easy to use and customize with a robust feature set to streamline workflows and improve team collaboration. Since it’s a modern CRM, you’ll be up and running quickly, producing ROI with a low total cost of ownership for your CRM. Sell smarter, grow faster, and build lasting customer relationships with Insightly. Get started with a free trial of Insightly CRM today, watch a demo-on-demand at your convenience, or request a personalized demo to see how Insightly can help you to exceed standard benchmarks. CRM For Software CompaniesCRM Sales ToolCRM For EnterpriseCRM BenchmarksCrm TrainingCRM Data CleanupCrm ConfigurationCRM SuccessCrm AdoptionCrm EvaluationCrm Evaluation ChecklistCRM Implementation CostCustomizing CrmBest CRM For Sales Adoption | Customer Relationships | Customer relationships | Customer Service | Sales process | Trends | Unified CRM Val Riley Val Riley is a tech marketer with more than 20 years of experience. She specializes in Content Marketing at Insightly and previously worked for a marketing automation platform as head of Product and Content Marketing. Also known as The Decaf Marketer, Val is a regular contributor on LinkedIn.