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7 steps to creating a private equity 100-day plan for CRM onboarding

Private equity professionals are no strangers to 100-day plans. Although the strategy behind them has evolved over the last 20 years, these plans continue to guide companies through the complexity and uncertainty of integrations, post–due-diligence matters, business planning, and stakeholder and employee communications.

For firms investing in a new CRM system, a private equity 100-day plan is just the tool they need to help with onboarding.

Undergoing a successful technology transformation or new software implementation can have the same effects on a business as improving revenue, which is why it’s so important to outline your firm’s overall vision, define goals, and garner buy-in across teams to ensure the technology implementation is successful.

After performing more than 500 CRM implementations for investment banks and private equity firms over the past 10 years, DealCloud is here to help your firm create its own effective private equity 100-day plan for CRM onboarding. Follow these 7 steps to ensure that your implementation process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.

1. Involve all employees during the planning stage

The most successful CRM deployments consider all types of users, not just the top sales representatives or the most technologically savvy users. Technology implementation is a team sport, and everyone must be involved and work toward a shared objective.

Before CRM implementation takes place, be sure to share the intended goals for the new technology, possible CRM options, and estimated implementation timeline with members of your firm. In addition, survey a cross-section of your CRM consumers — from investment, finance, operations, marketing, IT, and customer service — to learn what features they want in a CRM.

Incorporating input from various teams is crucial to the success of your onboarding process: When you consider the needs and preferences of your CRM users and select a familiar or comfortable interface, you stand a better chance of achieving a smoother, swifter company-wide adoption.

2. Define goals and the implementation strategy

A successful CRM onboarding strategy will span several months and take on different phases.

First, set realistic goals with well-defined timelines to ensure you’re making progress at each stage. For example, we recommend migrating your deal tracking and contact management workflow to the CRM in the first month, then focusing on other core features afterwards.

Next, scope each phase so your company can achieve those goals. Figure out how many of your firm’s business cases the CRM will address, and determine how success should be measured per business case. You’ll also need to determine whether you’re migrating full business use cases or just parts of them.

Your strategy should serve as a roadmap — showing the affected systems, people, and business processes — and build incrementally on prior phases’ deliverables. By defining your goals in advance, you’ll have established metrics for measuring progress.

3. Get top-down buy in

A new CRM implementation strategy entails an investment of finances and internal effort. As with post-acquisition integrations, everyone will look to leadership for confirmation that the CRM investment will have a significant positive impact.

It’s crucial to have your entire executive team on board from the beginning so they can articulate to anyone in the organization why adopting the new tool is essential. These leaders can also help generate continued interest and excitement in the new CRM, so more people will be willing to adopt it.

Getting buy-in from your executives and business leaders also increases the chances that the technology onboarding process will be successful and sustainable in the long term. For example, a COO may actively participate in the onboarding process and monitor the results of a new process automation tool for your deal flow. The COO can then identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments to ensure continued success.

4. Build a cross-functional launch team

The next step is to build a cross-functional team that includes representatives from all areas of your firm who will be impacted by the new CRM. For instance, a CRM transformation will involve investment bankers and employees in the IT, marketing, investor relations, and legal and compliance functions.

You’ll also want to have drivers, or “power users,” from across the organization to serve as early adopters of the new technology. These users can champion the tool and help set the tone across the organization to positively impact the implementation outcome. Don’t be afraid to highlight and celebrate these people, but make sure they have time to provide meaningful support to their peers, and that their roles are clearly defined and understood.

It’s also helpful to appoint a leader for your cross-functional implementation team who will be directly responsible for leading the change effort and monitoring its progress. This person is typically relatively senior and reports to a C-level executive.

Some clients opt to have structures in which the cross-functional team has a set of goals related to the CRM implementation. These goals are linked to each team member’s performance appraisals and compensation.

5. Integrate the CRM into daily operations early

Integrating a CRM system into daily operations can help improve efficiency, enhance collaboration, and drive adoption. The earlier you integrate your system, the faster your firm will see results.

When implementing new technology, it’s important to showcase the tool’s efficacy early to persuade users to adopt it sooner rather than later. Encourage employees to use the new CRM system to automate email communication, schedule meetings, and track progress on deal flows so they can witness the benefits of the tool themselves.

Some of our clients have even instituted a “no-paper policy” to encourage everyone to rethink their document approval processes and increase their usage of the CRM.

6. Provide regular and department-specific training sessions

Change management is an essential part of the technology implementation process, and it requires a customized approach for different departments and employees. This is especially true when providing training sessions.

Hands-on training sessions ensure that employees are comfortable with the new CRM system. These sessions can be conducted in person or virtually, and should allow employees to practice using the system in a guided environment.

However, training programs should differ from team to team. For example, the deal team may focus on deal tracking, market research, and reporting, while the investor relations team may focus on contact management and list building.

It’s important to remember that because a CRM is not an initiative or a project, CRM implementation never ends, and training must be ongoing. You may also need to adjust your private equity 100-day plan to reflect any issues that arise during the training sessions.

For instance, one client we spoke to said his team needed help effectively using the Microsoft Outlook add-in in DealCloud. As a result, the firm updated its 100-day plan to include weekly, informal office hours where users could ask questions and get training from their peers.

7. Monitor progress and make adjustments as necessary

Review the goals of your private equity 100-day implementation plan regularly — for example, at 30-, 60-, and 90-day intervals — and track how well or poorly the team is moving toward them. Monitor progress and make adjustments as necessary. This consistent practice ensures that you’ll gain the expected benefits from your implementation, and will be able to quickly identify and address any issues and challenges.

Get started today with DealCloud’s CRM for private equity firms

Internal improvements, such as migrating to a new CRM implementation, are never easy. But DealCloud makes the process smoother by providing the features, support, and blueprints you need to make your CRM implementation faster and more meaningful, and to meet the specific requirements of your investment firm.

DealCloud includes:

  • Deal tracking — Stay organized and make more informed decisions by tracking the entire deal lifecycle, from origination to execution.
  • Relationship and contact management — Keep track of meaningful relationships and communication by managing contacts, investors, portfolio companies, and other key stakeholders, all from a centralized platform.
  • Reporting and analytics — Identify market trends and new investment opportunities with various reporting, analytics, and market research tools.
  • Custom templates and automated touchpoints — Accelerate your dealmaking strategies through better workflow management and marketing, and automatically generate follow-ups and schedule check-ins.

Private equity 100-day plans allow you to set clear, measurable goals for what you want to achieve in the near term. They help organizations roll out new technology more thoughtfully and intentionally, no matter the size or complexity of the team.

Schedule a demo of DealCloud’s CRM for private equity firms today.