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How to Foolproof Your CRM Implementation

Over the last several years, CRM systems that support sourcing and talent pipelining have become very popular – and it’s easy to see why. Many companies face the same challenges when it comes to recruiting, but it really all comes down to this: with the sheer volume of people looking for jobs, how do we find the right candidate faster?

Implementing a CRM seems like a small investment if the end result is the ability to organize candidate contacts company wide, allow opt-in segmentation of talent, streamline targeted passive and active communications and access a massive database of rich talent to search when you’re ready to hire quickly. It’s tempting to jump into the implementation of the CRM before the ink is dry on the contract, and too many companies have taken this approach only to find the system didn’t hit the mark. But even with a great system in place, you still have the challenge of user adoption. What happens if you miss the mark, and make the system difficult to use or obsolete out of the gate? You guarantee that the time and money spent will be for nothing because sourcers and recruiters will not use a system that doesn’t make it worth their while.

So, how can you develop a foolproof approach? There are three areas any company should focus on and plan for before they even start the design and implementation of their CRM.

1. Strategy: What is the strategy and its impact on the business?

Often times, defining a sourcing strategy is part of the business case to purchase a CRM. But does it go deep enough? Understanding the objectives up front is critical to designing a system that will meet the needs of the company long term. Do you have a current sourcing team? If so, how will this new system change their roles? Do you have defined and enforceable processes that outline each use case? Well thought out future process documentation that has been reviewed and bought off on by your team is invaluable. Knowing where you want to go and how you can measurably define your success is a critical first step.

2. Data: What’s really important?

We see companies migrating way more data to their CRM then they should. There is a tendency to believe that if they could just search their current Talent Acquisition system more efficiently, then they wouldn’t even need a CRM. In reality, all that data just makes it more difficult to find the diamond in the rough.

Spend time realistically reviewing the candidate data available in current systems as well as on spreadsheets located on recruiter’s desktops. How old is the data? Candidate data stales quickly in the average database. Phone numbers, addresses, current positions, degrees… they change and change regularly. There is nothing more frustrating to a sourcer than finding the perfect candidate but having no way to contact them. By migrating only candidate data that is 2-3 years old, you’ll minimize stale contacts.

Look deeper at that 2-3 years of data and determine what can be left behind. Can criteria be applied to ensure you’re pulling quality candidates to populate your CRM? Examples are candidates that meet minimum qualifications, candidates that passed hiring manager screening, candidates that made it to first round interviews, and “silver medalists” candidates who just missed being hired for another position in the company.

If users can’t trust the quality of the data, it’s worthless. Your sourcer will be much better served with fewer search results, but accurate candidate data within the result.

3. Integration: When and to what existing systems?

When planning your implementation timeline prior to kick off, build in time to complete all critical integrations in phase 1. One of the biggest errors when rolling out a CRM is to not have it integrated to your other recruiting systems (particularly the Talent Acquisition system). We often see clients push back integrations to their other talent acquisition systems until phase 2 (or sometimes not at all). Their thought process is to get the system live and users actively working in it and then decide if you need to integrate to other systems. It’s tempting, but a huge mistake.

The purpose of a CRM is to ensure sourcers can tap into crucial candidate information quickly. If the CRM isn’t able to “speak” to the other systems, it’s basically worthless to a sourcer, and most of them will abandon using the CRM rather than limp by until phase 2 to have data flowing easily between the two systems. If adoption is the key to a successful CRM, then integrate it to other key recruiting systems prior to rollout.

Just like any other system, in the end, the CRM is only as good as the people using it. But following these steps in preparation for an implementation will help set your users up for success.