CRM Implementation Roadmap: 12 Steps to Integration

Authored by: The WayPath CRM Team

The customer relationship management (CRM) implementation process involves centralizing, unifying, and harmonizing all communications between a company and its customers. Achieving a successful CRM implementation takes a healthy dose of thought and effort. If you’re on the fence as to whether it’s worth the effort, consider the following:

The average ROI for CRM may be as high as 30 to 1. And CRM systems can increase sales productivity by 34%. Yet, the path to CRM implementation is all too often littered with failures and false starts. According to Meta Group, Inc., 55%–75% of CRM implementation projects initially fail.

The effective selection, use, and integration of CRM tools are the secret sauce for gaining increased sales and happier customers. In this article, we’ll define what CRM is, explore the value of CRM tools, and, more specifically, consider why effective CRM implementation and integration are essential for every modern digital business.

What Is CRM?

CRM is a software platform designed to enhance and optimize the relationships a business has with its customers. A CRM system allows you to schedule, coordinate, track, and measure customer outreach efforts across multiple channels and touchpoints. It also enables different teams to work together when engaging with customers. These teams typically include people from sales, marketing, customer success, customer service, and even event management.

It’s clear just how vital CRM is to identifying, nurturing, and converting prospects and leads into customers. Over 90% of companies with over 10 employees use a CRM.

For a deep dive into CRM for enterprise, read our comprehensive guide.

Your CRM Implementation Roadmap

Customer relationship management (CRM) is essential for business success, relying on adaptable strategies to meet evolving customer needs. Central to this is a well-constructed CRM roadmap, empowering teams to manage crucial relationships efficiently at scale. However, selecting the right CRM is just the beginning; a comprehensive implementation plan is essential to fully harness its capabilities.

A CRM roadmap aligns a company’s vision with its CRM platform’s capabilities, involving assessing existing processes and customer management strategies across departments. By examining touchpoints and support processes, companies can enhance customer interactions and streamline operations. A structured roadmap improves efficiency, drives sales, and minimizes negative outcomes, ensuring sustained success in customer relationship management.

The Benefits of the Right CRM

Just about every company of every size uses a CRM. Today, third-party cloud SaaS applications dominate, creating new layers of complexity that require agile, integrated solutions. As such, it’s no longer a viable approach—especially in the enterprise—to think that teams can operate or grow without a modern CRM.

Today’s CRM solutions offer the following benefits:

  • Improved Customer Relationships. From nurturing leads to onboarding, retention, and loyalty, your CRM can help you manage and automate every aspect of the customer journey. A CRM helps you retain good customers and reduces churn with features like automated customer support and behavior tracking so you can better understand and solve your customers’ problems.
  • Democratized Information. Detailed customer information is available to all team members, enabling sales and marketing alignment and improving communication at every touchpoint. For example, if a customer has interacted with the company’s social channels, phone support, or other team members, the CRM keeps records of those interactions, informing efforts going forward.
  • Increased Productivity. CRM automation enables quality interactions at scale. Team members can accomplish more in less time, potentially serving more customers and sending value back to the bottom line. Repetitive tasks are automated, ensuring that no leads or tasks fall through the cracks.
  • Improved Internal Communications. When employees are connected to a centralized platform, it is easier for them to work together towards a common cause. Each team member has access to previous customer conversations, enabling an omnichannel customer experience.
  • Powerful Analytics. CRM software contextualizes data, delivering actionable insights and metrics that are easy to understand. Track your marketing campaigns and apply insights on customer demographics, click-through rates, and other interactions to inform and improve future efforts.
  • Improved Segmentation. Segmentation is essential to the success of your campaigns, but when you’re managing hundreds or thousands of customers, it can be a little overwhelming. A CRM automatically segments your customers based on the criteria you set.

Of course, these are just a few of the benefits the right CRM delivers. If you can define what aspects are most important to your organization, narrowing down the field of potential CRMs will be that much easier.

How Does My Organization Select the Right CRM?

The specific benefits you’ll enjoy from switching to a better-suited CRM than the one your company currently uses will depend from case to case. Before even thinking about implementing a CRM system, you need to do some homework to ensure you select the right one. Choosing the appropriate CRM platform for your business holds equal, if not greater, significance compared to the actual rollout process.

The best place to start is asking yourself what business outcomes you hope to realize from your CRM implementation process. Some good questions to ask yourself include:

  • Which of our core business strategic objectives are we hoping our CRM solution will help us achieve?
    • This may include a more granular understanding oof existing customers an prospects, better collaboration among teams, enhanced cross-selling opportunities, increased efficiency, and faster customer suppoort.
  • What level of time, human, and financial resources are we willing and able to invest in our CRM solution and implementation?
  • Will we need to make any internal organizational changes?
  • Is an on-premise, cloud-based, or hybrid solution best for us?
  • By answering these questions, you’ll be able to refine your search and evaluation of potential vendor solutions.

CRM Implementation Roadmap

To build an effective roadmap for CRM implementation, it’s important to first understand what we mean by this term.

A CRM implementation roadmap is a plan that outlines how you’ll implement your CRM system and associated technology. This includes how you’ll collect and track customer data, how you’ll use this data to improve your business, and the sequence of configuration, development, and roll-out of CRM modules and integrations.

A good roadmap helps your organization better understand how and when the pieces of technology will come online and, perhaps more importantly, when their business processes will change. 

It will also consider the unique needs of your business and customers to lay out specific goals and objectives. The roadmap sets expectations across the organization for when change will occur and when benefits will start to accrue. Fundamentally, the roadmap is a communication and coordination tool that helps align the organization toward a new way of operating the business.

What Is CRM Integration?

Integration is vital in ensuring that a business extracts maximum value from its investment in CRM platforms and tools. Essentially, CRM integration involves connecting the CRM platform with other related or unrelated business systems.

Effective CRM integration ensures that there’s a “single source of truth” when it comes to customer data. It also ensures that data is accurate, complete, and fully up to date. With the best CRM platforms, this aggregated data is available to all internal stakeholders 24/7 from their mobile devices.

When disparate systems are correctly integrated into the central CRM hub, it allows management to gain a 360-degree view of the entire customer lifecycle—anything from who last met or spoke with a high-value customer to who is following up on a customer complaint and the progress of that outreach and incident resolution.

So, what are these “other” systems that can and should be integrated into your enterprise CRM platform?

The most common instances include:

Marketing Automation Software

Modern marketers understand the criticality of integrating their marketing automation tools with their CRM platform. That’s because it gives them a clear line of sight into all-important customer data and the ability to access it in a central repository.

These insights allow marketing teams to plan, execute, follow up on, measure, and report on highly targeted marketing campaigns.


If you integrate your email and CRM platforms, you give your users the ability to insert customer records directly from the CRM system into their email templates and newsletters. CRM email integration also gives marketers a means to quickly create targeted email campaigns for specific customer groups or segments—drawing on the most up-to-date data stored in the CRM system.

Once email outreach has been initiated, senders can easily determine how well these efforts resonate with the recipients. They can see exactly who is opening and clicking on emails. Success or otherwise on this front can be used as input into future campaigns, thereby creating a cycle of continuous and iterative learning.


When a CRM platform is integrated with the enterprise calendar exchange, it’s possible to gain insight into the volume, type, and frequency of all virtual and personal meetings between people in your organization and different customers. This helps identify “who knows who” best within key accounts. It can also highlight “warm” relationships that exist but might not be immediately apparent.

Additionally, it allows for more informed planning and better decision-making about customer events.

Internal Team Communications

Today’s more advanced CRM tools allow for integration with your enterprise communication and collaboration platform(s). Essentially, your teams can collaborate within the CRM platform itself. Many tools allow for automatic email alerts and reminders to be sent to team members and for individuals to assign others specific tasks or actions.

This goes a long way in cutting down the level of manual communication among individuals and teams, as all notifications can be sent and received through a single source.

Social Media

Integrating CRM with social media platforms gives you the means to communicate with your customers in a timely and relevant manner to forge deeper, more meaningful relationships. It also allows you to react quickly to customer or industry news and events.

CRM integration with social media channels enables you to publish social posts to your various accounts simultaneously and without having to use other tools.

It’s also a great way to gauge how your customers are interacting with your social posts and web pages.

Other enterprise software and tools that are commonly integrated with CRM platforms include inventory management, financial and accounting systems, and HR systems.

Why Is CRM Integration Important?

CRM integration is important in the modern business context for several reasons, most notably:

  • It lets you automate repetitive tasks like updating data, drawing up reports, and sending emails. Ultimately, this helps you save time and money by hiring fewer dedicated in-house resources to direct workflow and keep manual records.
  • Your organization will be in a stronger position to offer a high-quality customer experience when your enterprise systems are integrated because you’ll be able to spot issues or bottlenecks before they happen. Additionally, thanks to the granular insights you have about your customers’ behavior, you can hyper-personalize your outreach and avoid any duplication of effort across different teams.
  • Sales management can immediately see how many leads, deals, and opportunities each salesperson has, so they can track performance and allocate internal resources efficiently.
  • Data is updated in real-time, so you always have access to the most accurate and up-to-date information rather than having to search for it or ask others to share it with you.
  • Most CRM solutions are cloud-based and mobile-enabled, which means you can access information from anywhere using your smartphone.
  • Thanks to user roles and permissions functionality, you can set parameters about who in your organization has access to which data and records, depending on their role. This can ensure the confidentiality of sensitive customer data.
  • When people have access to the same data, it reduces their workload and supports better teamwork, cooperation, and transparency within the business.

Why Is a CRM Integration Roadmap Important?

An integration roadmap can help you understand your customers better. By tracking all interactions, you can learn about their needs and wants. This information can then be used to improve your products and services. This CRM strategy can also help you build loyalty among your customer base. By using these insights to provide excellent customer service, you can keep your customers coming back for more.

A CRM integration roadmap is important for several reasons:

Strategic Alignment

Your CRM roadmap helps ensure integration will align with your company’s goals, so you get the most value from your CRM system.

Resource Allocation

Taking the time to properly define each step of your integration roadmap makes it possible for you to identify the resources each stage will require. This includes human resources, along with financial and technological needs.

Timeline Projection

Planning out your integration helps you approximate the time you’ll have to devote company resources towards your integration strategy. 

Risk Mitigation

Being able to identify potential risks ahead of time helps you have a plan in place for how to deal with those challenges should they occur.

Integrate It into All Aspects of Your Business

Your CRM platform needs to interoperate with your other enterprise systems to deliver on its potential. Part of the process of implementing the tool is integrating it into all other aspects of your business, including enterprise platforms such as your ERP, CMS, and marketing automation system. This level of integration will ensure the CRM platform can gather data from multiple sources and precisely track every interaction you have with your customers—from sales and marketing to customer service. This will help you get a complete picture of your customers and their needs.

Switching to a New CRM: Things to Consider

CRMs are among the most powerful and complex business platforms available today. Part software, part business strategy, it’s a core solution that drives significant ROI.
But it’s not as simple as just downloading the software and adjusting a few settings. Statistically, almost three-quarters of all CRM implementation plans fail, and it’s usually because of poor adoption. Your effort must be measured and measurable, with milestones to indicate progress, and this is where your roadmap comes in. It’s also where aligning your efforts with a CRM implementation consultant helps.

What are the 12 Steps for CRM Implementation & Integration?

Building a CRM roadmap can seem daunting, especially if you’re a larger organization with disparate and/or legacy technology within your installed base. Other factors to consider include the size and geographical footprint of your enterprise, your business goals, and the demographics of your customer base.

However, there are a few things you can do to make the process easier and more successful:

  1. Prepare a Preliminary Assessment

Choosing the right CRM requires understanding how your company is organized, your specific needs, and your vision of what you hope to accomplish going forward. Working with an experienced CRM implementation consultant like WayPath reduces costs and accelerates time-to-value. 

You’ll want to conduct a comprehensive business needs analysis in your preliminary assessment. This helps you identify and specify the outcome you need to realize. Setting clear goals and objectives will help you harmonize those outcome goals with the features you look for in your CRM platform. This includes aligning your goals with the departments that will use the platform, unifying efforts and benefits across your teams.

With planning and assessment underway, the next step is to set CRM goals that align with your sales and marketing efforts. How can your CRM strategy increase sales, build customer loyalty, or improve customer service?

For example, your sales team may want to increase sales by a certain percentage, or your customer service team may want to reduce the number of complaints they receive by a certain percentage. Your marketing goals could be to increase website traffic or improve conversion rates. By setting goals, you paint a clearer picture of what your strategy should aim to accomplish.

  1. Select the Right CRM Solution

Now that you have assessed your business needs while considering the big picture across all your company’s departments, you can choose the right CRM platform to help you meet those needs. Your platform will align features, scalability, and customization to match your company’s structure and resources.

  1. Identify and Categorize Your Target Customers

Your target customers’ needs must be at the core of your CRM strategy. It’s not uncommon for organizations to have thousands of customers in their systems, so you need to focus and prioritize. It’s important to understand which are the potentially high-value customers you want to communicate with and which are more secondary or lukewarm prospects. Set up discrete databases for your different categories of customers.

This includes considering how you will personalize your communications to build meaningful and enduring relationships with your customers.

Make sure your CRM strategy allows for the creation of customized content based on customers’ interests and needs. A personalized message shows you care about your customers as individuals and appreciate their business.

  1. Consider How You’ll Collect and Analyze Data

It’s important to continually collect data from your customers to understand their needs. There are a few different ways you can collect data, including asking them to fill out surveys or forms. These days, however, your CRM tool will be able to take care of the heavy lifting for you by automatically gathering and processing specific data sets and tracking customers’ interactions with your company. But you’ll still need to decide on the appropriate areas and parameters so that when you put your tool to work, it’s gathering the most relevant and useful insights.

Once you analyze this data, you’ll be able to spot trends and patterns that will help you understand how, where, and why your customers are interacting with your company. You can then use this data to improve your marketing efforts for both new and existing customers.

  1. Build a Cross-Functional Team

In the context of CRM implementation and integration, it is crucial to establish a cross-functional team comprising members from various departments, such as sales, marketing, customer success, and service. This collaborative effort enables different teams to work together effectively when engaging with customers. 

As you begin implementing your CRM platform, you will foster collaboration from all departments to help integration go seamlessly, using your CRM as a central hub for other systems, data sets, and legacy processes.

Your CRM will become your company’s 360-degree view, showing all company connections to your customers and the departments communicating with them.

  1. Plan Your Data Migration

Moving communications to a new platform requires proper planning for migration and integration of any systems that need to connect to your CRM. Assess your existing data for quality and consistency, and map out your strategy for moving this data to your new system.

Data migration is about preserving what you already have and simplifying redundancy so your CRM platform becomes a single source of truth where all data points reside.

  1. Customize and Configure Your New Platform

The most robust CRM solutions allow for numerous features and customizations. These features have to be properly configured, implementing the things that facilitate your productivity needs and preventing unused features from cluttering up procedures and processes. You’ll configure system modules, design workflows for maximum efficiency, and customize as required.

With your CRM system as the central hub for all of your prior data points, integrating your CRM involves making sure all your other software communicates with this system.

You’ll be pulling in data from multiple applications and setting your CRM to manage this data, removing bottlenecks and eliminating redundancy. Throughout the integration phase of CRM implementation, you’ll assess potential risks that need to be addressed, set administrative privileges, and ensure that data coming from multiple systems is secure and properly managed going forward.

  1. Get Management to Set the Tone from the Top

Implementing a CRM system is a step-change for any business and affects many users. It’s vital that your senior leadership team isn’t just involved—they need to be seen and heard championing it.

This will motivate people to explore the tool and give the implementation initiative the credibility it needs to succeed.

So, why not get your C-suite to talk about the solution in your next Town Hall meeting or quarterly business update? Better still, ask them to use and showcase the tool itself as part of these sessions.

  1. Keep it Simple

The most common barriers to CRM tool adoption are encountered when companies configure their tools with dozens of required fields. This can make users feel intimidated.

Keep the mantra of “simplicity first” top of mind as you refine your CRM tool’s functionality and processes.

Of course, many CRM tools come with a range of intriguing “bells and whistles.” But before you start considering all the customizations you could create, take a step back and review the standard “out-of-the-box” technology—this is likely a good place to start for your initial implementation.

  1. Proceed with Gradual Rollout and Monitoring

A gradual, phased rollout helps you continuously monitor your transition. This allows you to gauge where added training may be necessary and work out the kinks if any operations aren’t working as anticipated, giving your workforce the opportunity to provide feedback that can be useful for making adjustments or further customizations.

Work with your internal marketing or corporate communications colleagues to make the launch a memorable event. They’ll likely come up with some creative tactics to support you, such as making a splash on your intranet, putting up posters, distributing desk drops, or handing out t-shirts.

  1. Don’t Forget Training

If your users aren’t adequately trained on how to use the system, there’s a good chance that they’ll use it incorrectly, which could result in inaccurate data making its way into your system. Worse still, people could end up not using the new tool and revert to antiquated methods to perform their jobs.

Work with your HR team to set up and schedule user training sessions— in person, virtual, or a combination of both. As part of this process, consider the different learning styles that might exist within your user groups and design different training materials and methods to accommodate them.

Your comprehensive training strategy should consider the most effective training methods for your different departments and the areas of expertise involved.

  1. Carry Out Testing and Quality Assurance

Throughout implementation, you will test your new system and integrations with other platforms. You will check systems for quality and consistency to ensure data is accurate and properly stored. This means making sure customer data is accurate, complete, up-to-date, and free of bugs and errors.

Once you’ve deployed your solution and trained your end users, it’s not time to sit back and tick off the implementation task as “done.” Every business’s strategy will change over time, as will market dynamics, customer profiles, and end users. So, keep that regular feedback loop with your users open and regularly reassess whether the tool is still serving you as well as it could be.

Establish a post-implementation review process for continuous improvement. Your workforce’s continued feedback can provide increasing efficiency for your processes while maximizing the quality support and communication you carry out with customers.

Be mindful that CRM tool vendors regularly enhance their products and features. Be sure to explore these so you don’t miss any opportunities to improve your users’ experience and adoption levels.

What does a CRM Implementation Cost?

The cost to deploy your new CRM system will vary depending on the scope of the project. For example, a basic implementation with WayPath is around $20,000. A complex implementation with a large organization with complex workflows can easily cost north of six figures. Hiring a CRM integration and implementation expert is the best way to ensure the process goes smoothly, and you avoid issues like data loss or misalignment with your new platform.

A mismatch between your old CRM system and migrating to a new platform, for instance, could lead to lost data, or data that is placed in the wrong fields. A CRM expert will anticipate these issues and knows the feature set of the top platforms. It’s our job to be prepared to maintain data integrity, security, and accuracy.

Some of the costs that can come into play include:

  • Licensing or hosting costs (payable to your vendor and/or cloud service provider)
  • Implementation, service, and support costs (the cost of in-house resources and/or your vendor’s professional services fees)
  • Adding or removing new users
  • Data migration
  • Customizations
  • Training
  • Any premium additions

WayPath: Your Partner In a Successful CRM Implementation and Integration Process

At WayPath, we specialize in guiding a myriad of industries through successful CRM planning and implementation. Our platform-agnostic approach ensures we tailor the perfect CRM solution for your needs. From design and integration to customization and customer service strategies, we’re here to help you build exceptional customer experiences across every touchpoint. Contact us today to start your CRM journey with confidence.



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