How to Change CRM Systems Successfully and Painlessly

A Different Kind of CRM

Continuum CRM changes the way you'll view customer relationship management tools in Senior Living. It goes beyond activity tracking for the Marketing & Sales department. It helps sales people manage relationships and marketers track campaigns. For managers and corporate team leaders, it’s a powerful data-driven machine capable of providing insights to achieve better budgeting and strategic measures.

Changing CRM Systems Painlessly and Successfully

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Change CRM Systems

A big shift is coming to the Senior Living industry.

A major CRM system many providers have been using for what seems like forever is being phased out. Over the next 12 months, all users on that system need to choose something new. Whether that’s the upgraded version now available from its creators or another CRM, everyone is going to have to make a choice.

With that choice comes change. And change, well…

Change is Uncomfortable

Let’s face it, change is uncomfortable for everyone. We like what we’re used to. Even when we know there is a better way of doing things, some of us get stuck in old habits because it’s comfortable.

We know it, it’s secure, and we can hobble along and do our job even if it’s not the best way of doing something. It’s like sticking to one way to get to your favorite restaurant when there are so many ways to get there. You’re not changing, even if it’s faster or easier on you.

We’re like our prospects. We’re not ready. Despite challenges and obstacles to our goals, we just don’t want to face the fact we have to do something about our current situation.

Change Can Be Good!

Once we embark on the journey of changing our CRM system, we grow into acceptance that there’s a better way out there. At some point, we will even see that there’s so much more out there for us than we thought.

There are a lot of options today in senior living CRM software, and it can be difficult to know where to start. We’re here to help you out. First…

Make a List

Determine what you want to get out of your new system.

  • Is it more robust reporting?
  • What about having a place to manage all your referral networks?
  • Is your organization data-driven?
  • Do you have a defined sales process you want your team to follow?
  • Or do you want someone to help you define a process based on your culture and way of doing business?
  • Do you want to manage marketing efforts in the CRM?
  • Do you need integrations with other software?

All the above are things you need to consider and define before you start the search. If you do, it will help you convey to the CRM providers out there what you want from a system and it will be easier to see whether they’ll be the right one for your team.

Enlist Help

You are not alone.

There are many marketing agencies, consultants, and sales trainers out there who are experts in assisting senior living clients with vetting CRM systems. Use their expertise if you feel overwhelmed with the thought of going through this process. They provide an objective guide to your goals and often can help cut through the fluff.

Don’t buy a system just because it’s pretty or another community uses it. Get the one that will do the work you need it to as you’ve defined in the checklist of must have functionality required to guide your team and organization to success.

Be Involved

Before you make a final decision, it’s vital to get feedback from your team. The end users. The people who will be sitting in front of their computers day after day entering information into the CRM.

Let them have a voice. Allow them to sit in on the demonstrations.

If your team is just too large to allow everyone’s involvement, choose at least one person that’s CRM savvy and one who isn’t. If you intend to have multiple service lines using the CRM, have representation from each segment. You’ll get the chance to have different perspectives on the pros and cons of the systems in consideration.

Once you’ve selected the CRM that’s right for you, be involved as possible in the implementation process and make sure you have at least one or two of your team members involved as well. Leaders think more globally and are great at the broad strokes. It’s the Sales Counselors and Move Coordinators who see the small details they need to perform effectively.

Train, Train, Train

Very few CRM systems today can be used effectively without training.

Most people can’t even use Microsoft Office tools without some training, and those of us who have had minimal training can only use a fraction of the functionality in Word or Excel. Your CRM is the same. Your team deserves the value of being trained on the system by the experts, so your organization has the best chance for full user adoption.

Support and reinforcement of learning also needs to come from the top down. Without it, users can probably get by with the basics, but nobody will use the system to its full capacity, leaving a lot of functionality in the dust.

You’re paying for this system. Don’t you want to use it to its fullest capability?

Change Takes Time

Understand that even with training, the change and adoption of the new system will take time. There is a learning curve for everyone involved, regardless of their level of “tech savviness.”

There will be pushback from users. Some will jump right in and others will proceed with caution.

I recommend making the switch while you can overlap old and new systems for a couple months. Immersion learning can be scary for anyone. It’s nice to be able to have the old system in place for a short period, even if it’s just to go back and reference information if you feel it is necessary.

Be Supported

Make sure you buy the CRM that comes with the support you need. The CRM vendors are experts in what they do. They should provide their customers with support whenever it is needed.

They should be flexible and understanding throughout the implementation and training process. Support should continue after you begin using the system and for as long as your contract term lasts, preferably with a live person.

Continuum CRM is here and ready to support, guide, and assist you in the process of selecting a new CRM, even if you ultimately don’t choose ours. Check out our website www.continuumcrm.com and request a free demo today.


Kristin Hambleton

Kristin’s passion is in helping others succeed in the senior living industry. Her objective is to assist teams in becoming better sales people through consultative selling, and helping managers be more strategic in their roles through data mining and analysis. With her role at Continuum CRM, Kristin is able to focus on both of these efforts.