crm implementation questions

20 Questions IT Leaders Will Ask About CRM Software Implementation

Customer relationship management (CRM) adoption has major advantages for distributors, including maximizing the impact of sales and marketing teams, acting on key insights, and facilitating better interactions with current and potential customers. Distinct from your ERP, a CRM is all about bolstering your relationships so you can sell more and drive revenue.

A successful CRM implementation process involves input from several key stakeholders within your organization, from company leadership to sales managers and, especially, your IT department. Adopting any new digital solution will undoubtedly add new considerations to your tech-focused team’s plate. 

But adding a CRM to your tech stack isn’t solely about trying out something new for the sake of it. It involves a strategic shift in processes and culture within an organization to facilitate collaboration and empower your teams to access the information they need — without burdening IT.

Securing buy-in from your IT department is crucial for successful CRM implementation for several reasons:

Technical Expertise

IT leaders possess technical knowledge that can help with evaluating, selecting, and implementing the right customer relationship management system. Their insights ensure the chosen platform aligns with the organization’s ERP (and the data it contains), security standards, and scalability requirements.

Resource Allocation

CRM implementation demands resources—financial, human, and technological. An IT leader’s support ensures the availability of necessary resources and helps prioritize customer relationship management within the IT roadmap.

Data Security and Integration

By nature, CRM solutions house sensitive customer data. IT leaders oversee data security protocols and ensure your CRM integrates properly with other systems, like your ERP or eCommerce platform, optimizing data flow and mitigating potential complexities. 

Alignment with Existing Infrastructure

An IT leader’s perspective helps distributors navigate how CRM and BI fit into their existing tech stack and infrastructure — and how that investment is going to impact their tech spend in other areas. 

By better understanding what your IT team needs to know as you research CRM solution vendors, you’ll be better positioned to separate the leading contenders from those who won’t make the cut. 


Here are 20 questions your IT department will likely ask and how a good vendor should answer them. 

CRM Implementation Questions

  1. What integrations will you need to connect to your CRM?
    Before investing in a new solution, ensure it integrates well with your existing technology. Be prepared to discuss your current systems and ask the software provider how their CRM solution integrates with your ERP and eCommerce platforms, for example. Remember, the more your CRM integrates with your business and the platforms your company uses, the more it will help with user adoption.
  2. What is the implementation timeline?
    The right CRM provider is ideally well-versed in the unique needs of distribution. Your vendor should work with you to define success, goals, and timelines for your project and communicate their implementation plan accordingly.
  3. What team members will you need to work with on our side?
    Ideally, your CRM software vendor will have their own main point of contact to avoid too many cooks in the kitchen during initial implementation and training. While IT may be overseeing the technical side of things, it’s good to know which roles or departments should be involved in the early stages of your CRM implementation plan.
  4. What data do we need to provide ahead of time?
    Since ERP integration is likely top of mind, your tech team will want a clear picture of specific data sets that will be incorporated into your CRM. Internal data and customer information may just be scratching the surface.
  5. What templates and workflows are available immediately?
    Knowing the specifics of pre-built templates, dashboards, and other tools will help organizations save time and improve efficiency. Distribution-specific workflows and customer scorecards powered by BI tools that work with your CRM are ideal.
  6. What will the initial kickoff look like?
    IT might not necessarily be involved in kickoff meetings once the paperwork is signed for your CRM, but they’ll want to know details upfront about the first days of this new partnership before implementation. Ask about which technical requirements must be verified and establish a playbook that keeps everyone accountable and informed.
  7. When will data be imported?
    Tech leaders will be involved in the execution phase of implementing your CRM, so make sure you have a clear understanding of when data imports will occur. With White Cup, ERP connection, CRM setup, BI setup, and data imports typically occur within the first four weeks.
  8. What specific IT requirements must be met upfront?
    Know which web browsers, operating systems, server access, and specs are required to mitigate any potential delays and ensure IT knows exactly what they need to provide as early as possible.
  9. When does contact with IT need to be made?
    Involving IT early is ideal, but from a practical standpoint, your CRM provider should give you a clear timeline and deadlines for establishing IT connections. It’s very likely installation cannot begin until contact with IT has been made.
  10.  Who needs to be involved in end-user training?
    Often, the burden of learning and teaching new software to the rest of the organization falls on IT’s plate. Asking upfront about your CRM provider’s end-user training and how hands-on they will be in getting everyone up to speed will keep the partnership transparent and ease some of IT’s potential concerns about their involvement.
  11. Are customizations available if we need more tools and features?
    Ask if your CRM software provider offers self-serve customizations or if additional project timelines and SOWs need to be established. Ideally, you should ask if there is a detailed list of all standard features that are involved in the initial CRM implementation, as well as any advanced features that can be developed by your implementation team, or if IT needs to jump in to customize based on your organization’s needs.
  12.  How do we manage CRM user permissions and access?
    During the implementation phase, your CRM software provider should conduct thorough configuration, training, and testing so admins and users are set up and ready to go. Since some of the key benefits of CRM adoption are breaking down silos and easing the burden on IT, it’s good to know what levels all CRM users have access to and how to adjust relevant settings as needed.
  13.  Does your organization scan and test for vulnerabilities in your service or application?
    Before agreeing to work with any software company, your IT department will want to know more about their processes for identifying security vulnerabilities. How often do they perform server upkeep? How are their firewalls configured? Is the network segmented into network security groups for further isolation and security?
  14.  How often do you perform software updates, and how do these impact availability?
    Updates and new features are not only vital for modernizing software and creating seamless and intuitive user experiences, but they’re also essential for mitigating security risks. Anything from bug fixes to new integrations will be on your IT department’s mind, and it’s good to know how frequently your CRM software provider rolls out updates and when.
  15.  How often do you perform scheduled maintenance?
    Scheduled maintenance is sometimes necessary, but it should not cause an inconvenience to users. Software downtime can lead to missed sales opportunities, unproductive workdays, and a loss of revenue. IT will want to know how frequently CRM solutions are maintained and how much downtime can be expected as far in advance as possible.
  16.  What happens to our data if we discontinue this service?
    Your customer relationship management software provider should make it easy for you to transfer your data even if you’re moving to a new solution. Having a solid offboarding procedure that makes the data migration transition smooth is ideal. The less disruption to your day-to-day operations, the better.
  17.  Do you offer 2FA or other identity and access security methods?
    Data and security… notice a theme? These are two essential concerns that fall on IT’s plate. Protecting all information in your CRM—as well as user passwords, email addresses, and other details—can be achieved in several ways. Software that includes two-factor authentication (2FA) greatly increases the security of every user’s login.
  18.  What level of support do you offer, and what is included in our subscription price?
    To ensure success in deploying and optimizing a CRM solution, your provider should offer post-launch support to all CRM users via a dedicated account manager. Better support after initial setup will improve adoption rates and, ideally, free up IT’s time. While you’re in talks with CRM providers, they should be upfront with their pricing and all features that are included in the cost.
  19.  How easy is it for our sales, marketing, and operations teams to use?
    A CRM system is all about creating a single source of truth for your entire company to reference, so it should be easy and intuitive for your entire company to use. IT will want to know if this solution will be able to access the information they need without submitting tickets for various reports. The right solution will enable employees at all levels and across departments to leverage the data and analytics they need to drive performance and innovation.
  20.  What ongoing training or resources are available to our team?
    A robust library of training materials, support portals, and other customer resources benefits everyone in your organization. The ideal solution will include a dedicated team that partners with you to ensure you’re getting the most out of your CRM during and after the implementation process.

Ease IT Concerns and Implement CRM Software Faster

Gaining approval from your IT department might seem like a tall final hurdle to overcome, but involving all key stakeholders is essential for a successful CRM implementation plan. By taking the time to understand their concerns and proactively addressing them, you’ll be well on your way to a faster and improved CRM implementation process.

It may feel intimidating, but our CRM implementation team is here to help you through it. If you’re ready to bring your IT department into the conversation, contact us today.

Written By

beth toland

Beth Toland

Director of Professional Services, White Cup

Beth Toland joined White Cup in 2022 as the Director of Professional Services. As a seasoned professional with more than 15 years of experience in professional services, Beth has advanced expertise in launching services, developing teams, and leading process improvement initiatives. Beth lives in Colorado with her family and loves to escape to the mountains.

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