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Tips from the CRM projects field in making CRM successful
Getting CRM projects right is a notoriously difficult art. Here at CRMKnowledge we've seen a lot of CRM projects - big, small, off the shelf and highly customised. We've learned hard lessons about what it takes to get CRM right and we've distilled these down into the following set of principles.
CRM projects are notoriously difficult to get right. However, there are some learnings that we can bring to your CRM project to help your investment go well. Here's CRMKnowledge we have 15 years of helping customers develop CRM business strategies and technology solutions - we've seen the good and the bad and have a passion for helping our clients do the right thing. The following tips are mostly not about technology – they are about guiding principles and management.
Tip 1. Understand your customer model and journey
One of the issues we have seen on a fairly regular basis is that the project focuses on the customer transaction- whether that be sales, service or marketing processes. It's not that those things aren't important – they absolutely are, however, they are the next level of detail following the core customer model and that should be the foundation of your project to get right. And, no, it isn't as simple as contacts and accounts. One of our key workshops we run is digging down into the detail to help your understand the R bit of CRM (the relationship). EstablishIng a consistent approach to managing your relationships with prospects and customers is an excellent foundation to your CRM solution.
Tip 2. Get the basics in early
It's not often appreciated the gulf in approach from going from spreadsheets and mailboxes to a structured CRM system that profiles customers and your interactions with them. One model we recommend is to get a pilot group up and running with the basic vanilla out of the box configuration. This achieves a couple of things - you'll start to understand how CRM impacts your system and you'll have a reference group to work with as you plan further development.
Tip 3. Focus on Change
As stated above, the level of change that even basic CRM should not be underestimated. For example, asking users to track email conversations with clients or prospect will lead to challenges about data being stored, conversational style and indeed principles about what to store or not. CRM should be thought of as a collaborative tool that is stronger the more it is used. We can help you with this sometimes overlooked area in terms of communications, use cases and best practice training.
Tip 4. Identify and measure
Like any technology project, CRM is a tool that can bring benefits and reduce problems. It is essential that your organisation understands where CRM is going to have an impact and be able to show that the investment is working. That can often be difficult with a new piece of technology – what can be measured and how? We have the experience and the knowledge to help you identify measurable objectives in CRM and the tools that will help you monitor your organisations progress towards achieving them.
Tip 5. Train often and early
You can’t start too early raining your users. For example, we often train subject matter experts on out of the box CRM technology before asking them to input to requirements gathering. The reason is that they are able to identify where existing technology can be used but perhaps we a change to the business process rather than building a complex solution that is adapting the tool to an inefficient process. Leaving training to go live day is a huge risk and misses opportunities to gain traction with the user community throughout the project.
Tip 6. Stay close to the core technology
CRM technology often allows use to customise and bespoke the tool set. While there are often compelling reasons to do so, in this age of cloud technology and frequent updates it is very risky to build custom solutions. The reason for that is that the vendors are continually bringing in new additions that your solution may not be able to integrate with as your path has taken you down a different route. Whenever customers ask us to build custom solutions we look at – is it already in the system but in a slightly different configuration, is the vendor already planning to bring this in (check the roadmap) or has an independent software vendor already built a solution that you can use in the meantime until the vendor solution is ready. Custom solutions are expensive in terms of design and build but also risky by taking you away from the development path of the vendor. We understand the market and we can help you make the right decision for the success of your project. Our objective is not to fill consulting days for programming teams.
Tip 7 Focus on quality data
A common theme in CRM projects is new shiny technology with the same old poor data. Investment in getting your data accurate, distinct and relevant is as important, if not more, than building smart technology processes. We can help you identify good sources of data internally and externally that will encourage usage and offer the ability to benefit from future sources of data that depend on accuracy of company names, emails and unique identifiers.
Don't be tempted to solve all your problems in one hit. CRM projects should be considered as long term investments that start slowly, gain traction and become user led in terms of future development. Our working model with clients is always looking to the longer term and as such we offer support programmes that will keep you on track and help when he going gets tough.
Feel free to contact us if any of these issues strike a bell. If we can help we'll tell you how if we can't then we'll tell you that too and happy to guide you towards other organisations who might better suited to you.