CRM Implementation

Implementing a CRM System can be a complex project, not necessarily because of the technical aspects of the solution, but more so because of the challenges associated with leveraging the technology and integrating that with the people who will use the system each day. All CRM implementations inevitably will need to deal with issues pertaining to automating daily tasks, obtaining user buy-in, avoiding automating bad processes, and embedding CRM as a philosophy into the organization.

Below is a list of our “Top 6” tips to help you navigate your CRM Implementation, and improve your chances of success. These tips have been generated over 10 years, as the result of completing almost 300 successful CRM deployments.

  1. Designate an internal champion. Regardless of how good your CRM Implementation consultant is, you still need to have an internal CRM Champion – someone who has sufficient “power” within the organization to get things done, to set direction, and the authority to make things happen.
  2. Before you start, determine what success is. Don’t be one of the organizations that goes into your CRM implementation not knowing what you want out of it, and how you will measure success. Set objective goals and targets, and check on your progress towards meeting them on a regular basis.
  3. Don’t rush things. Regardless of what anyone says, a CRM Implementation cannot be rushed. Don’t buy into marketing and promotions that suggest you can be up and running in “hours”. Can you have software turned on within hours? Sure you can, but that is about 1% of a CRM implementation. What value are you going to get out of such an implementation? Absolutely none. Successful CRM implementations take time, require planning, require adjustment, and cannot be rushed. Expect 3-6 months, elapsed, to have everything in place, and operating at peak efficiency.
  4. Don’t do it yourself. There are certain jobs at home, or in the office that make sense to “do yourself”. Home Depot and Staples are built on this premise. Neither of them sell CRM, and for good reason. More than 80% of CRM implementations attempted “in house” ultimately fail. Why? CRM Implementation is a specialty. Its very different than, say, a network restructure, or an office suite deployment. A CRM Implementation is 20% technology, and 80% other things. Is your “IT Guy” really qualified to re-design your business processes? Is your marketing person really fit to rework your order processing group? Have any of them ever done such a project before? Are they all familiar with best practices that cover all of these subjects? Make use of a skilled, experienced CRM implementation specialist, and you are far more likely to have a smooth, successful implementation that will begin returning value to you quickly.
  5. Plan for tomorrow, not today. Its very easy to look at your current problems, and focus only on them. Certainly your CRM implementation should help you solve todays issues, however, you need to keep your eye on what your challenges will be 1, 2, 5, 10 years from now and ensure your system will grow, flex, and expand to meet those needs. Pick the right platform, implement it properly, and leave room for growth. After all, you do hope to grow your business, right? Just like when you buy new shoes for your 13 year old… leave some “toe room”.
  6. Pay attention to “TCO” – total cost of ownership. Unlike most other system implementations, a CRM system should have a negative cost of ownership, meaning that over the life of the system, it should save you much more than the investment required to implement it. A quality CRM implementation should include a plan that will provide you with total return on investment within 2 years, and possibly much less. Compare this with other IT projects – which generally have return on investment periods of 5-7 years.

If you have any questions please contact us at DSD Business Systems

858-550-5900

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