We identify six steps in an implementation:

  1. Requirements definition
  2. Configuration
  3. Testing
  4. Data migration
  5. Training
  6. Adoption


Requirements Definition

We feel that the requirements definition is by far the most important part of the effort.  Our point of view holds it appropriate to view CRM projects as process automation exercises, not technology projects.  Therefore, defining processes thoroughly and aligning the best-fit approaches to automating them in the CRM such that the CRM then fits like a well-tailored suit is a step whose importance we cannot over-emphasize.



The configuration is the actual architecting and development of the platform to meet requirements.  This requires competence and experience in execution.



Testing is the user acceptance process to ensure that the system meets requirements – and that in practice the requirements were actually defined correctly.

Data Migration

A solid CRM is a Ferrari.  But a Ferrari is no fun to drive if the gas tank is empty.  Data is fuel for a CRM. Therefore, well-groomed Account, Contact, Opportunity, and other data should be preloaded to the system.


Training of users is critical to their embrace and effective use of the system, particularly if they’ve never used a CRM before.  We recommend training be done simultaneous to system launch – CRMs are best learned by doing, so users should be expected to use the system live immediately following the training.


Successful CRM implementation projects never stop at system launch.  NASA doesn’t step back and dust their hands at the moment the fire-breathing rocket leaves the pad; they remain closely engaged to ensure the mission succeeds.  And you’d best do so, as well. Expect to really put your shoulder to the wheel at launch.


Recall the 4 C’s of Adoption– Champions, Cheerleaders, Confirmation, and Coaching.  Definition of those appropriate roles, wins, KPIs, and programs should be an embedded part of the project plan – and kick into gear as soon as you launch.