8 Points of Light: Making your CRM succeed for you

CRM implementations (& major projects) succeed based on a set of common themes.
What are things you can do to make them really successful:

1. Treat it as a process project, not a technology project:  CRMs are sales and marketing automation systems.  They automate your processes.  Before you start, have  you identified what processes you want to automate?  Do you have those processes defined? Do you have organizational consensus that they are your processes?

2. Start from KPIs:  If you know your processes, you should also know how to measure them.  Know what metrics define success in your business, how you want to measure them, and where the bar should be set for each.  Defining what you want to measure up front establishes what data needs to be collected and how – so you can measure it.

3. Do not reinvent the wheel:  Demand best practices approaches from your implementation team.  If you feel they’re figuring this out as they go, asking “what do you want it to do?” rather than presenting you with “here’s the most effective way to do this” or “here’s what other clients like you have used successfully before” … then you probably don’t have the right implementation team.

4. Don’t boil the ocean:  Build a road map for increasing functionality; viewing your CRM adoption from a crawl-walk-run perspective is very appropriate.  Start simple (and fast), but know where you intend to end up down the road when you reach the ultimate level of intended sophistication and functionality.

5. Seek Collaboration Opportunities:  CRMs deliver the most value when they enable disparate functional teams to work better and more efficiently together.  Define clean handoffs & data sharing benefits between marketing, sales, service, and finance.

6. Anticipate an uphill battle:  A CRM simply embraced right out of the gates by all users … would likely be the first time we’ve ever seen that happen.  Build change management principles into your launch process to effect transformation.

7. Consider a pilot:  You’re not going to get it right when you launch, no matter how much effort you put in.  Starting small shakes out bugs, establishes internal testimonials, & creates ready-reference coaches in the organization.  If your timeline will support, this tuneup approach mitigates adoption risk.

8. Ready, fire, aim: CRMs are really flexible; making changes is not a heavy lift.  Get it out there; don’t seek perfection – expect to optimize over time.