Although CRM software can deliver amazing benefits, many companies fail to realize that technology is just one component of a successful CRM initiative. At Satuit Technologies we know that successful companies approach client relationship management as a strategic process in which people, best practices, and technology are all organized to deliver superior value to their clients. Satuit Technologies has also found that CRM success depends significantly on the degree to which organizations have a CRM strategy and work with a solution provider’s recommended industry best practices. If your company is involved in a CRM rollout or expects to be soon, the following checklist will help you realize the greatest return on your CRM investment.
Follow these 10 steps to ensure the success of your CRM project:
- Establish measurable business goals for CRM. It is critically important to define the specific business benefits you expect your CRM project to deliver. This may sound obvious, but many initiatives fail because this “obvious” success factor is not defined.
- Consider a Vertical Market Solution. To ensure that your software provider can actually deliver a CRM project on time and on budget, look for firms that have experience with your industry and understand its special needs and best practices.
- Minimize customization by leveraging out-of-the-box functionality. Customization is often the most costly, time consuming, and complex component of a CRM implementation. Choosing a CRM application that meets your requirements out-of-the-box will dramatically reduce the need for customization and reduce the total cost of ownership.
Get executive support up front. Because CRM projects are strategic initiatives, top management must actively support them. Without executive endorsement, a CRM initiative can be viewed as a gimmick that the staff is not required to use.
Align your business and your IT operations. While CRM is driven by technology, it’s not about technology. The point of CRM is to improve your client-facing business processes. Technology is only the means to achieving that end.
Assign a product champion in the organization to act as the point of contact for both the vendor and the users. Make sure they have the standing in the firm to get other users to adopt the system. Have them choose and train a back-up.
Train, Train, Train. Get your users up to speed quickly, and make sure they are comfortable with your solution. Training should not merely focus on demonstrating how to use the software’s features and functionality. Instead, training should teach users how to effectively execute the best practices supported by the CRM system.
- Use a phased rollout schedule. Most successful CRM projects follow a phased deployment schedule: each phase is focused on a specific CRM objective and designed to produce a “quick win”. After the initial phase is completed you can begin to consider how you would like the CRM system to evolve.
Measure, monitor, and track. Once a CRM system goes live, the organization must measure, monitor, and track the system’s effectiveness with an eye towards continuously improving results. Make certain you have the reports you need to determine if you are succeeding.
Remember that success is never final. As you hire new staffers, they need to be educated about the CRM in the same detail as the first users. From time to time offer classes and distribute tips for using the system effectively.