Author: Neel Pelser
In my last blog, I explained why companies face problems when they don’t do enough upfront research and planning before starting a CRM implementation. As you’ll recall, the most important way to ensure success is obtaining 100 percent buy-in from the C-Suite and beyond. You also have to consider an overall strategy and the well-orchestrated synthesis of people, processes, and technology.
To review: First, gain buy-in and provide time for stakeholders to give input on their needs. Then design an enterprise architecture and roadmap, prioritize master data management (MDM) and data quality (DQ), and define a system-of-record per data domain.
You should also:
Don’t get too complex or too simplistic with your processes and data entry. If you try to address all possible combinations of products, configurations, and geographies you can turn simple processes into daunting challenges. Likewise, if you dumb down the systems to the least common denominator you risk rendering the system useless. Find the right solution for each business case – even if you have to implement different sub-processes and solutions within the overall solution.
Don’t invest in ‘the one’ solution and expect to roll it out with no problems on a Monday morning. Use iterative cycles. Consider planning 1-3 month deployments of logical, sequential, and phased business solution during a 12-24 month period.
This will help your colleagues with subsequent projects. Don’t close out a CRM implementation without making sure you have detailed and updated documentation. Include everything from business requirements and architecture diagrams to data flows and training collateral.
Over time, every solution is susceptible to degradation. With CRM systems, there are many control and measuring elements that should be evaluated on an on-going basis to ensure data and process integrity are maintained within corporate standards. Examples include sales opportunity closing dates that have expired; customer reviews that have not occurred beyond the required review-cycle period; or closed orders that do not match actual invoices.
User training is extremely important for successful adoption of new or revised tools and processes. While scripted or video training materials are resourceful, they’re not the best way to confirm adoption and skill acquisition. Personalized, role-based, and often individual training provide better results. And make sure to train new hires with the same high standards. Meanwhile, continue adoption efforts. The CRM solution will only be as successful as the people using it daily, to report every interaction and transaction with the ones that matters the most – the customers.
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