3 Tips for a Successful CRM Implementation

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While CRM products like Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 allow organizations to quickly procure and begin using CRM, no product addresses the ultimate success of using a CRM application.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 has a host of functional and user interface improvements.  The application can be quickly tailored to meet any organizations relationship management needs.  However, if an organization does not have a clear understanding of the goals, the desired outcomes, and its evolution to  future business needs, it will be less than satisfied with its CRM implementation and investment.

Last week, I was talking to a leader of a sales organization in a large professional services firm.  He had just finished showing several sales tools which were a part of their new sales methodology.  The methodology was a great leap forward, and the tools quite impressive.   In particular, one tool really caught my eye.  It was a relationship mapping tool identifying key contacts, their responsibilities, relationship to the firm, board members, business and financial initiatives, past opportunities with the prospect, current service providers, bankers, attorneys, notes, sales team objectives, and a high level sales plan.  It was a great tool!

I asked the sales leader if they were able to get this out of their CRM application.  The answer was no, they had to create each one from scratch!  Even though every element on that document CAN, and should, be stored in their CRM application, there was no ability to output this information into the selling tool.

How often do you think this organization really took the time to fill out this tool?  Correct – rarely.

This is just one of many examples of how I see organizations UNDERUSE Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  To be successful using CRM application, there are 3 things an organization can do:

  1. Begin by developing a Vision and Scope for CRM in the organization.  Assess your need for a CRM application.  Understand your hopes for business outcomes, key users, data to be managed, and integration with other applications.  What is the criteria for CRM success in your organization?
  2. Using your Vision and Scope as a guide, gather your detailed CRM requirements.  Document your key business processes and how they will use the tool.  Focus on reducing data entry and providing key information at the right time to the right users.  What integrations need to be incorporated?  What documents produced?  How well does the design map to your methodology?
  3. Establish a framework for continuing to evolve the application.  Your selling methodologies and organizations will change.  New products and services will be introduced.  You are going to change how you engage and service your customer over time.  Make sure you put in place a process to review these changes and determine the impact on your CRM investment.  Look for ways technology can help you implement business changes.  Whether this is an advisory team or formal project office, have an established process in place to continue to review and refine how you use CRM.

Products like Microsoft Dynamics CRM are great tools to use as they increase your ability to be flexible and tailor application usage to changing business requirements.  However, without a good process in place like an established implementation methodology, you will ultimately be less than thrilled with your CRM investment.

By:  Michael Nafziger, RSM - Minnesota Dynamics AX, GP, SL, CRM Partner

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