Everyone knows that CRM software is crucial to all businesses large and small. Some companies have had multiple systems and iterations, and these transitions can create frustration and anxiety in organizations. There is a learning curve with any project of this kind, but the end results should improve productivity and competitiveness. In our work over the last few years, we have noticed some key actions that management can take to better ensure that a new CRM project is successful. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but a few quick tips that we have picked up and share with our clients.
1. Make sure Management is Committed and Engaged. Many, if not most, employees do not like software changes forced upon them. And so therefore it’s the responsibility of management to set goals and expectations, explain the benefits of the changes, and provide a timeline for transition. This doesn’t mean a one-time memo. Management must start an open and continuous dialogue with all those affected to assess the current state and determine what needs improvement. This type of dialogue will increase adoption rates and ease anxiety over the course of the project.
2. Organize Initial Meetings and Focus Groups with End Users. After the need for change and the benefits have been explained, it’s critical to get input from those directly affected by the change. These meeting can take many forms, but they should be planned in advance and goals for the meeting established. Initial meetings may be “free flowing” brainstorming sessions, while later meetings should cover specific items. By giving end users a voice and earnestly implementing their suggestions, management will build trust and confidence.
3. Don’t Stop Discussions after Implementation. Build a Culture of Continuous Improvement. The system will not be perfect right when it goes live. Once people start using the system, they will inevitably find ways to improve it. New ideas will come forward that were never considered during the planning phases. Users should feel comfortable sharing their recommendations, and companies should consider holding regularly scheduled continuous improvement meetings for some time after implementation. And as stated earlier, if suggestions are indeed explored and implemented, this will build more trust and ownership in the project.
By Glenn Kinstler, 2B Solutions –