If you are contemplating a new or upgraded
Put people and processes before technology
Don’t get us wrong—technology matters. Choosing the right software for your company is, of course, important. But don’t forget about the people who will be using the software day after day for years to come. And remember why you wanted the technology in the first place. Consider the processes that have worked for you and those you hope to improve. The best projects account for the fine balance between people, processes, and technology. So, take the time upfront to do your homework. Investigate the software, yes, but also make sure your staff and processes are in alignment.
Secure executive buy-in
Even with the best technology, implementation and adoption will be an uphill battle without executive buy-in. That doesn’t mean top management needs to be hands-on for the project. What it means is that executives are on board with the venture and committed to its success. There should be someone with authority responsible for strategic decisions and oversight of the implementation team. Often a CEO or Sales VP will be more effective in promoting the project to your teams than the CIO or IT Manager.
Define CRM Success
Define, document, and communicate the value proposition for each pain point you wish to address; then ensure the software you choose and the implementation specifics will meet your requirements.
- Do you have clear in mind the reasons for new CRM technology?
- What do you hope to gain from it?
- How will it affect your processes and the teams that will use it?
Remember, there are two levels of success: organizational and individual. Be sure everyone in the organization understands how the implementation will benefit them in their job roles as well as its benefit to the company. Reducing burdensome administrative tasks might be very important for an individual, while having visibility into the sales pipeline is important for the organization.
Change can be disruptive, and you don’t want to overwhelm those employees who will be most affected by the new system. Outline project milestones that will lay the groundwork and allow for some immediate wins. This will help ensure user adoption and build momentum behind the CRM initiative. As your team becomes familiar with using the system, they will provide the educated feedback necessary to take on further phases of implementation. Foster a culture of continuous improvement.
Maintain implementation momentum
A team or individual power user familiar with the system will continue the momentum of your CRM project even after implementation. They will act as the “go-to” person(s) when users have questions or problems. They will serve as data stewards, trainers, and general overseers of the system to ensure total adoption and continued alignment with your business processes. Companies with strong internal CRM stewards will have the most successful implementations and realize the highest investment return.
By Ryan Plourde, Crowe LLP,