How to Do the Smallest CRM Project With The Maximum Benefit

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One of the biggest challenges for many small businesses is that they know what they want from a CRM system, but they don't know how to get there. So they end up doing too much.

In my experience, companies usually know they want to:

  • Increase customer retention
  • Improve sales per sales rep
  • Improve sales per customer.

Those are the "big three" when it comes to CRM goals, with some variations on the theme.

I firmly believe in a "crawl, walk, run" philosophy for all CRM projects to accomplish this. Start small, and then add more. To be honest, this is just a good principle for most areas of life, but especially when new technology is involved.

At Azamba, we have a proven structured methodology, like a roadmap, that identifies each step to help you reach those goals. For each one of those steps, we know what the price will be. That is why we can be confident in offering fixed fee CRM implementations with a money-back guarantee.

 Is a Structured CRM Methodology Too Rigid?

Sometimes companies will say, "Peter, that's too basic for me. I need to do this and this for sure." I admit I will push back a little bit. I've done this so many times. My instinct is always to keep it simple, simple, simple.

However, if a customer tells me, "Peter, we absolutely need these things, " we will adjust our methodology. It is a loose framework. But again, it will be a fixed scope fixed fee. That way, we all know the expectations and the deliverables. This makes the project easier for everyone.

Start With The Basics

In the first phase, we start with the basics, the minimum viable CRM project.

The truth is, most customers are coming to us from Excel and Outlook to manage sales. They may say they want all the bells and whistles as soon as they go live. But they are coming from spreadsheets. So the basic level of CRM is already going to provide a great leap forward.

Once we have the basics in place, we move on to Phase two.

The benefit is twofold.

  • One, it keeps the initial scope and the initial investment tight. It shortens the return on investment time.
  • Second, you will have a much better understanding of how the basics of Microsoft Dynamics 365 work before you start asking for a bunch of changes.

I used to do all the customizations upfront, and what happened eight times out of ten? The customer would rip out or change many of the things they paid us to do. Because once they saw them, they realized they could do the same thing, in a slightly different way, in the core system.

As an advisor, I'm not here to sell anybody anything. I'm here to help companies reach their business goals through the use of CRM. It's hard for me to advise someone to start making customizations when they don't know how the basic product works.

Sadly most consulting firms are focused on "bigger is better." They want to get every last requirement out of a customer and then build this huge, massive system that is supposedly perfect.

No Such Thing as a Perfect CRM System

We don't believe in perfection. There's no such thing as a perfect CRM system because the business world changes so fast these days.

What you really want is a system that meets your needs today and is flexible for the future.

So what are your needs today? Usually, the first need is to replace Excel and Outlook to create a foundation for the future, put all the data in one place, and lay a framework for control and automation. Then we add on to that foundation.

Recently I had a call with a company that was referred to me by one of our ERP Partners to do the CRM implementation. She said:

"I talked to several CRM partners that were referred to me. I was sold the first time I talked to you because all you cared about was what I was going to get out of this. You weren't telling me how you were going to do things. You weren't saying that it might be 40 hours or it might be 100 hours. You asked me what I wanted to get out of it, and you gave me the fixed fee plan options. I don't know what I want. I'm not a CRM expert. You knew what I wanted better than I did. That's what I pay experts for. And you told me how you are going to make me successful. You gave me a lot of confidence that you knew what you're doing and that I could trust that you're going to take good care of me and my team."

In this case, it wasn't just that we gave her a fixed fee. It was the fact that we were laying out a plan for as step one, step two, and step three. I really appreciate what she said because that is exactly what we're aiming for with our model.

 Is a Fixed Fee CRM Implementation More Expensive?

Some people say that fixed fee projects are more expensive because we must be padding the quote for the unexpected. Another common objection I've heard is that a fixed fee quote is too limited; you will just get the basics. Then to get what you want, you are hit with lots of "out of scope" extra expenses for things you thought were included.

Azamba Consulting Group has proven that this is simply not true. We've helped over 400 customers get up and running with CRM using a proven structure methodology with a fixed fee. We know our model works, and that's why we can offer the money-back guarantee.

Over the last ten years, out of those 400 customers, only five of those clients exercised their right to a refund. When you do the math, you see that is approximately 1% of our work, while the industry has seen a 40 to 50% failure rate on CRM implementations. We've proven time and time again that the customers will get the results.

I used to sell hours-based projects, and I just found it very unrewarding on both sides of the equation. If we are all focused on results and not on hours, we are all successful.

Our goal is to do the smallest possible CRM project that will give you the maximum benefit. Keep your scope tight, keep your budget tight and give you a fast return on investment. Isn't that what you want from a CRM project?

I invite you to learn more about the OnTrack CRM Success System for Microsoft Dynamics 365 then let's start a conversation.

By Peter Wolf, Azamba Consulting Group,

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