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Expectation-setting and expectation management is the primary driver for CRM success. So here are 10 questions you should be asking to help manage expectations of CRM adoption at your company:

  1. What does the acronym mean to you? CRM means something different to IT than sales, marketing, and support. Is it a tool, or is it a strategy? It is both, by the way. What do people expect CRM to do for their organization, and how will it help meet business objectives for customer acquisition, retention, enrichment, and advocacy?
  2. How will you reach the “C” in CRM? CRM starts with identifying the customers that align with your value proposition. How do you expect to do that?
  3. How will you keep Relationships at the center? Let’s be honest, sales skills only get you so far. Customers stay, buy more, and recommend you only when their relationship expectations are met. Customer experience leads to loyalty, but loyalty depends on customer relationships with your company. Is CRM managing relationship expectations at your company?
  4. What are the expectations for “management” in CRM? What exactly are people expecting CRM to manage? What is it supposed to “skillfully handle or direct” – since that is what “managing” means?
  5. What are the expectations for accomplishing the C, R, and M together? An effort like CRM, designed to help people anticipate and meet customer needs, requires collaboration. What are your expectations for cooperation and involvement across organizations? How will you bring them together and ensure their voices are heard?
  6. How will you meet internal needs to get CRM right? Asking people to support CRM often unveils challenges you must remove before the CRM effort can proceed. These can be communication and knowledge challenges, but they are often human-centered.
  7. How do you expect technology to help? Does it surprise you that we are just getting to technology? Technology should be an enabler to customer acquisition, relationship development, and driving behavior. That could take implementing a CRM platform or designing a simple tool contextualizing what someone needs to accomplish. The expectations we discussed so far will determine that.
  8. What are your expectations for delivering insights? Some people only expect to see a data point about a customer. Some want data to give them the capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of the customer.
  9. How much effort is this going to take? When you say “CRM,” some people think about year-long implementations and an army of consultants. In reality, people expect the effectiveness, ease, and enjoyment of how they do things outside of work to make their way to the office (and make life functional, accessible, and easy there too).
  10. What is the long-term goal of CRM? As you may imagine, seeing CRM as a project will cause you to lose sight of what it will accomplish 5 years from now. The lack of a long-term vision for making CRM a technology-enabled strategy for acquisition, retention, enrichment, and advocacy dooms it from the start. So what are the expectations for CRM in the future? Aligning people and technology gives your company the best opportunity for future innovation, but you must first chart a realistic roadmap.

At congruentX we believe that starting with expectation-setting and a human-centered approach to CRM design will help you get CRM right. If you are struggling with CRM technology adoption or not getting ROI from your CRM investment, let us help you. It only takes a 20-minute call to learn more. We will send you a copy of Speaking Frankly About Customer Relationship Management as a thank you.

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