Top 10 do’s and dont’s for CRM

Many of the problems that can rip a CRM project apart have little to do with CRM technology.This is the best time for organizations to evaluate their customer relationship management (CRM) strategy: Plenty of vendors are offering reliable, highly functional products that perform.

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However, it’s likely—with more than half of CRM implementations failing to meet management expectations—that many people in your organization will be skeptical about CRM.To help make your CRM initiatives a success, we have compiled a top 10 list of our most prominent observations on CRM. Use them to find the best solution for your organization and shield yourself from common mistakes.

1. Beware of the “Big X”
With many major consulting firms changing their roles from service providers to product resellers and implementers of enterprise applications, you can engage Big X firms to perform a requirements analysis and then buy their recommendation and their implementation services
2.Complete a needs analysis
Perform a needs analysis but keep it simple. Focus on a list of five to 10 major mission-critical business issues. Under these issues, identify the business processes or rules that you believe make your enterprise unique. Make this as diagrammatic as possible and don’t proceed to the next step until your key user and user managers have consensus on this process list. Hire a consulting firm if you’re stuck or need validation.
3. Avoid analysis paralysis—don’t publish an RFP
Don’t build an exhaustive list of mundane requirements and do not publish these in a lengthy request for proposal (RFP). Any viable CRM product today will meet most needs right out of the box.
4.Don’t offer a demo script
Do not give your vendors a “demo script.” A key part of your evaluation is how well vendors demonstrate their capacity to understand and answer your critical business issues. A demo gives this away. Let your top vendors script their own solution and rate this as part of your evaluation.
5.Beware of product bias
It’s likely that someone on your evaluation team has experience with different CRM products. Get this information on the table but weigh these experiences against current product information and other pertinent data points
6.What will it cost if you don’t have a CRM strategy?
There are many ways to measure this. For instance, studies by itROI, a CRM consultancy, show that not having a CRM strategy:

  • May deduct five percent or more from your revenue.
  • May cost you 20 percent of your customer base.
  • May cost you 15 percent of your marketing and sales administration overhead.

You do the math, chances are your CRM budget just went up.
7.Software is less than 50 percent of your solution
If you’ve made software selections before, you know that who implements it is equal to, if not more important, than whatis implemented. You should know that vendors, in general, are not the best at implementations. They definitely know what they are doing, they just don’t know when.
8.This is not an IT decision
Your managers and end-users must own and drive CRM. Do not default to your IT staff. Instead, engage your IT staff to validate and guide CRM.Remember, the needs of managers and users in other departments should weigh in heavily in the evaluation process. Keep those using the CRM solutions in the forefront.
9.Who are you?
If you feel the project slipping away from you, take a step back and reevaluate where you are with CRM and why your organization needs it in the first place. You may find you need new people and skills, or you may find now is not the time to tackle CRM.
10.Watch for implementation atrophy
Bring CRM to departments where it will have the greatest effect first and always take full ownership of the process—don’t relax while a partner completes the work and then complain about the results

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17 Responses

  1. John Moore says:

    Outstanding post. Too many people think that a CRM system is going to solve all of their problems. It will not do so if you are not prepared and understand what you want from the system and have the processes in place for the CRM system to support.

    However, if used properly it can make the difference between business success and business failure. If you have a chance, check out my recent blog post on the importance of CRM in hitting your sales targets:

    http://johnfmoore.wordpress.com/2009/04/11/sales-goals-and-your-crm-system/

    John

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