So your business has decided the time is right to migrate to a new CRM system. Perhaps you need new functionality; perhaps you’ve simply outgrown your old processes or you are readying for ambitious business growth.
What should you consider at each stage of the CRM project to ensure it runs as smoothly as possible?
Research which CRM solution meets your company’s objectives and business plan
More often than not, you will need to prepare and present a business case in order to secure the investment in your CRM system.
Do your research. There are a plethora of whitepapers and websites which will help you understand CRM solutions and functionality on the market which you may not have considered, that will help your business either evolve or be revolutionised.
For instance, Microsoft’s white paper ‘Customer Relationship Management: The Winning Strategy in a Challenging Economy’ provides an overview of some of the strongest technology features of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform to support you in developing a successful sales, service and marketing strategy.
Scope your ambition – what does success look like? Set some parameters for measurements in your business plan (which you can reflect back to throughout your implementation) – these can be aligned to:
· Company growth (increasing your customer base, revenue increase, improving your win rate, maximising cross and up sell opportunities)
· Operational efficiencies (streamlining and automating, improvement of processes, cost control, systems integration)
· Customer satisfaction (better targeting, consistency of experience, visibility, recognition and adapting to customer needs, flexible go-to-market of new products and services)
Your project should then lead into “buy-in” throughout the business. If you haven’t already scoped your project needs and “pains” that need addressing with your CRM software with key stakeholders across management, sales, service, support and marketing functions; then you need to capture this. Ensure you acknowledge requests and feedback if and when these will be incorporated into the project plan, and if they can’t be, explain why – in order to provide transparency and engagement.
Objectively qualify the benefits (and validate the ROI) gained by addressing these business needs and prioritise and include accordingly (this is a must within any business case).
Identify the short-falls within your CRM project and establish a project management team
At the same time, start to build your project management team up, identify project champions within each team and super users who will not only represent their team but be a lynchpin going forward to ensure engagement and adoption during and after implementation. Be careful to specifically agree and assign personal responsibilities.
According to Ed Thompson at Gartner Research on average 55% of work on a CRM project is done internally, and 45% is done by external third parties. If, after you have carried out a skills analysis and identified gaps – consider outsourcing as an option, for instance experienced IT Consultants who will be able to proffer advice, provide a project framework and assist with the selection process.
Don’t forget to identify the risks within your CRM project planning, because this will help you to be pro-active about avoiding problem areas and understand when to go or no-go on the project itself. Don’t be among the 63% of project failures – these are easily avoided with the right planning and procedures.
You also need to understand the specific steps involved in getting your project live and put realistic timescales in, taking into account any seasonal aspects of your business where a CRM project will affect or disrupt.
Prodware, a Microsoft Gold Partner has over 16 years’ experience with scoping, planning, implementing and training Microsoft Dynamics CRM. With more than 350 CRM customers supported by over 150 consultants, developers, project managers and support teams, we are a trusted partner to support you at all stages of your CRM project – right from business case preparation through to user adoption. Please download our free whitepaper on migrating your CRM.