What are the Keys to Successful CRM Implementation?

With the recent economic setbacks that have plagued every country on earth, corporations of all sizes require practical solutions to maximize efficiency while cutting unnecessary costs. As a result of this, companies around the country and world are continuing to purchase and roll out CRM, or customer relationship management systems. Although every business organization’s needs are different from the next, the same important elements provide a successful implementation of any organization’s CRM deployment.

Among the more important keys to successful CRM implementation lies with the management leading the way. The participation of and promotion by the executives and managers is absolutely essential for setting out the objectives and goals of the project. CRM steering committees need to be created, with a CRM executive project manager appointed. Both this project manager, as well as the steering committee, should be intimately involved with the specific endeavors toward reaching the critical milestones. This project manager should be accessible and visible to the members of the business organization during the entire life cycle of the project implementation.

A second key to an effective deployment of the CRM system lies in setting a shorter time period in which the benefits to the business can actually be effective measured. This should be paired with good communications throughout the process. A series of shorter, more manageable project roll outs are generally more effective than one giant project that may require simply too much time and effort to achieve any success.

Another central element in this deployment centers on promoting marketing, communication, and assimilation on an equal footing with the technological upgrades necessary. Generally, the technological component impacts the project’s success less than does the time and work invested into marketing the solutions to the users, the communication, the assimilation of the procedures, and the necessary training. The firm’s leadership should be involved on a couple of levels, and the project manager should be consistently involved in the life of the project.

The project implementation should furthermore involve all relevant people throughout the company who will participate as the principal users of the customer relationship management system. This can be a challenge, since the primary users of such systems are commonly kept busy interacting with the business’ customers and must not lose their concentration on keeping up the normal course of operations. Obtaining feedback from the end users offers helpful information to improve the continuing deployment of the CRM.

While the customer service representatives are being trained in the new CRM system, the sales personnel must similarly be involved. The sales’ force leaders as well as the leading sales reps should participate in the CRM deployment as early on in the process as they possibly can. They can be utilized effectively as unofficial leaders, persons of influence, and experts on the subject matter. Both the sales persons and their support staff should be included in this. The firm’s project manager should not forget to employ the WIFM, or What’s in it for me approach, to further the motivation of the sales team. Incentive pay can be partially tied to effectively utilizing the CRM systems.

Another element in the successful implementation of the CRM system centers on integrating the CRM platform with the other existing systems in the company. The sales representatives must find it as simple and seamless as is possible to harness the CRM system. The most commonly utilized business applications should be integrated and linked together so that the Reps are not expected to click on multiple links, close and open numerous windows, and waste their precious time on paper work. The firm must not neglect the proper training of the reps as a part of this process. Lack of understanding about the CRM system is a main factor in why sales people do not like or want to use CRM systems. The project manager should also make sure that the information provided on the system is useful enough to be valuable in the daily operations of the sales staff, too.

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