Make Your CRM Implementation as Successful as Possible!

When you invest money in a CRM, it’s important to make sure it fits in well with your business and customers so that your investment pays off. It’s easy to get excited about what CRM can do for your business and it can be exciting to share the vision at the beginning of a project. But, how do you ensure the implementation of your CRM delivers real, transformative and lasting results?

Here are three things you can do to make your CRM implementation as successful as possible.

1.    Talk to your customers!

This may sound novel, but CRM is for them after all. Understand how your customers do their work and how your company adds value to their processes. Through collaborative dialogue with your customers, envision a compelling future where your company is essential to the way your customers create value. Set an objective to not only be close to your customers, but to become embedded in their operations.

2.    Make it personal!

Make it clear to your employees that not all customers are equal. Ensure they understand what your “right fit” customers look like. Translate the goal of customer embeddedness into language that makes it clear how this goal personally impacts the future of each individual. Ensure they are motivated and understand what is at stake to them personally if the goal of customer embeddedness is not achieved. On the flip side, paint a picture of how they benefit personally from the company’s goal of “right fit” customer embeddedness.

3.    Sell the users first!

Only after your team has a clear vision of what customer relationships mean to the company strategically, and to them personally, should a CRM implementation plan be developed. Although the CRM is ultimately for the benefit of your customers, the first customer for CRM is the front line, customer-facing staff. If they don’t buy into the use of CRM, then it’s not going anywhere. The only way you’ll get their buy-in and full cooperation is if the CRM becomes a natural part of their workflow and increases productivity. To this end, before any software of configured, process maps must be developed. They should capture current work practices, and then identify areas of frustration and lack of productivity. Future-state maps that use the CRM technology to eliminate these frustrations and optimize workflow should then be developed. What Salesforce.com has done extremely well is create a marketplace where complementary vendors can integrate their technology into the CRM. Practically every workflow challenge can be addressed through Salesforce and its partners.  Before rolling out the technology, sell your people on the improved workflow. Let them be the ones driving the implementation schedule in order to access the new capabilities and improved workflow.

Salesforce and its ecosystem partners represent an unprecedented opportunity to leverage technology in order to deepen customer relationships. The technology, however, cannot make up for a lack of leadership and a sound approach to implementation.

These 3 steps, though not comprehensive, can certainly go a long way to ensuring a successful CRM implementation.

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