Google CRM and there are three types of content that will dominate your results.
1. Companies looking to sell you CRM software or services
2. Articles about CRM failure rates, and
3. Posts featuring “Top X” lists of reasons why CRM projects fail
It is harder to find information on what companies that are successful with CRM do differently. One thing I know for sure after 25 years in the industry and several hundred implementations of CRM is that:
Success is more about organizational alignment than technology.
A few years back we started asking our customers some very specific questions about CRM. We were looking for patterns or similarities in those that had been the most successful. What we discovered completely changed our approach to projects.
Today every part of our methodology leads to helping our customers organize themselves to “look” like one of those highly successful customers.
We call customers that achieve this look “CRM Ready Organizations”.
Here are a few things they have in common:
1. Every highly successful CRM Customer that we talked to looks at CRM as an initiative, not an installation. This is an important distinction and it is the foundation for everything else.
In an intitiative, CRM functionality is delivered to the organization in phases. Each phase is focused on a small but meaningful set of measurable objectives that are clearly communicated and understood. We call these Business Outcomes.
Because it is an intiative, these organizations are able to resist the temptation to become distracted by all the “bells and whistles” and stay focused on just the right features and functionality. They set themselves up to deliver phases rapidly.
Each phase delivers value to the organization and as one phase ends they are already planning the next one. They use CRM as an engine to deliver Business Outcomes.
2. The “engine” is fueled by stakeholders in several different areas. For them CRM is not a short term project that they can forget about after a few months. It is always on their radar.
The Executive Team
- Create organizational vision for CRM
- Responsible for defining and communicating CRM strategy and desired business outcomes
- Regularly revisit vision, strategy and Business Outcomes
The Core Team
- Small group of Subject Matter Experts
- Representing primary CRM facing regions/roles in the company
- Every member of the team regardless of heirarchy is a CRM Power User
- Understand the vision, strategy and Business Outcomes defined by the Executive Team
- Able to communication business needs in CRM terms
- Deep knowledge of CRM Configuration
- Understanding of the how’s and why’s of their current system configuration
- An understanding of business objectives
- Ability to translate business vision into configuration
3. Each top performer also invests heavily in training. Many used Learning Management Systems (LMS) or Intranets to deliver video based training across the organization. They also think about training from multiple perspectives;
i. Application Training
ii. Process Training
iii. Management Training
iv. Power User / Upgrade Training
An underlying theme you may have noticed is that these organizations “own” their system. They have a partner they trust, but it is their system and they control the levers that keep the engine running.
Question: How are you approaching CRM in your organization, Initiative or Installation? Listen to Patrick talk about this in person.
Patrick Lewis is the Director of Business Outcomes for Fullscope’s CRM Practice. He has worked with Microsoft CRM since 2003 and is currently focused on delivery methodology, business outcomes, user adoption and training.