One year into the CRM initiative with Aventics, I had the pleasure of interviewing Larry Bowers, the Global CRM Project Leader. At the time we were just finishing up phase one. As we were getting ready to lay out phase two, we spent a lot of time talking about the outcomes of phase one; especially around adoption.
I asked Larry to think about the things they implemented, and talk about what's been successful, and what was challenging, and here's what Larry had to say:
I think about this a lot. We've been successful in that we have executive buy-in, which I consider the most important aspect of what we are doing. We wanted to go from 0-60 miles an hour very, very quickly. Executive buy-in was necessary for us to be able to commit to funding the project, rolling it out, and actually consuming the data that's being created from the top down.
Larry hit on one of the most important pieces of successful CRM- executive buy-in. So, I asked him what he did to get executive buy-in, and when he knew he had it:
I had to do it a little differently and focus on dashboards to get things moving. Early on it was clear that dashboards would be a key element since we anticipated that the executives and managers would need to be able to quickly digest CRM related outcomes. We wanted to get CRM rolled out as quickly as possible to 21 countries while also respecting cultural and language differences. As a result, in addition to the executives we zeroed in at the management level to help drive users to use the CRM system more frequently. Without the support of management there is no straightforward way to accomplish such a rapid change in culture.
Initial management focus was directed to CRM related activities by their teams. We started executive dashboards to show basic CRM information: Pipeline, number of activities - scheduled and completed, Opportunity's and Accounts. Admittedly there was a ton of pressure to do fancier dashboards but I'm a subscriber to learning to walk before you run so we kept is simple. The dashboards allowed for quick comparisons to see who was and was not using the system, who the early adopters were but also to quickly identify the laggards or those that required additional training.
The intent is not to always serve up information in this manner. In the beginning, it was a necessary mechanism to get the ball rolling and drive to adoption. Not long after the release of the initial dashboards the organization sales language began to change. Now more challenging questions are coming to light which are forcing us to rethink our initial dashboard concept. There's a ton of usage and consumption of CRM data now, much more than I had anticipated. The challenge now is to get the organization to start asking the "right" CRM questions and to become a learning organization.
So, what does CRM look like today at Aventics? How has it changed their business? Check out this video below for the answers.
How CRM Changed Business at Aventics
In case you missed it, in the article Aventics Partners with Fullscope for Successful CRM, we heard from Aventics on what led them to kick off their CRM initiative and how we were able to coach them for a successful start. For more on leadership's role in successful CRM initiatives, read this: Setting your Business up for Successful CRM: Organizational Structure is Key.
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