In my last blog post, I gave you some tips on how to structure your workday (8 Ways CRM Software Can Help Reduce Cost for Your Business). These tips refer to what you as an individual could do. This time I will focus on organizational structure.
Whether you have chosen a CRM vendor or not, it is a good idea to prepare for the organizational challenges you may meet:
- What does it involve of resources?
- Do you need to make organizational changes?
- What are the goals or benefits you expect to get out of the CRM system?
- Do you want a cloud or a server solution?
When you implement a new IT system, the whole organization needs to be in sync. It has to be a combination of a set of official guidelines and personal involvement. A good project manager is essential and the way to success lies in good internal communication. A CRM system is not just technology; it is a strategy and a philosophy.
Here are 7 tips of things to consider when implementing a CRM system:
1. Anchorage in the top management
It may sound obvious that a project that involves all parts of an organization needs top management involvement, but in order to inspire and build credibility, top management is crucial. They drive the opinion and culture in the organization and their early adaption gives a synergy effect on the whole organization. So get them involved!
2. Project manager
When you are implementing a new CRM system the most important person is the one that has the overall management and the mandate to run the project. The selected person should drive the project so that the steps get done and the goals are met. It does not have to be someone from the management, but a do-er with enthusiasm, passion and focus on details.
A super-user or a CRM responsible is not the same as a project manager. This is the person in your organization which is assigned as the super-user of your new system. He or she just loves the new system and wants to learn everything about. When others in your organization have problems or need support, this is the internal person to go to, the “know-it-all”. This person is also often the contact point towards the vendor, and will be the first to get information about new version etc.
4. Launch with a BANG!
The mantra for real estate agents is location – location – location. For the project manager it should be motivation – motivation – motivation. Sell it!
Internal marketing is sometimes underestimated, but when implementing a new CRM system you need to sell it to your colleagues. Make a cool article on your intranet, a poster, a special launch t-shirt, internal launch party etc. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but something to mark the launch and create enthusiasm. But unfortunately you can’t rest on your laurels, now the lobbing starts. Walk around, ask people how it’s going and help them along.
5. Internal guidelines
As mentioned before in other blog posts on this site, a CRM system is only as good as the data put into it. It is essential that some common guidelines are set. For example how to include new company data or register a sale. If Trine, Steven and Marie all register their sales in the CRM system, but Michael doesn’t, then it is difficult for the sales manager to take out correct sales statistics and coach his sales team. And it also makes it difficult for Michael to track the teams sales pipeline.
The guidelines should be written down and can be published for example on your intranet.
We are all different; some people get a kick out of a new system and start to use it right away. Others may be skeptical to a new way of working. The project manager should have strategies to handle both user groups. You can choose classroom training from a vendor, or if you have assigned an internal super-user he or she can do the training in your office. You should also include an introduction to your CRM system in the internal training program for new employees. New employees will then, from the start, get on the right track.
CRM is, as mentioned earlier, not just technology but a philosophy.
When you implement a CRM system your whole organization needs to re-think all routines and each individual needs to change their work pattern. This is a challenge and requires a strategy to cope with negative attitude on all levels. Despite the fact that over the last 10 years it has been written a lot about CRM, clarifying the shift from only a sales perspective to a 3600 view, many people still look at CRM as only a sales tool.
You might encounter attitudes like “in Finance we work in a different way, and have no need for a CRM system” or “I have all my emails saved in folders in Outlook, so I know how to find them”. Prepare yourself!
I can give you a lot of good arguments for implementing a CRM system, but in my book the no. 1 argument is: When in a workplace the company owns your production, and a CRM system ensures that all documentation is stored in one common database owned by the company.
I would say that the Achilles heel to all IT systems is user-friendliness.
The author of “Stupid bloody system!”, Jonas Söderström, addresses the problems of poor data systems in a work environment perspective. He claims that the problem with too many data systems has become so imperative that it has to be addressed before it ruins the work environment. Strange reference from a software vendor you may say? But he addresses a very important point – you need to put in the time and effort to evaluate before you choose a new IT system. Not only the technology should be in place but also and user-friendliness is important to ensure that the users will love it, and that you can see results from your investment.