3 Undisputable Truths about Implementing CRM

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Subtitle:  Does the Cloud Have A Magical Silver Lining?

More companies are looking to the cloud for a fast implementation of CRM.  Recently even Sage PLC (the makers of Sage CRM) announced they are moving to SalesForce.com (http://www.sage.com/media/press-releases/2015/02/26/the-sage-group-plc-announces-global-agreement-with-salesforce).  When confronted with the news, my brother and work colleague commented, “aaah, but the Cloud has a magical silver lining that fixes broken processes too.”

Along with jumping to the cloud, I see that companies are switching CRM systems more often.  They leave one “broken” CRM for another, not realizing that the software is most likely not the issue.  In my 17 years of CRM consulting, I have found 3 truths that cannot be ignored while implementing CRM.  If you ignore these, you will most likely blame the software and jump to yet another CRM system, only to be disappointed again.

 

TRUTH 1:  You Must Manage Management’s Expectations

Simply put, there is no such thing as “rapid deployment” of a CRM strategy.  Notice I didn’t say there is no such thing as rapid deployment of a CRM system (software).  Software is easy, strategy is what takes time.

 

TRUTH 2:  Transition is Not Automatic

Often companies think they can mandate change, and they may be correct.  However, mandating change does nothing to aid user’s transition to the change.  Simply implementing and requiring the usage of new software does not magically fix process, culture, and transition issues.

Most companies spend 90% of their time “selling” the new CRM solution.  Did you know that people aren’t interested in solutions to problems they don’t see, acknowledge or understand?  Sell the problem to your company, and you will be amazed at the acceptance of the solution.

 

TRUTH 3:  CRM Is Worthless If Not A Part of Corporate Culture

Managing the incorporation of CRM into your culture is critical.  I’m not just talking about an address book with contacts and accounts.  I’m talking about a true enterprise-wide CRM system that shows customers buying behaviors, service issues and opportunities.  For this to be successful, it must be the cultural Bible to all things related to your customer, used by everyone (this means you Mr. Sales Manager asking for weekly sales reports in Excel, and you Mr. CEO calling an employee to tell you what is already available in the CRM system).

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