5 Things You Must Do Before Implementing CRM


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Planning is a virtue.

Experts agree: planning is a virtue.

Want to truly transform your business, using CRM?

Then follow the example of $105 billion Panasonic, which last year implemented a new CRM program, working with Cloud Sherpas, in just nine months. The move was part the electronic giant’s merger of three different business-to-business (B2B) divisions — handling 12 different product lines — into a single division with a combined revenue of approximately $1.3 billion. The goal of that business change was to give customers a single point of contact for any Panasonic B2B product, as well as for related services or partner products.

Numerous Cloud Sherpas clients ask us for our point of view on ensuring that their CRM projects are not just successful, but will help them truly transform their business. The key isn’t a secret, and may not qualify as “sexy,” but helpfully boils down to just one word: planning.

Rapid Plans Deliver Maximum Returns

But be quick about it. At the start of any CRM project, take a little time to rapidly create a project plan, based on short, agile-focused bursts. Each stage must deliver a specific, new business capability. If done properly — backed by high-level buy-in, user champions, business-focused results and real-life training — each phase will build momentum and surmount user adoption challenges, until it feels like your business users are the ones really driving the CRM project. Then you’ll know you’re on the right path.

Before Implementation: 5 Essentials

Here’s how to build a killer CRM project plan:

1) Set business strategy: As an organization, what are you focused on achieving? Frequent examples include maximizing profitability or market share. Panasonic, for example, needed to cut its sales costs, and so focused on merging together multiple sales teams, backed by a move to Salesforce. Vertex Pharmaceuticals, meanwhile, needed to launch a new drug and get it to market quickly.

2) Define CRM program outcomes: Define the business results your CRM program will help you achieve. Frequent examples include “enlarged customer wallet share,” “reduced cost of marketing campaigns” and “improved customer experience.” For example, one large insurance company that we’re working with wants to increase revenues by selling supplemental offer add-on insurance products to consumers who are already part of one of the company’s employer-delivered benefit programs.

3) Detail business capabilities: Identify the exact business processes needed to achieve your desired business results. Frequent examples include improved territory management, enhanced account planning, and better case management process. For example, when solar monitoring and analytics provider Draker needed to heat up its sales program, the company pursued more automated price quoting processes, to buy their sales representatives more time to pitch customers.

4) Select CRM Technology: Which specific CRM solution will best enable the processes that you require? Be sure to identify needed CRM platform functionality, customer-related tools and systems, as well as required data and systems integration, but only do this after the above steps. Genzyme, for example, was careful to identify its business strategy first, and then find the best technology for the job.

5) CRM Program Plan: Create a set of actions and initiatives that you’ll pursue as part of your CRM project, listed in order of priority. Frequent examples include an SFA functionality quick win, mid-term campaign management, or long-term master data management program. Regardless of your goals, one key to project success emphasized by the CRM team at Genzyme — goal: increased sales productivity — is to create a CRM program plan that achieves targeted objectives using small steps, with each phase building buy-in and momentum.

Keep Everything Aligned

Don’t think of the above five implementation essentials in isolation. Indeed, for CRM projects that deliver truly transformational returns, keep everything aligned. Start with your business strategy — that’s a given. Then, as you want to grow your business, for example by selling more products and services to your existing customers, you’ll need CRM strategies, backed by technology that supports your required capabilities. Now get planning.

Learn More

Cloud Sherpas is one of the world’s leading Cloud Solutions Providers and helps businesses maximize their CRM returns by identifying desired business goals, finding the right tools and technology for the job, and delivering rapid implementations that remain focused on achieving your desired business capabilities.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user WorldIslandInfo.com.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.


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