Advice on CRM implementation issues and a joke…


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There’s an old joke that goes something like this:

A man, driving through the countryside, stops to ask a farm worker for directions to a local town.

The farm worker scratches his head thoughtfully, and after a while, says ‘you know sir, if I was going there I wouldn’t start from here at all.’

This surfaced in my mind when I was asked for advice from a company implementing CRM, but, despite focusing on a simple contact management phase to start, were struggling to gain traction, particularly with some of the senior executive users.

I guess my advice was of the ‘I wouldn’t start from here at all’ sort, and may not have been terribly helpful, but my response was as follows:

Ideally when you deploy CRM, there are a clear set of ‘recognised’ problems that you are looking to solve, and compelling outcomes that you have in mind. The resolution of these issues would ideally have senior level support, and while this doesn’t guarantee usage, it certainly helps.

It sounds as if you are encountering resistance at an executive level though. This is a very difficult situation to overcome. If the executive team don’t support it, then it will be a major uphill struggle.

My suggestions for addressing the situation:

Re-visit the business case. What can you do with CRM that will get senior level support? I’m not convinced just contact management represents a big enough win to capture people’s imaginations. Work out how CRM can grow sales by 10%, and that might get some attention and backing. I’m all in favour of phasing projects, but you can do too little in the first phase and burn out enthusiasm for the project. See here for thoughts on phasing.

Also consider carefully if you have a reasonable chance of deploying process-driven CRM or whether you will have to settle for ad hoc usage per this blog post .

If you get senior level sponsorship and the resources to make the project happen then perhaps use this post to address some of the user adoption issues.

If you can’t get sponsorship, then probably the best thing is to find a small group of receptive users, focus resources on them, and help them transform their part of the business with the CRM system. If you can prove success in one area, that may help you obtain attention and resource for a wider roll-out.

It’s the work you do before the implementation that largely determines success or failure. Effective planning and requirements definition are the keys to success, and they set the tone for everything that follows. If you have a compelling vision that everyone buys into, then you have conditions that a ripe for success, without it’s pretty much impossible to create anything of meaningful value.

Which is why, frustratingly I’m sure, the best advice, when things go wrong, is often to retrace your steps and revisit the planning stage.

By the way if anyone has any other questions on implementing high return CRM systems, feel very free to drop me a line. I’m always happy to give my two penneth worth.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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