CRM Implementation: Focus on the “How”


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3 CRM strategies that require you to think about the “How”

Transitioning from organizing prospect and customer details in a contact management system to adopting a customer relationship management (CRM) system is a considerable shift in how your business operates. But focusing on the “how” in your CRM implementation, which is nearly as crucial as the “what,” makes this transition easier. By “what,” we mean “what” you expect CRM to do for your business. The “how’ becomes so important because your CRM needs to be implemented in such a way that it meets your expectations. It really does you no good to have expectations that your CRM will deliver specific results, yet not have a CRM partner with the expertise to implement, and in some cases, customize your CRM system to meet those expectations.

There are at least three areas that deserve great attention during implementation where when you focus on the “how,” you give yourself the greatest potential to have success with your CRM. These are examples of CRM strategies that require you to think about the “how.” 

User Strategy

If you’re going to see CRM success, then you should put some thought into how the people in your organization will use the system. Asking questions like, how will implementing CRM affect the jobs that employees do? How can we ensure high user adoption? In the past, we’ve talked about how critical user adoption is in getting the expected results from your CRM, but so much of that can be achieved by asking and answering the one question that can guide you and your CRM partner through implementation as it relates to user strategy.

 How do we use CRM to make the jobs of users easier?   

Taking stock of the duties and needs of each user in your business as well as the current processes within your organization gives you the prerequisite knowledge of what needs to be implemented and how it needs to be implemented so that the job of users is made easier. Here is how you can implement CRM to help make the jobs of users easier.

– Where possible, make the system relevant by integrating CRM with applications they already use internally.

– Personalize CRM to fit the way users already work by building it around current processes.

– Do not attempt to add anything more than what is necessary or that is required for the future that would complicate their jobs, and gives reasons for them to abandon using CRM.

Customer Strategy

Knowing the entire purpose of CRM is to management your customer relationships in such a way that you strengthen them and experience business growth, taking what you know about your customers at implementation and comparing it to your CRM expectations can reveal any gaps in service that might exist, especially when transitioning from a contact management system. Three common areas that usually reveal themselves as critical considerations is: inconsistent customer experiences, few customer insights, and the biggest of all, bad data. These of course are also three of the most important areas that you must get right during implementation.


  • Design the experience you want your customers to have into the features of the CRM and ensure that the proper tools are available to deliver it.
  • Use metrics so that you can drive improvements, both for users and customers. Making sure that you implement CRM Reporting that offers insights into the things that matter most to your customers and your business goals.
  • If you have bad data, make sure that your CRM partner knows how to help you cleanse your data before importing it into your CRM software. A reasonable consideration is also how your data will be migrated and the integrity of your data maintained over into a new CRM system.


Software Utilization Strategy

Obviously, the goal is to have all the users in your business use your CRM to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively and by doing so help to grow your business. But how will your sales staff use CRM as opposed to your marketing department? This may require CRM customization because perhaps one department may need a screen or report that the other does not. Or maybe they need similar reports but value different information that is pertinent to their business unit. Consider the organizational scope of your implementation project and how they will specifically use CRM to do their jobs well. Here are questions to ask concerning the three major business areas of CRM.

  • Sales & Development
    • How will CRM make client communication more effective?
    • How will a CRM capture and track leads?
    • What reporting and metrics will a CRM need to produce for the sales team?
  • Marketing
    • How will CRM will support the variety of campaigns your business runs?
    • What data is necessary for successful campaigns?
    • How will the CRM help to track campaign metrics and results?
  • Customer Service
    • How will customer requests and complaints be documented using CRM?
    • How will customer service representatives track customer issues?
    • What tools will customer service representatives need to meet service standards?


An experienced CRM professional can help you to scope your projects accurately. Help you to develop your user and customer strategy. And overall help you to think through the “how’ to develop or customize a CRM system that is able to help you meet your expectations. Someone that has expertise and practical experience in helping a variety of different business types make the transition to CRM, is also the person that will make the difference in whether your customer relationships improve and your business grows.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dick Wooden
CRM specialist to help you get the answers you need with sales, service, and marketing CRM software. I help mid-sized businesses select, implement and optimize CRM so that it works the way their business needs to work. My firm is focused on client success with remarkable customer experience, effective marketing and profitable sales using CRM strategy and tools.


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