Size My Cloud CRM Project


Share on LinkedIn

Quoting molecular theory is a sure conversation killer, but hear me out: Atoms behave differently than molecules. Laws differ between the sub-atomic and the macro-atomic. As scale increases, rules change.

Same goes for CRM projects. Businesses that have no sales, marketing, or service program in place need to start small. Meanwhile, established businesses pursuing radical new business models may have more of a large-scale, transformational project on their hands.

Why does sizing CRM projects matter? Frankly, because our customers often put that question to us. You’re the CRM experts, you tell me: How big will my CRM project be? In fact, we’re getting that question a lot, now, as businesses look to CRM to help cut costs or organize for growth, given the turbulent economy.

CRM Projects: 3 Sizes

To size a CRM project, the crucial question boils down to: Why are you adopting new CRM capabilities? Answering that question provides clues as to the resulting project size:

  • Hit the ground running (small): New business EveryScape needed to go to market as quickly as possible.
  • Incremental changes (medium): Genzyme Biosurgery outgrew its old sales system and needed to take its game up a level.
  • Business transformation (large): A $1 billion insurance firm experiencing low growth needed to radically rethink its go-to-market strategy.

Here’s more about the CRM project goals of each of the above businesses, and how that determined the size of their project:

Small: Get Up And Running ASAP

Small-size projects prioritize hitting the ground as quickly as possible and deploying only the most essential functionality. For example, when EveryScape–a new company with a brand-new type of business model–needed to hit the ground running, it turned to Innoveer to help it implement core SFA functionality via, in a project that lasted just a few weeks.

Size-wise, a small project typically deploys CRM to 50 or fewer people, working in a single domain (sales, marketing, or service), organized under a single VP. Because the new employees are wholeheartedly adopting the new technology, there may be process changes, but there’s no change management. Functionality focuses on essentials. In a service environment, for example, you’re talking primarily case management, as well as entitlement, service tiers, and account management.

Data-wise, small projects typically migrate data from Outlook or Act. But de-duping data, or merging data feeds with the finance system, isn’t in the scope of a project timed to go live in just a few weeks.

Medium: Implement Incremental Changes

Medium-size projects, meanwhile, involve all of the above, plus multiple teams and more significant business process changes. One of our medium-size projects, for example, involved helping Genzyme Biosurgery — a medium-size company doing well in a hot field, but which had outgrown its old system and processes — take its SFA game to the next level.

Innoveer helped Genzyme implement a number of incremental changes, including adopting new sales stages, which allows the business to better forecast opportunities. As a result, sales managers now have a better understanding of where deals are in the sales pipeline, and can thus manage their sales teams more effectively.

By necessity, medium-size projects involve a greater number of users, more systems integration, and more consensual decision-making than small projects. In large part, that’s because when marketing, sales, or service teams get bigger, reaching an agreement takes more time. It’s like holding a business meeting over dinner: Talking with one person takes one hour. Four people takes two hours. And 10 people takes all night, because everyone has to talk with everyone.

Large: Achieve Transformational Changes

Large projects typically involve a transformational business program that overhauls existing business practices. For example, a $1 billion insurance firm experiencing low growth needed to reboot its go-to-market strategy, to radically increase growth. As a result, the business:

  • changed its sales organization
  • reorganized sales territories
  • introduced completely new product lines

But guess what? The existing CRM software wouldn’t support the new approach. As a result, the business opted to implement for its thousands of users, backed by extensive integration with its existing mainframe systems. By selecting completely new CRM software, senior managers also emphasized to employees the dramatic business changes they were pursuing.

Project Size Versus Company Size

In the above three examples, company size happens to correlate with project size, but this isn’t always the case. For example, $4.2 billion Experian has been adopting Oracle CRM On Demand via a medium-size project that’s supporting incremental business changes to how the company’s sales teams sell its products. (Eventually, the business wants to standardize on one CRM platform, and support more cross-selling as well as more of a 360-degree customer view.)

Likewise, a large office supply company rolled out to its users, discarding its old approach. While this project involved thousands of users, the straightforward, fresh-start implementation and lack of complexity made the project, for all intents and purposes, small-size in its complexity and timeline.

Know Why You’re Adopting CRM

As noted, the best way to size any CRM project is to first understand why your business is adopting new CRM capabilities. Ideally, know this answer in detail. Saying, “We want to do opportunity management,” for example, doesn’t help pinpoint project size as well as, “Here are the sales stages we want to use, here are the rules that the salespeople have to adhere to, to promote an opportunity, here’s our position on whether we’re requiring certain fields or not.”

In other words, know your end goals. To deliver those business results, then size your CRM project correctly.

Learn More

What’s the next, best step for your organization’s SFA program? To answer that question, take our SFA program quiz, which is built using our benchmarks of the CRM practices of hundreds of companies. We’ve used those best practices to build Innoveer’s CRM Excellence Framework, which identifies where your current SFA program excels, or needs work.

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.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here