Whether you are looking to deploy a traditional Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution or a tangential application, there are some important points to consider.
Here are five important tips to help you succeed:
1. Make a compelling business case - Prior to selecting a CRM system, monitor employee behavior and performance to identify which business processes can benefit from CRM the most. Determine how the CRM system might help share information and resources and cut clutter, administrative duties, and duplicated tasks. Build a team with reps from each department to make sure their colleagues’ needs and concerns are addressed with the new technology. This will help you define CRM’s value for your organization.
2. Agree on your goals - Before buying or upgrading a CRM system, make sure all of the necessary stakeholders have a mutually agreed-upon set of goals for the solution. This is the best way to determine if the CRM deployment is successful or not.
3. Keep your expectations realistic - Don’t simply focus on features and functionality when purchasing a CRM system. CRM technology is not a panacea for businesses. The software should enable your implementation of a CRM strategy, not the other way around.
4. Take an outside-in approach - Think about the customers’ needs first. Before you begin a CRM project, ask this question: Can the results of this project potentially damage customer experiences? If the answer is "yes," come up with another plan that benefits both the company and your customers.
5. Accurately calculate the costs - Calculate both the short- and long-term costs of your CRM system. A CRM investment is not a one-time expense. Total cost of ownership and return on investment need to be used together when evaluating a CRM project. Expectations should be managed over time. Consider costs over monthly, quarterly, yearly, and three-year periods. These cost assessments should account for implementation customization, integration, and additional staffing and training costs.
These tips can be adapted for any large-scale enterprise software deployment. For more CRM-specific deployment tips, read our feature story, 100 Proven CRM Ideas.