I have worked for companies where CRM has been sourced, implemented and managed by IT. In my opinion this just doesn’t work. To properly manage a ‘customer relationship’ the system that helps you achieve that goal needs to be managed by marketing, working closely with Sales. IT should merely be a facilitator.
Having said that, with the increase and recent advancements of cloud based solutions, should IT be involved at all? My thoughts are no, they shouldn’t. CRM is a tool that enables us to improve the service we deliver to our customers. It enables us to track sales and marketing activity and helps the business plan for the future. If the system is outsourced and hosted outside of our internal IT infrastructure then management of the system should be driven by the users.
To add weight to that argument, the CRM landscape is changing. We are really seeing CRM 2.0 or even perhaps 3.0 with the integration of social media. Any SalesForce.com users will relate to this having been exposed to Chatter, SalesForce.com’s Twitter like collaboration tool. Click the image in this post to open an interesting infographic on the evolution of CRM.
I am currently going through the implementation of SalesForce.com and have, in the past implemented both on-premise and hosted CRM solutions to up to 5,000 users. Here are my top 6 tips for a successful deployment:
Do not underestimate the time a successful deployment takes. Personally, I believe it becomes a full time job until it is running smoothly which in my experiences can take up to 6 months.
Research your needs internally and create a wish list of what you want the system to do. It’s not until you truly understand what you want to get out of CRM that you can make the right choice on the product you use
The CRM systems I have witnessed fail in my career have been those that have been overly complicated from day one. With the recent deployment we stripped it back to the very basics and have gradually added functionality
User adoption is always one of the biggest challenges with any CRM. You need to ‘sell’ the system to the users and give them functionality that makes their working life easier. If it is deemed as a laborious task or a management tool’ then they simply want use it
Ensure that you have at least 2 members of your team fully trained to Senior Admin standards to ensure you can change configurations and settings without incurring expensive professional service resources.
There is an old saying, “If you put sh*t int, then you will get sh*t out” and this has never been more true in the world of data. Spend time and budget making sure your data is in the best possible shape before loading it into your new CRM system.
I look forward to your comments and please follow me on Twitter for all my latest updates