This post follows on from the “Why do I need CRM” post. It looks at the common pitfalls of implementing a CRM system. Where the implementation of CRM tends to go horribly wrong is that is morphs from a simple system to deal with customers in an organised fashion, to an expansive enterprise wide system that has more interfaces than IBM. As a general rule, the larger the business, the more challenging it is to implement CRM as there will be many more touch-points with a customer to consider (sales, installation, maintenance, warranty, billings, accounts receivable, service departments, warehouse, distribution, suppliers, etc).
So the strategy, planning and pre-implementation processes for installing a new CRM system are vital. A quick checklist for this is:
Vital as this sets the scene for what the CRM will be designed to do. If the strategy is to merely put all past sales, sales targets and quotes into an electronic form (a common start for many small businesses) – don’t let a software vendor up-sell your needs. If the strategy is to incorporate all processes and points in the business in dealing with customers, this is generally a huge project that needs professional support to deliver.
Once the strategy has been determined, planning is essential. This covers selecting a CRM product, mapping all the business processes that will be covered by the CRM, what type of information needs to be captured, who takes responsibility for its installation, timing considerations (for both your business and the software vendor), what new hardware is required, etc.
Identify who is doing what, when it needs to be delivered, can your staff deliver to requirements whilst still doing their own job, physical access issues, payment details on all requirements, financing of payments, detailed Gantt chart to ensure that critical path issues are identified.
This is not intended to be a comprehensive list, but more to get thinking of all the issues before they become real issues.
CRM can be the single most important tool in your business if you know why you need it and make sure that you only get what you need.
Marshall Vann – Realistic Business Solutions
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