A customer relationship management (CRM) endeavor requires thorough planning, an extensive amount of time and resources, and a strong commitment to success. The following checklist will help you determine your company’s CRM readiness level and provide some valuable tips to help you prepare for your upcoming CRM project.
The first step in any CRM readiness strategy is to identify all those who will be affected in some way by the implementation of a CRM solution. This includes not only executives and managers, but all employees in customer-facing roles as well as other end-users. Make sure everyone involved understands what CRM really is, realizes its potential impact, and has an opportunity to provide input into the project.
Do you know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish with your CRM project? Or are you just hoping to see some level of improvement in customer satisfaction or productivity? Vague goals like enhancing service delivery, reducing marketing costs, or increasing sales are not enough. Make sure you have set objectives that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Tangible) as part of your CRM readiness plan.
A customer relationship management initiative is most successful when it is blessed by those at the top. If you want to ensure CRM readiness, you’ll need to obtain executive input and approval before you begin your project. This will make it easier to acquire the needed budgetary funds, implement required process changes, and encourage end-users to get on board.
True CRM readiness requires strong and effective leadership. Put a person or small group of people in charge of your entire initiative from start to finish. All project managers should have a vested interest in the project’s success, as well as the authority and accountability needed to make important decisions, facilitate change, and overcome roadblocks and obstacles.
A customer relationship management application will enhance your existing processes, but it won’t fix the broken ones. Identify those customer-facing activities that need to be restructured and make any needed corrections to the way they are coordinated and executed as early in the planning cycle as possible. Map out and test your new workflows before you purchase and deploy your new CRM solution.
A CRM solution is not a one-time expense. You’ll need to structure your budget to account for not only the initial purchase price, but ongoing costs for maintenance and system improvements. If you’ve chosen a Web-based or on-demand CRM package, you’ll need to plan for the recurring monthly fees.
The final gauge of CRM readiness is a clear performance measurement strategy. Create a plan that outlines what your key metrics and performance indicators will be, and who will be responsible for tracking them. This will enable you to can clearly assess how successful your CRM initiative is, and take immediate corrective action if you aren’t reaching your goals.