Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions are a proven way to ensure the highest quality customer interactions and enhance the way your company acquires, retains, and supports its clients. But, the key to your CRM success is to define clear, achievable goals at the start of your project, then choose a vendor and implement your technology solution in a way that will facilitate your ability to reach those objectives.
The first step towards CRM success is to set goals that are reasonable and attainable. For example, a revenue increase of 10 percent is a realistic target, doubling your sales in three months is not. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Inflating expected results and anticipated return on investment will not only set you up for failure in the eyes of your executive team, it will intimidate your end-users and may prevent them from embracing your new strategy.
When setting goals for sales revenues, service response times, marketing campaign response and conversion rates, cost reductions, and other key metrics, use the average performance level of each department as a starting point. Then, strive for an improvement of 5 to 10 percent within a year of your deployment. New, more advanced goals can be set as the existing ones are achieved.
Making sure the goals you set are clear and detailed will also increase your chances of CRM success. All CRM-related objectives must outline how the goal will be achieved, and include specific milestones and deadline dates, as well as a person or team who “owns” it, and is responsible and accountable for ensuring that it is reached.
Once you primary goals have been outlined, you should get full buy-in from all those involved in your project. Gather the members of your CRM team, as well as managers and other key stakeholders from each department impacted, and make sure that all objectives are mutually agreed upon before you being the vendor selection process.
Because customer relationship management requires large financial and resource investments, executives are likely to expect solid, demonstrable results. So, once you purchase, implement, and roll-out you’re new solution, you’ll need to determine how well it is performing. In order to accurately assess your CRM success, you’ll need to make sure that all goals you set early on in the planning process can deliver return that is both tangible and measurable. For example, “improving customer service” or “increasing staff efficiency” is way too vague. Be more specific and choose goals that enable you to prove real value (i.e. shorten response times by 7%, increase marketing response rates by 10%, etc.).
Finally, the last step is to implement stringent performance measurement processes. Your CRM success, and ongoing support for your project, is dependent upon your ability to prove continuous ROI to departmental and executive management. Create a structured plan for tracking and analyzing your key performance indicators and reporting the results, and involve managers and users at all levels in the performance measurement process.