A customer relationship management (CRM) initiative is a major undertaking. Preparation is the key to success, and there is much to be done before you kick your project off. How do you know if your company is ready? Take this quick CRM quiz to find out.
Some of the biggest set-backs occur because companies don’t realize the true size and scope of CRM before they begin their implementation. CRM is more than just a software application that your users will have to learn. It is a broad-reaching business discipline that combines processes, people, knowledge, and technologies to improve the way employees at all levels access and manage customer information and interact with existing and potential clients.
A customer relationship management solution will automate and enhance your key marketing, sales, and service operations – not change them completely. In order for CRM to work, you need to have a solid foundation in place that can be improved upon through the use of technology. Re-engineer your flawed processes and restructure your inefficient workflows well in advance of your CRM deployment.
Without a champion, your CRM initiative won’t go as smoothly as you had hoped. A person or small team of people with a vested interest in the success of the project should be appointed to oversee every aspect of it. Make sure this person, or people, have both authority (to implement any needed process changes or encourage users to adopt the solution) and accountability (to ensure the team stays committed to the project, even if obstacles occur).
Your executive team may be ready for CRM, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your staff members are. User adoption is crucial to the success of any customer relationship management initiative, so before you begin, you’ll need to get everyone on board. Demonstrate the benefits to your end users, and help them understand how CRM will make their jobs easier and help them perform more effectively. This will encourage them to embrace the solution and any resulting process changes.
Although CRM is quite cost-effective, it is not a one-time expense. Have you budgeted accordingly? For example, if you choose an on-site CRM package, there will be ongoing enhancement and administration costs, in addition to the price of the initial software and hardware. If you select a hosted or on-demand CRM solution, there will be recurring monthly fees.
If you answered “yes” to all five questions in this CRM quiz, then your business is ready to embark on a CRM initiative. If you answered “no” to any of them, then you need to do some more planning before you begin looking at CRM solutions.