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CRM – What does success look like?

Is this something that you have considered and, if so, at what stage of the process?   Is it before or after your CRM system has been rolled out?

Experience tells me that this question should be asked right at the start of any CRM programme, before approval is given or even applied for, before any business case is produced and ideally, when the idea is still a dream in your mind’s eye.

Try this out – Set up a meeting with representatives of all functions of the business present and get their views about the ‘success’ question.  Ask them to think about the sales, marketing and customer related operations which they or their staff want to be able to do, 6 months, say, after the CRM has been rolled out, which they find difficult or are unable to do now.  I expect you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the variety of responses you get.

You could change the wording slightly to read Happy Customers – What does success look like, to start the ball rolling.  Once the creative juices are flowing, change the words back from Happy Customers to CRM and continue the discussion.  Apart from anything else, the point will be made that the two are synonymus.

Some pointers to think about:  sales forecasting accuracy, speed of handling queries, data quality, information flows between departments, internal communication etc.

To agree 5 or 6 key Project Success Factors which would be improved by the introduction of a CRM system and related processes are essential to move forward to grow and consolidate the business.

Such factors could be:

  • Speeding up the amount of time it takes to generate sales (and other) reports
  • Knowing how much time the sales team spend with their clients
  • Determining the monetary value (margin) which comes from each client
  • Reviewing the success of lead generation from all sources
  • Improving the communication between sales and marketing

Give each one an attainable but expected target increase as a percentage or number.

From this essential piece of work, Programme, CRM and Business Objectives can all be developed and agreed.  One of the first identified needs will be a simple way to measure the success factors, and more broadly, this will set a framework for the Requirements gathering, the Project planning and an ROI to be produced – but more of that in another post!