CRM like a
We see this a lot. Many
companies position CRM
as a software implementation project and immediately turn it over to the IT
team to manage. This is a
mistake and should serve
as a red flag. IT certainly
needs to be involved, and
should be a part of the
implementation team. But
for a much greater chance
of success, CRM needs to
be viewed and managed
as a sales solution and
approached with process
front of mind. Build a
cross-functional team –
sales, marketing, inside
sales, customer service,
and so on – to select and
pilot the CRM system.
2. Not positioning CRM as a team solution.
For CRM to succeed, it has to be used to leverage data
from all customer-facing touch points in your company. If
you include just outside sales, you’ll miss more than half
of the value of the system. Unfortunately, islands of data
exist throughout your business, and they aren’t usually
in synch. Outside sales may maintain a spreadsheet (or
several); another repository of data sits with the service
department; and customer service may manage another
valuable trove of data. The problem is they live in different systems. What’s more, your departments aren’t sharing this valuable information.
These resources actually offer a huge opportunity for
companies that are able to bring them together under
one umbrella and implement processes to bring a team
approach to CRM for maximum ROI.
And the No. 1 most important contributor to a CRM
project’s success or failure? Culture. In fact, if culture is
standing in your way, you’d have a better chance of succeeding if you took the money you invested in CRM to
a local casino. But despite the challenge, it can be done.
Recognize from the start that the transition will be painful. Your team will want to revert to their comfort zones:
Excel spreadsheets, sticky notes, notepads, Access, and
other security blankets. In some cases, they’ll double-dip
and put the data in two places – the new system and the
old. This can result in a slow death for CRM.
Create a cross-functional team, and include project
champions, including what I call top guns, or success-
ful and respected members of your team. But also invite
nay-sayers, those that maybe aren’t 100 percent sold on
a new CRM system. Make sure you reflect reality with
your project team. Your employees also have to see that
management is backing the CRM project, and that CRM
will be part of the culture and strategy going forward. Set
a vision for what CRM can do to get the company from
A to B to grow the business, make sure that the project
stays on course, set expectations, and reinforce them
constantly. And to maintain buy-in after implementation,
continue to seek feedback from your team – then act on
that feedback. This is critical.
It’s been said many times: Culture can eat new initiatives for lunch, and that’s especially true with CRM. So if
your company is not truly ready for change, don’t pull the
trigger. But if you are ready, drive the change and set a
new course for your business.
Brian Gardner is the founder
of SalesProcess360 and has
spent more than 25 years in
sales and sales management
in the industrial market. He
served as a sales manager for
a major regional redistribution
company for 15 years.
Learn more at salesprocess360.
com. Contact him at 504-355-
1150 or brian.gardner@