Two factors often appear as critical elements of a successful CRM implementation. We learn these lessons the hard way, whether we’re a customer or a service provider of CRM solutions. Either way, they are important.
First, a well thought out, step-by-step implementation plan or methodology. A typical outline of one of these would look something like this (we hit this in the prior post as well, but it bears repeating):
- Identify the business objectives
- Align the stakeholders (get buy-in)
- Conduct a solution assessment (a roadmap, a pain chart, a process analysis)
- Develop the solution (steps, processes, level of customization)
- Plan the implementation (timetable, participants, testing)
- Execute the implementation
As Mitchell Cannady, President of Spinnaker Network Solutions says:
“Without a well-defined and managed methodology, it is easy to understand why implementations fail. The absence of any one of these steps leads to either the wrong system being put in place, or the right system with an undefined or misunderstood usage.”
The details of each methodology phase may move and change as part of the scope, but the principles don’t. Each of the items above has its own unique elements to be addressed, and they are different for each company, starting with the basic objectives. Each takes time and deliberation, from defining the vision to rolling out the solution.
The second key factor is a direct link to one of the execution principles above: training.
General system usage (h0w to launch, naviagate, etc.) can often be taught on a classroom basis, typically on-site. But without specific, hands-on, individual (or small group) user training, projects can and do fail. If the earlier solution assessment process engaged your users, then most of their basic needs should have been addressed as part of the solution. When it comes time to train, it’s a matter of teaching users how to use, and where to look.
The time spent on training can be recouped many times over if you get your users to understand their place in the system, better understand how to do their jobs, and better respond to their specific job requirements. CRM at its best is intended to make it easer to take care of the customer. Training empowers your team to do exactly that. It’s not the place to skimp.