Discipline is Key to Successful CRM Installations
CRM software is getting a bad rap and it’s not justified. Some feel that the products available are over-engineered and too hard to use. Others think they are too expensive and some believe CRM is just not for them. It is true that CRM installations are failing at an alarming rate, but there are also many companies that are realizing substantial value from their CRM software. The key differentiator between success and failure is discipline. Some companies understand that they are going to have to invest time and resources to ensure the successful implementation and use of the software. Others seem to view CRM as a commodity product, like an appliance that you simply plug in the wall; these are the companies that have struggled with CRM.
The successful implementation and use of CRM software requires a firm commitment from management. They assign someone of authority who can take charge of the implementation. They appreciate that internal policies and procedures may have to be modified to address their business objectives. They proactively work with the solution provider to ensure that the new procedures are properly implemented, and that the staff is properly trained. Depending on the level of functionality they wish to implement and how many departments are impacted, this can be a larger commitment than most companies anticipate.
As a sales executive I can tell in just a few minutes if the company I am talking with is going to be successful with our software. I get those that are just ‘shopping’ for whichever vendor offers the most features at the lowest cost, or the small company that is simply looking for an automated Rolodex for their business. A free or low-cost CRM system will most likely address their needs quite well.
The ones I get most excited about ask me to review their requirements and provide some details as to how we have addressed similar requirements for companies like theirs. This is often groups of 10 to 100 employees that are trying to automate their internal business processes. They often ask for an implementation plan, who will be managing it from my firm, and what procedures we have in place to ensure the project stays on schedule. They also want to know about training and how we will ensure that their future requirements will be met after the implementation is complete. This is clearly the profile of a company that is serious about using CRM software. They want to improve how they market, sell and provide service to their customers and they appreciate the level of commitment they need to make to ensure a successful implementation. For these companies they know it’s a combination of product and value-added services that will result in a successful implementation and will make a substantial impact on the performance of their business.