1. What business problems you are trying to solve?
It’s important to clarify, define and document exactly the business goals you want your customer relationship management system to deliver. Do you want to optimise your sales process, enhance and track your marketing initiatives, improve customer service or all three?
2. The project needs a strong champion with full, active and continuous, commitment from the management team.
Ideally, the champion should be a business leader rather than someone from IT – CRM is a major business initiative, not a technology initiative!
3. Success includes people, process and technology.
Lack of user engagement is the number one reason for the failure of CRM systems.
Engage users early, and often, during the system planning and implementation phases.
4. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Don’t try to include too much functionality. Run a pilot if appropriate. Remember – installing software is only part of CRM.
5. What other systems and functions does the CRM need to integrate with?
Check the software to see how much customisation can be done by internal users or administrators and how much will require costly external developer input
6. Does the software come with all the functionality you need?
Or, are there additional costs to buy modules needed for functions such as web access, mobile CRM or to run marketing campaigns?
7. Data storage or adding new users, will the costs escalate?
Don’t forget to factor in training.
8. Gain Executive sponsorship
Implementing new business strategies invariably includes an element of change management.
9. Understand Why
Do not rely on, plan or adopt a CRM strategy based on what everyone else is doing. CRM only works when there is clear and measurable understanding of why an organization is doing it.
10. Use Your Second-Mover Advantage
Many organizations have now gone through a CRM implementation and many lessons have been learnt and documented.
11. Don’t force staff into long winded processes/ways of doing things that make their job more difficult.
Staff will know how to do their jobs and be able to help you design ways of recording and storing information so that you all get the most benefits from the system without making their lives unnecessarily difficult. Sometimes the biggest barriers are not technical but cultural.