Solicited advice

Planning steps and advice to help with your CRM implementation.

Brendler Associates, a Texan consultancy, offers nine planning steps to help your company build a CRM strategy:

  1. Form cross-functional teams that represent the whole enterprise and are driven by the chief executive
  2. Have these teams jointly develop a strategic CRM vision
  3. Make sure this vision is based on customers’ needs
  4. Analyse CRM strategies of current and potential competitors
  5. Identify the capabilities needed to provide superior customer value
  6. Assess your existing capabilities
  7. Identify business process changes, such as mapping customer flow
  8. Build a change management plan. Ask how employees are set up to deal with customers, what changes are necessary, how much training is required
  9. Implement CRM
  • Create “customer experience” maps that help to define customer needs and preferences, say Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, and develop a customer scorecard to highlight data and measurement needs.
  • If you are not trying to increase your revenue with a CRM system, says Nathan Luck, systems engineer and presales head for CRM vendor Onyx, figure out your most compelling business reason. Training, change management, honing the product’s reporting abilities and the organisation of disparate records are key areas to get right.
  • Take the top three priorities of the business and accomplish these in the shortest amount of time possible, within weeks ideally, says Helen Robinson, New Zealand manager for CRM software vendor Pivotal. This will provide immediate benefit, get the organisation comfortable with the application, start the culture-change process and allow for a re-assessment of the priority list.
  • Understand that CRM is a strategy, not a system or technology, says Greg Devine, joint head of CRM implementer Sales Technologies. CRM projects fail for a variety of reasons, including taking a tactical instead of strategic focus (Gartner Group advises thinking strategically but acting tactically, getting some projects underway to get a better idea of what you will need), a poorly scoped and defined project, the “not-invented-here” syndrome, insufficient attention to data migration and quality and believing that an “out-of-the-box” solution will match the requirements.
  • When selecting solutions, understand the design origins of the solution and ensure their roots and installed base are compatible with your industry and CRM solution requirements, says PeopleSoft New Zealand general manager Stewart Gibbs.
  • Rather than organising around products, which hobbles customers’ ability to buy across corporate boundaries, firms should organise around groups of customers that share common demographics, attitudes and purchasing behaviour, says Forrester Research.
  • Set your company’s “personality” through your staff and CRM system, says Deloitte. Cultural change really means giving your people the tools, training and incentive to succeed at customer service.

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