Implementing customer relationship management (CRM) can be a precariousundertaking. It is filled with uncertainty and change. Hidden obstacles lurkaround every corner. implementing CRM isn’t just a job—it’s an adventure!And we haven’t even started talking about software yet.
Because implementing CRM is an adventure, we cannot give you step-by-step instructions like you might use to put together a “some assemblyrequired” birthday present on the night before your child’s birthday. The keyelements to CRM implementation success include both principles andtactics—but there is no one right way.
Since you are reading this document, we will assume you have somefamiliarity with CRM in general. If you have been following the CRM technology market for any period of time, you may have heard the ongoingdiscussion about CRM implementation failures. This issue has been mused upon and shouted with alarm at various points in recent history. In spite of the warnings and analyst statistics, in general, most organizations agree thatcustomer satisfaction (one measure of CRM success) improves when CRMis implemented.
This document is designed to give you a better chance of successfullyimplementing CRM software solutions. In the end, CRM is not just abouttechnology; it is about people and processes—supported by technology.While this document is about implementing technology, we will be discussingimportant prerequisites to finding and installing CRM technology. Thoseprerequisites will focus on people and processes.
Our focus will be on implementing CRM software in small to medium sizedorganizations. As a long time leading provider of enterprise applicationsfocused on small to medium sized businesses, Epicor is cognizant of the factthat you do not have a large IT staff or a huge implementation budget todedicate to your CRM project. You need an implementation methodologythat you can accomplish with the resources you already have in place.
Keys to CRM Implementation Success
Let’s face it, change is hard. And implementing a new software systemchanges things: work habits, what people have to know, how peopleinteract, who controls information, and accountabilities, among otherthings. You are undertaking this project because you believe this will be achange for the better for your organization as a whole. In the final analysis, however, the system will only be successful if it is fully accepted by yourCRM users. To ensure user acceptance—and a successful implementationfollow the change management strategies described below.
1. Executive Sponsorship
Assign a senior executive who is committed to the project, stays informed,clears roadblocks, allocates resources, manages saboteurs (people investedin the status quo), and acts as cheerleader for the project. Without anexecutive sponsor, implementing CRM is like Sisyphus of Greek mythologywho was condemned to rolling a rock up a hill, until under its own weight,it rolled back to bottom and Sisyphus had to start pushing the rockuphill again.
2. Project Team Commitment
Include the right people, give them the time and authority to completeproject tasks, and make sure all team members are committed to theproject’s success. This is particularly important in small to medium sizedcompanies where most or all of the project team will be assigned this projectin addition to their existing duties. Make sure that team members areallowed to spend the appropriate amount of time to make the projecta success.
3. Project Manager
Assign a strong Project Manager with a business focus of Customer Serviceand/or Sales and Marketing. While IT departments often manage theseprojects, the bulk of the decisions that will be necessary for successfulimplementation will be related to business processes rather than software,hardware or network.
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