CRM is an integrated management system focused on customers and prospective customers. It contains the processes and procedures that build a business management model centred on a 360° approach to the customer.
Many people look to implement a CRM solution but assume it is a case of purchasing some software, installing it and that’s it – your business is better and you win more deals. Sadly this isn’t the case and a CRM project plan needs to be put in place before you start to win all those extra deals.
As I have said before in other blogs, CRM is just an enabler. It is the tool used to help you manage and control your business. It allows you to have better visibility of everything to do with your customer as well as improving and streamlining processes within your organisations.
Implementing CRM gives you the chance to review the way you currently work and ask the key question “Why do we do it that way?” – the worst possible response is “Because we have always done it that way”. You need to look at how you work, look at your most successful deals (the quickest, the biggest, the ones with the highest profit) and work out how you can recreate those and cut out the unsuccessful deals (spending lots of time on a deal and you don’t win, eating at your margin, working with customers that don’t fit with your ethos/culture).
From my experience, a CRM project plan is imperative and these are the things you should be working on and have sorted before any software is even installed:
CRM Project Plan
1. Reflect and Analyse
- Review your internal processes – what steps happen from initial contact from a customer to winning a deal? Who works most effectively? And can you replicate the way they work? What are the most time consuming steps? What steps add no value to your business and can you automate/remove them.
- Look at your current systems – what do you use for e-mail, for document management, for quoting and invoicing? Do you have a CRM at present that doesn’t work – if so then why doesn’t it work for you? Do you record all the information you need and where is it all stored?
- Speak to people – talk to your employees. Ask if they have used a system in a previous role and did they like it? Speak to your partners, suppliers and customers and see what they use. Contact Sysco or Microsoft and ask to speak to similar organisations who use these systems to get a better understanding of the benefits.
2. Get a team together
- Create a CRM team within your organisation. Make the team small enough to manage but large enough to get the whole organisations requirements covered. Include end users (gets buy in early and allows them to have their say) as well as management (it needs driven from the top and staff need to know what the organisation expects of them) and get people who can make decisions (nothing wastes more time than meetings that have no outcomes because they need to ask permission from someone outside the team).
- Get a Sponsor/Champion. This person OWNS the CRM project, it is there baby. They are the ones that will drive the project forward, will organise meetings and get things done. This person needs to believe in the benefits of CRM, they need to be central to it and be day to day user of the system (or at least administer it). This person can be an internal sales/marketing person or someone within IT that has a passion for the business and understands how the organisation works.
- Calculate the cost of not doing it. What impact are the current systems (or lack of) having on the business? How much time is wasted doing manual tasks (salaries, time, missed deal etc.)? Where does the organisation want to be in 3/5/10 years and can they do it with the systems they have?
- Consider Return on Investment. How many new deals could you close if you had more time? How many man hours could you save? This can be very difficult to put a figure on but at least understand how the system will pay for itself, even if you can’t put a number on it.
- Prioritise! Countless times I have been in CRM workshops and the requirements grow and grow and grow. Once you can see the capabilities and what you can do then people get excited and want the world. List your requirements and priorities them, if budget is tight then focus on the main pain points and start small. Get the first few requirements scoped and budgeted for to ensure you don’t spend money on features that are just nice to have. Once you use the system you may have a better understanding of what you want and then can look at future phases.
- CRM costs are broken down in to 3 areas – Software, Services and Support.
Software – easy figure to budget. Work out the number of users and the access they require and a CRM partner can quote. The big decision here is if you buy outright (On Premise) or subscribe (CRM Online); but a CRM Partner can explain the pros and cons.
Services – the hardest figure to budget. How long is a piece of string? Services is all based on time, and the more complex the CRM then the more time it will take to implement. The good thing about services is that this can be brought down if the budget is limited and time can be reduced by the customer doing some of the tasks. A strong requirements gathering will help a CRM partner work out the deliverables and give an accurate quote of the time to implement. The most the CRM partner knows the more accurate the quote will be. No one wants to be in a position where there is misinterpretation and assumptions and expectations aren’t aligned so spending some time here is key to getting the right budget!
Support – most partners will offer telephone and e-mail support. This will be an annual fee that will allow you to speak to someone local if any problems or errors occur. This cost will likely be based on user numbers or complexity of the system but this can be worked out quickly by the CRM partner. CRM Support is like insurance – you hope it is a waste of money and you never have to use it but it’s comforting to know that if anything goes wrong you can pick up the phone and someone will sort it out for you.
- Start cleaning now! Garbage in/Garbage Out so it is key that any data put in to a new CRM system is clean and accurate.
- If users can’t trust the data then they won’t trust the system and will revert back to their old ways.
- Get all the data into an Excel spreadsheet (Columns will be each field) and populate your data. Split the work up by getting all Account Managers/BDMs to clean their own contacts and someone central to put it all together.
- Train the trainer – CRM Partner trains your CRM Champion and they train internally. Reduces long term costs.
- Classroom training – plan dates for training classes. Aim to have 6 people in a class to make it effective. Create groups by their role and what they are expected to do in CRM.
- Plan dates for when you want to go live. Consider the following when working dates:
Internal resources – busy times of year, allow people time to do their day job
External resources – CRM partners will have multiple projects at a time so be aware of any lead times. The sooner a CRM partner knows when you want to start a project then the sooner they can plan and schedule their consultants.
Training – when are people available and in one location? A Quarterly sales meeting? Plan training for when people are at head office if they are remote users.
- Expectations – standard CRM projects can take anywhere between 2-4 months from start to finish. Projects can be done quicker but we find that due to Customer’s responsibilities (i.e. day job, dealing with their own customers, holidays etc.) that projects can take this amount of time. Get a plan together at the start and stick to it if you have tight deadlines.
Why not contact Sysco and we will help you plan all the above, answer any questions you may have on what is involved in a CRM project or even help you work on budgets.
Hopefully this CRM project plan gives you an idea of what is involved and means you can start preparing now to ensure your CRM project is successful.
by Richard Dunlop