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CRM Initiative Success: Executive Support and Beyond

Knowing the factors making a CRM initiative successful

Did you know that up to 90% of a CRM initiative’s success has nothing to do with technology? It's a surprising fact given that a CRM is a form of technology, but it's true.

CRM Executive Buy In-photoAnd if a form of technology is the only way executives see CRMs, the benefits for their businesses will remain limited.

Here’s the breakdown of the three keys to successful CRM initiatives.

  • Communicating how essential CRM is to enhancing customer-facing business processes – 30% of success
  • Securing buy-in from key people for the enhanced processes – 60% of success
  • Applying the CRM technology to support the enhanced processes – 10% of success

 

Let’s look at that second key, getting buy-in. You’ll notice it’s the biggest success factor, and we can tell you from experience it starts with leadership. The president can’t expect the team to embrace a CRM if they don't.

Are you an executive? What's your understanding of the CRM concept? How do you expect it to transform your processes? And how can you promote it to your team to convince them it’s worth their effort to adopt it?

All executives value – no, demand – accurate business insights because without them, wise leadership is impossible. They also know the importance of easily and efficiently generating reports and analytics. CRM does this.

And executives know they need to gear up when business demands are accelerating. This is when a consultant can be valuable, helping them identify strategic data for their business and customizing a CRM so they can capture information to yield business intelligence while increasing the efficiency of processes.

In organizations with successful CRM initiatives, executive support stands out as the most critical ingredient for success. Executives must encourage their direct reports to actively participate.

As the leader of your business, once you’ve seen the positive impact CRM can have on your processes and growth and you’re ready to move forward with a CRM solution, what can you do to increase the likelihood of a successful implementation? These steps, useful during any new initiative, lay the foundation for the most effective CRM initiatives.

CRM impacts relationships among people

CRM Executive Kick-off

The president introduces the CRM concept to their executive management team. This executive briefing defines CRM, highlighting its value proposition as it applies to their industry and market. What's your goal in this CRM initiative? Unite the team around that goal. Then identify the pain points and the benefits that illustrate why the organization should undertake the initiative. Include the likely ROI.

During this kick-off meeting, follow these tips to convince the executive team:

  • Arrange for a CRM expert to be there to facilitate the meeting and answer questions.
  • Speak their language. Use business terms they're familiar with in a tone that's consistent with your corporate culture.
  • Link the CRM initiative tightly to your organization’s business direction.
  • Keep technology out of the meeting. This may seem counter-intuitive, but demonstrations will come later. This is a concept-level meeting.
  • Encourage questions and answer them thoughtfully and thoroughly.

 

CRM Learning Journey

When the executive team is on board, the president organizes and promotes a mandatory “learning journey” for staff who will be daily users. Explain how the CRM initiative will benefit them and the business. Observe the following two requirements:

Ensure the 3x Factor. To drive maximum user adoption, the system must deliver at least three pieces of valuable information for each piece of information users enter into the system. Fall short of this 3x factor, and your CRM initiative is doomed. Strong language, we know, but true to our experience. Deliver 3x or more, and you’re well on your way to success.

But what constitutes valuable information? Ask users. One that’s almost always valuable is comprehensive customer profiles. Is this person a prospect, customer, ideal customer, or source of referrals? And what information do you think is valuable for users to enter? Again, ask them and carefully consider their input as you and your consultant are customizing your fields.

Plan communications and training well. Your communication plan should describe which users will receive which types of information about the CRM initiative, when, and in which format. This isn’t about keeping secrets; it’s about paying attention to which information is useful to which people.

Think about where user hesitancy/resistance is most likely to occur, and why. By being proactive, you can communicate and train to head off problems caused by preconceptions, misunderstandings, and even fear.

Even the best CRM solution won't be able to deliver on its potential without proper support from the top and preparation for its broad implementation. In other words, technology is the tool, but people are the key to success.

We’re here to help each step of the way as you make the business case, prepare direct reports to carry the CRM charge forward with appropriate communication and training, and launch. Whatever stage of the decision you're in, we invite you to reach out.

Contact Dick or Julie at 269-445-3001 for that next important conversation.

Download eBook How to Successfully Select and Implement a CRM

 

Related Resources:

7 key benefits for C-level executives when considering CRM

Articles on Executive Buy-In

 

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