People: An Opportunity, Not a Roadblock
Previously we talked about CRM Implementation being a team effort and to think of the people involved as an opportunity and not a roadblock, read more here.
A CRM system can make or break a growing company. The right one can boost your business development efforts, helping you grow revenue from existing customers while cost-effectively identifying and winning new "ideal" customers. The wrong one? Well, we'd rather not go there …
Having an optimal CRM system in place — one that addresses your business needs, serves your customers well and pleases your employees — is a high-stakes proposition. Unless you have dedicated staff to handle everything from choosing and customizing a solution to implementing the software and training users, you're going to need a qualified partner to do much of the heavy lifting.
Most businesses don't have the skills, resources and years of experience in designing and implementing tailored CRM solutions. So it's better to spend your business-critical resources on clarifying the expected outcomes, the defined business processes and how your people will be interacting with CRM. Then, you can communicate all of that information to the right trusted partner.
Here's a look at the value a skilled CRM consultant can deliver. (Our thanks to Jeff Hanrahan, Infor CRM product manager, assoc., for his input.)
Choosing a System
Engaging with a CRM partner early on — and making him part of the process of choosing a CRM system — will ultimately produce the best possible outcome. He can draw on his domain knowledge and past experience when evaluating questions such as these:
- Do leaders across different departments agree that the system aligns with company strategy and supports both near- and long-term goals?
- Will it improve the work lives of employees by simplifying and automating tasks?
- Is it flexible enough to adapt to and meet the evolving needs of employees and the company as a whole?
At Success With CRM Consulting, we often create a proof of concept that is based on how your people accomplish various tasks and shows how we'd address those needs with a solution like Infor CRM.
For more on this topic, check out our blog post, "Things to Remember When Choosing a CRM System."
Getting the Right "Pilots"
At Success With CRM Consulting, we build user pilot groups of three to eight people when designing a CRM system for each specific business. First and foremost, it's important to get the input of a representative mix of people from your organization. A field sales rep, for example, will have very different goals and business use requirements than a customer service rep. A properly assembled user group will reflect these differences.
Your CRM partner should also look to choose people who are thoughtful, are likely to give substantive feedback and clearly want to be part of the process. Finding employees who will be using the system on a daily basis is another critical factor, as they will provide useful insights and have a vested interest in optimizing your CRM solution to work for the way you do business. Many times, pilot team members become the power users and first responders to end-user questions after CRM goes live.
"The most critical thing you can do is understand the people who will be using the system and how they'll use it," Hanrahan notes. "If you have that, the risk of implementing the wrong system will go down significantly."
Keep in mind: Even though not everyone in a pilot group will necessarily be using the CRM system at first, they might be using it in the future. So that interesting tidbit picked up from a customer service rep might come into play when the partner is tweaking the software down the line.
To be continued ... with capturing user feedback, promoting user adoption, training users, etc.