The following is a helpful outline for leading a successful CRM initiative. The importance of communications and education themes are highlighted throughout!
It's important to layer in the proven success principles: 60% is on people, 30% is on processes, and 10% on technology. Too many times this order is just the opposite.
Marketing the CRM Project
One key to completing a successful CRM project is to find the motivators and “Perks” of the CRM system that your end-users will benefit from. Then build a groundswell of interest and anticipation around the CRM project. To “sell” the user community on the utility is crucial to the long-term success of this project. CRM will fundamentally change the daily workflow of many users. The CRM project team should take a thoughtful, strategic approach to proactively “marketing” the CRM project to the entire user base.
The over-arching goals of this marketing plan are to:
- Communicate Intent
- Create Awareness
- Generate Interest
- Demonstrate Value
- Build Anticipation
1 - Letter From the President
Early in the CRM project, the executive management team should exert their sponsorship of the CRM project. This should be further demonstrated through an “All Employees” announcement via email. This communication should be written to both announce the project and expose the intended benefits of its deployment. Leverage this announcement to also clarify project management leaders coupled with the request for volunteers, opinions, and testers.
2 - Who is involved
In addition to the Executive team, it is important for the Department Heads to be communicating the Role and Job Specific functions of CRM. This communication plan should both demonstrate the intended attributes and solicit feedback and thoughts from the team. Inclusion is the name of the game here. If people have a role and influence on the end result then they have started on the path to Buy-in!
3 - Volunteers Needed
There should be involvement from end-users in this project so it is seen as a project for the people, by the people.. Ensure the employees understand the new system is NOT going to be Big Brother watching over them for the executive management. BUT – it IS going to be THEIR System - a utility to enable work to happen faster, better, and Easier. Once end-users have an influence on the project they will want to use it. Don’t think for them. Don’t think you can. Ensure you have a healthy mix of generations and personality types. At a minimum, have the following personalities from each department involved.
The Top Performer - If you can emulate the behavior of you top performers in CRM, it will make the value hard to refute.
The Resistor – Complainer – This person is key because often they complain for good reason and if you can remedy those issues through the functions of CRM, it enables you to identify very tangible “wins”. The complainer also has the propensity to become your biggest cheerleader.
The Innovator –Identify an early adopter of technology in your organization. This person can provide the vision of new ways “to do it” and this will enable you to shed old business practices that are antiquated and obsolete. This might be your project champion.
The Customer - If you don’t reach out to your customer base, then why even do the CRM project? Find out what they think and make sure CRM does it.
4 - Milestone Updates
The Communication plan must include planned, regular installments on where things are progressing to. These milestones should continue to update and share details on project discoveries, Wow moments, and other exciting developments. Use multiple media formats to ensure you’re reaching all of your audiences.
5 - Teaser Demos
As the development and configuration of the new CRM progress, the project team will be well served by providing a “Teaser” demo of the pending look and feel. This is meant to show off the concept and build some anticipation for the pending deployment. It should also request feedback & constructive criticisms. This teaser should also demonstrate some of the tangible benefits shared in the “Letter from the President” email that announced the project. Use tools like Zoom and record these events.
6 - Video Links
In an effort to get ahead of the user adoption challenges, it is a good idea to provide brief (1 or 2 minutes) video shorts that educate on CRM basics. Simple ideas like Outlook integration, mobile access, or adding a contact to the database. It is good to focus these shorts on some of the major complaints that you seek to overcome as part of the CRM deployment. Demonstrate how MUCH easier it will be with CRM.
7 - Data Clean Up
As the old saying goes, Garbage-In Garbage-Out. It is imperative to have a data clean-up strategy. This strategy should have User Involvement. Starting with their personal Outlook – and schedule Lunch & Learn Sessions on the calendar. So it gets done. Take this opportunity to further promote good data stewardship starts at data clean up and continues with the launch of CRM. These events will be part project management and part project marketing.
8 - Quiet Selling – Project Team
Section #3 Volunteers needed – solicited participation from the masses. Not only will these people be integral to the project success from a design and build, BUT the propagation of their story back to others on staff is key. I spoke, they listened and built it sentiments are like little seeds of anticipation and excitement over the pending utility of the CRM system. Quiet Selling over the water cooler conversations, peer acceptance to build toward the launch date.
9 - Launch Party
Work Hard – Play Hard. Celebrate success as the icing on the cake to the CRM Project. Hopefully, all of the communication and internal marketing plan built a buzz about the project. The End is just the beginning. The Day should be a celebration of completion and a celebration of arrival! A company-wide holiday. Training classes topped with Launch videos and then the Party with project awards and training prizes. With launch should come the next wave of marketing - Gamification! Whoever does the most (Whatever) New calls, most emails, most clients, best pipeline, closed tickets…. You name the games to measure success and reward it.
10 - Training, Training, Training
The three most important things to do after the launch are Training, Training, & More Training. It is great to have cooperated trainers or departmental trainers. But also Tips and tricks sessions / Lunch and Learn taught by peers takes the pressure off training, allows peers to share expertise, and encourages adoption. There is a great example where a manager took a resistor out to lunch with a heavy adopter, for every “I can’t” the resistor had the adopter as a “Sure you can” they schedule a time together to “Show you” by the end of lunch. Don’t constrain your team to a day of training. Learning should be a multi-modal and ongoing initiative. Recording, manuals, lunch and learn internal social media. Let training be limitless and never-ending.