We have been covering important rules in the success of CRM for your business, now and into the future. Previously in "Before You Start - Success with Customer Relationship Management" we covered four key rules:
1. CRM is More than a product, it's a philosophy.
2. Customers are Everywhere: client, vendors, employees, partners.
3. Don't confuse CRM with contact management.
4. CRM solutions are different for mid-sized companies.
Next let's cover Your First Steps:
"Good plans shape good decisions. That's why good planning helps to make elusive dreams come true": Lester Robert Bittel.
This leads to the fifth key rule:
5. Planning pays
To ensure a successful CRM project, planning is essential. Begin by defining the needs for a CRM solution. Arm yourself with the background information to justify the investment costs and to demonstrate where the benefits, savings, and ROI will come from.
Next, define the stakeholders in the project and the use of the needs analysis and benefit projections as a foundation for establishing a common company-wide goal for CRM.
Some of the goals I've heard from prospects and clients have been:
- Increase visibility of our sales opportunities and future sales revenue that will provide funding for new projects.
- Provide tools for our sales professionals to track their conversations, emails, proposals, commitments and required follow-up activity so they are at the top of their game.
- Increase the customer's satisfaction and feedback on our products. What issues are they experiencing and what product improvements are they suggesting?
- Link all of our accounting-related documents, work papers and other communications with our accounting clients and tie our IRS-filed form documents into our CRM system.
- Display links to past sales of products and service work so that we can more quickly identify which customers need more proactive follow-up and who needs attention before they drop off of our radar and stop buying.
- Integrate the original basic sales quote into an accurate and professional looking quote that we can email to a prospect or customer, and later track the revision history of change requests.
- Identify the leads obtained from our web site and assigned to real estate agents, so they can schedule follow-up communications easily and so our sales management team can help guide the agents as needed.
With this ground work completed, you can establish a budget, planning for the costs associated with identifying vendors, testing solutions, implementation, integration, training, and support.
A team should be assembled to begin the drive towards completion of the project - a drive that begins with a clear description of your company's CRM objectives and any processes that will have to be modified to make the project successful. Make sure the head of this team is a CRM evangelist - someone who completely believes that CRM will make a difference.
Good planning will involve discussions with internal and external customers. What are the best practices for your sales force, for your marketing team, for customer service? Also consider the various types of data that are important to track for each group involved.
Data required by different groups of system users such as field sales representatives may be different from those of customer service agents. Plan for the needs of each group by confirming that your data requirements list is complete.
Remember: any person who requires information available through the CRM solution should be considered a system user, whether he or she is an internal staff member or an external partner.
Planning and Managing successful change download PDF
Success with CRM requires planning- using the POST method.
What planning steps can you share that have been helpful?