10 Steps to CRM Success

By Heather Baldwin

Want to greatly minimize the chances your CRM implementation will become bogged down or fail outright? In his new book, CRM Automation, author Barton Goldenberg, president of Bethesda, Maryland-based Information Systems Marketing, Inc. (ISM), outlines a 10-step approach for successfully implementing a CRM system. Following these 10 steps, writes Goldenberg, will improve your chances of CRM success:

1. Organize your project management team. The team should include a project champion, preferably a senior executive responsible for ensuring managerial and financial backing throughout the project; a project leader with business process and technical skills; and a project user group comprised of end-users responsible for providing feedback to the project leader.

2. Determine the functions to automate by doing a CRM audit that contains questionnaires, face-to-face interviews with both customers and customer-facing personnel, visits with field sales reps, a review of business processes, a technical assessment and a final report.

3. Gain top management support and commitment. Successful CRM deployments are backed by leaders who view CRM systems as more a business tool than a technological tool.

4. Employ technology smartly. Select systems with an open architecture so the system can be enhanced and enlarged over time to incorporate such technologies as smart phones, PDAs, voice-recognition software, wireless technologies and graphics support.

5. Secure user ownership. Get users involved early on to ensure the system meets their needs.

6. Prototype the system. Small-scale experimentation tests functionality and demonstrates objectives can be met without the massive costs associated with a full-scale deployment.

7. Train users. Training is a multi-step process and should include demonstrations, adequate documentation for users, online tutorials and a telephone “help” line.

8. Motivate personnel. Show users their importance and their impact in terms of the CRM system.

9. Administrate the system. Assign one person or department to be responsible for overseeing the “welfare” of the CRM system, ensuring the information therein is timely, relevant and easy to access.

10. Keep management committed. Set up a committee to provide quarterly briefings to senior management concerning the status of the CRM project.

CRM Automation is now available. To purchase a copy, call (800) 811-0912 or click here.