Ok so this is a little tongue in cheek but these words when strung together can take on a completely different - and sometimes unintended - meaning. This simple example of what is said by one person to another can often be misinterpreted. In business situations, it is the single biggest reason for project failure and fall outs.
Over the 20+ years I have been consulting around the use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems the gap between what the buyer asks for and what the seller delivers is the single biggest reason for project failure. Having been in this situation myself (but I've learnt some good lessons!) I thought I'd share some tips with anyone who is about to embark on a new CRM project (or any type of project for that matter).
Tip 1: Like a good Carpenter - measure twice, cut once
I cannot emphasise enough about the need for good planning and design BEFORE you start implementation. Have all your processes mapped out beforehand and ensure that you know the reason for doing the process and its benefit to the business and individual who will be using the process.
When I go into companies that are looking to replace their existing CRM, very often they are unhappy with their existing CRM because it was never configured properly in the first instance. Sometimes their existing CRM can be made to work but all too often disenchantment has set in and a fresh start is sought.
If you're not sure what your processes are yet or what the likely impact will be from implementing a new process then be prepared to spend additional time, effort and money implementing, fine tuning and re-implementing a process. I often see situations where the budget has been spent on the initial purchase and new processes are poorly implemented by the customer [supplier now in reactive support mode] leading, again, to disenchantment with the software.
Tip 2: Budget well
Who decides how much to spend on your new CRM system? How was the budget amount derived? All too often an unrealistic budget figure is set before engaging with the CRM suppliers. This is a recipe for project failure. Suppliers vie for the business and estimate down the likely overall cost in order to sweeten their offering in the eyes of the client and to remain price competitive.
One area which commonly causes the budget to increase is in data migration. Skimp in this area, or get this wrong, and your new CRM system will never function as intended. Poor quality in, poor quality out. Decide, what data to bring in, what each field of information is going to be used for and when. How many different data silos do you operate? are all silos being replaced with the new system? Do any need to co-exist and keep in sync with each other? How much data is there? What indexes need to be applied to the database to speed up keyword/field searching? Very often a customer will budget one to two days to import their data into the new system. Be realistic and budget accordingly.
Tip 3: What is the value to the business
In this example, I'll paint a picture of a small business owner. For simplicity the business owner is a he :) So the business owner has set a budget of 20K on a new CRM system. The CRM system will effectively help keep control of the entire sales, marketing and customer service parts of the operation. Time will be saved and his end customers will see a marked improvement in customer care..... how much is that worth to the business? What if the actual investment cost was more like 40k? You need to identify the value of the system to the business otherwise the budget and system is just seen as a cost to the business and not an investment. In the example above, the business owner might not think twice about spending 40K on a new BMW car and baulk at the thought of spending the same on a system that will help run his entire operation more efficiently. I've lost count of the number of small businesses with around 10-20 staff who only budget 5K on a CRM system.
Be clear about the value of the system to the business from the outset.
Tip 4: Be prepared for a culture change
The best planning and configuration will just fall flat if the end users are ill-informed or not prepared for change. If I was given the keys to a thoroughbred racing car and told to drive around a race track, I'm pretty sure that if I gave Michael Schumacher the keys to my Volkswagen, he'd still beat me. I wouldn't be at ease with the car and I'd probably crash in any case :( With a little tuition, tips and incentives, I'm sure my lap times would come right down.
But seriously, you're going to find all sorts of personalities involved in the project. Some people hate change, others have hidden agendas, some embrace new systems and apply their own styles etc.. The bottom line is education, training and benefits realisation.
Understand the benefits each user is going to get from the new system. Identify areas which may result in a slowdown in some tasks for one user but which are necessary to the overall speed up of the process across the business.
Get CRM right and your business will grow, will be more efficient and will empower your workforce. Get it wrong and you may whale beef hooked.