Properly implemented, deployed and managed, a CRM system will bring significant benefits to your organisation. It will help you manage your data, run your marketing campaigns, streamline your sales processes, help prevent you losing customers to your competition and avoid missing out on new opportunities. It will make it easier for your sales people to sell, improve customer service and a whole range of business processes in between.

Above all, a modern, well-implemented CRM system will improve the effectiveness of your business across nearly all its key functions.

When CRM systems are properly implemented, the results can be outstanding. But, for a variety of reasons, CRM projects sometimes fail. So, here are the TSG Top Ten ‘Do’s and Don’ts to ensure the success of your CRM project:

  1. DON’T see CRM as just software. Even for small implementations a CRM project is a strategic shift involving staff, processes and procedures
  2. DO allocate internal resources and schedule staff time specifically dedicated to your CRM project (your business partner will be able to advise you on the amount required – it varies between organisations and projects)
  3. DON’T choose a CRM software solution until you have carefully considered what you want your system to do, and have set some objectives and KPI’s. Once you’ve identified the key factors and ‘pains’ you need to overcome, you can then decide on the best software to do it
  4. DO adopt and work to a CRM project management methodology
  5. DO get buy-in from your staff – make sure they clearly see the advantages, have provided input, understand the system and are trained to use it properly
  6. DO review the system on a regular basis. As your business changes, so will your CRM system. Regularly review its functionality from a process, user and technical perspective
  7. DON’T forget to update your documentation, processes and procedures to reflect changes when you alter, update or change your CRM system
  8. DO take time to choose the right business partner. Make sure they are experienced: check their references, technical accreditations and ask for case studies of previous work. Above all, they should demonstrate a clear understanding of your business requirements and be able to translate these to business benefits
  9. DO choose a business partner that provides a full range of services, has more than one CRM software option, and can demonstrate their ability to implement your CRM system quickly, with minimal disruption to your business
  10. DON’T stop communicating! Arguably, the most common cause of failure of CRM projects is poor communication. This includes internal communications, for example between IT, project managers and end users, as well as between business partners and client companies

CRM technology itself is rapidly developing and changing. The advent of ‘Social CRM’, the growth of hosted CRM, cloud computing, integrated solutions and ‘xRM’ (where the ‘x’ means ‘Anything’ – it’s not just about customers anymore) and increased computing power all mean CRM projects can become even more far-reaching and complex. But despite technology moving on, these top ten Do’s and Don’ts are still directly relevant.

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