The Executive CRM Guide

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1 The Executive CRM Guide By Ron Jenkins CRM Strategy Consultant

2 The Executive CRM Guide _ Page 2 of 11 Table of Contents Executive Overview... 3 Guide to CRM Success... 4 Step 1 Conduct CRM Workshop... 4 Step 2 Appoint Effective Steering Committee... 4 Step 3 Define the CRM Vision... 4 Step 4 Define the CRM Strategy... 5 Step 5 Get Executive Commitment... 5 Step 6 Address Corporate Politics... 5 Step 7 Address Organizational Change... 6 Step 8 Define Realistic Budgets... 6 Step 9 Communicate Vision and Strategy... 6 Step 10 Develop Realistic Sales Model... 7 Step 11 Develop and Document Business Processes... 7 Step 12 Develop CRM Performance Metrics... 8 Step 13 Allocate Necessary Resources... 9 Step 14 Develop Realistic Implementation Plan... 9 Step 15 Address Technology Infrastructure Step 16 Address Data Issues Step 17 Conduct Training Step 18 Monitor, Measure, and Enhance System Conclusion About The Author About CTA

3 The Executive CRM Guide _ Page 3 of 11 Executive Overview Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a business strategy designed to optimize profitability, revenue and customer satisfaction. The potential payoff of implementing customer relationship management (CRM) software is enormous. Providing employees in sales, marketing, manufacturing, accounting, or tech support view all pertinent information about a customer can boost both efficiency and customer service. But it's this integrated view of all the relationships that a company and a customer have that makes CRM so complex. In fact, according to Gartner Group, more than 50 percent of all CRM implementations are viewed as failures from the company's point of view. Knowing what to expect when implementing CRM is critical to helping you achieve success. At CTA, we have found that implementing CRM impacts an organization on three fundamental fronts-- cultural, procedural, and technical. The organization must foster behaviors and implement processes and technologies that support coordinated customer interactions throughout all customer channels. As a result, it's crucial to cultivate support from both executives and employees, roll out changes incrementally, and anticipate the technological infrastructure required. CTA has been helping organizations both large and small create strategies and implement technologies that maximize customer relationships. From sales force automation to integrated marketing databases and beyond, CTA has implemented solutions that bring together people, processes and technology to successfully achieve organizational goals. Our methodology to implementing CRM is a top-down, analytical planning approach that takes a broad view of the enterprise, identifies options, and develops a CRM strategy to meet the organization s goals. This unique philosophy for ensuring CRM success is based on the following principles: 1. Understand the organization s mission, direction and goals 2. Develop the strategies to achieve the organization s goals 3. Define the processes required to execute the strategies 4. Implement the technology to execute the processes 5. Create benchmarks and measure results CTA is dedicated to helping organizations improve customer acquisition, profitability, retention and loyalty through the latest CRM solutions and marketing strategies. We build long-term relationships committed to continually improving CRM initiatives and keeping our clients informed of new trends, tactics and technologies. CTA makes CRM Understandable, manageable and profitable for any organization! 3

4 The Executive CRM Guide _ Page 4 of 11 Guide to CRM Success Step 1 Conduct CRM Workshop Always conduct a CRM Workshop before launching any CRM initiative. The organization needs to understand what items are impacting the organizations ability to increase sales and market share. This is critical in preparing your organization to begin thinking about CRM and its processes, as well revealing what those impacting issues are, and if a formal CRM Initiative is really needed. CTA has developed in-depth analysis surveys that systematically identify critical business issues as they relate to people, processes and technology. These surveys facilitate face-to-face discussions with key executives and managers to understand what items are impacting the organizations ability to increase sales. The information is gathered, compiled, recommendations made and presented to Executive Management. Step 2 Appoint Effective Steering Committee One of the classic mistakes made in implementing a CRM solution is to assume that once the new CRM Solution is made available the staff will embrace it and the vision so there is no need to involve everyone in the creation of the vision or the implementation of the CRM Solution. An appropriately staffed steering committee that is used correctly by the project team can have a huge impact on the CRM project and drive it to its success The steering committee should have management representation from all major departments or areas of the organization that will be impacted by the CRM Solution. The steering committee needs to be in sync on the CRM project and have the ability to make decisions and come to agreement quickly on major process and operational issues that set the course for implementation. Lack of a shared involvement approach in creating the CRM Strategy can make it extremely difficult to gain support for the Strategy as well as the CRM project. Step 3 Define the CRM Vision A CRM project should coincide with the corporate mission and vision statements. The CRM Solution should be viewed as a major catalyst in achieving the corporate goals. The vision and how the CRM Solution supports it must be clearly communicated to all areas of the company. If this is not done prior to the launch of CRM project confusion can ensue, and the cooperation required by the staff that will be directly affected by the CRM project can be limited. The responsibility for creating this CRM vision lies with the entire management team of the organization. It should be clear to everyone that the entire leadership of the organization is behind the CRM initiative and expects team effort and cooperation in its success. Equally important to communicating these core values is consensus. The values must be woven into the firm culture. Corporate vision statements will not impact revenue unless each individual accepts the organization s vision and assumes accountability for doing his or her part. 4

5 The Executive CRM Guide _ Page 5 of 11 Step 4 Define the CRM Strategy A CRM strategy needs to clearly define how you will be viewed by and manage all touch points with your customers. It should also define how you plan achieve this result. CRM cannot be viewed as a project or solution separate from your overall business plan. How you develop and grow customer relationships is the lifeblood of your company. Customers must be a core part of your overall business strategy. Departmental strategies, such as the organization s marketing plan, the business development objectives of different departments including sales, customer service, service, marketing, and the IT plan should incorporate elements of the CRM strategy. The strategy should also consider plans to market the new system to internal users and clearly communicate how they will benefit from it. Organizations often make the mistake of treating their CRM software investment similar to back office enterprise software initiatives. When systems are implemented and then simply made available to users without clear communication as to its uses and benefits, projects run a much greater risk of failure. The most successful CRM rollouts are organization wide initiatives that achieve participation from all users. Further, the strategy should incorporate a thorough understanding of the requirements of the user community. Each type of user sales, customer service, service, marketing, administrative staff has different needs. Unless they are taken into consideration in the CRM strategy, obtaining buy-in from each group will be difficult. Because of the ever-evolving nature of customer relationships, a CRM strategy is an ongoing exercise that changes over time. As a result, the CRM initiative could potentially be an overwhelming undertaking unless it is approached in manageable portions. The CRM strategy should therefore include tactics with realistic and achievable milestones that provide value along the way. This allows firms to maintain a strategic perspective while incorporating milestones that provide incentive and motivation for those participating, and real value to the organization. Step 5 Get Executive Commitment The President/CEO needs to send a clear message throughout the organization that highlights the importance of the CRM project and how it matches with the vision, goals and guiding principles that have been adopted throughout the organization. Executive sponsorship needs to be visible throughout the duration of the project. Regular communication from the executive level sharing milestones with the organization can help to demonstrate their long-term commitment. Mid-level management sponsorship is equally as vital to the success of a CRM Project. Without the active sponsorship from all Management it is difficult if not impossible to obtain the level of commitment and participation necessary from the staff that has the required expertise at a functional level to support the needs of a CRM project. Step 6 Address Corporate Politics There is a tendency of one department to worry more about its individual CRM needs and objectives and less about enterprise wide CRM requirements. In such cases, CRM is, at best, departmentalized and, at worst, completely disconnected. In a political enterprise, every department believes they "own" the customer and, therefore, will not share data or support other channels. Always remember that departmental CRM is suboptimal, and can only yield departmental efficiencies and benefits. CRM is about enterprises forming enterprise-level relationships with customers, and allowing individual organizations to maintain control of individual interactions. 5

6 The Executive CRM Guide _ Page 6 of 11 CRM almost always requires departments to change the way they keep track of information, forcing them to convert from a familiar spreadsheet or database to the CRM Solution. CRM Solutions work only when everyone shares their pertinent information and uses the applications. If just one department goes off and starts building separate databases, collecting information, and creating reports that is not standard to the CRM Solution, it will jeopardize the accuracy of the aggregated data and eventually lead to users not using the CRM Solution. Step 7 Address Organizational Change Implementation of a CRM Solution challenges the organization and is a vehicle for transformation, but often the CRM Solution is not properly integrated into the organization. The depth of change required to implement CRM is one of the biggest challenges to its success. Opportunities for change will present themselves in virtually every area of the business, from culture to processes. Organizations that are committed to their CRM vision and that are willing and able to undertake the organization wide changes necessary to execute on their strategy will reap the greatest rewards from their efforts. The majority of the change, approximately 80%, impacts the organizational, management and operations areas. A recent survey conducted by CRM Forum found that 87 percent of the respondents listed change management problems as the primary cause of failure for CRM projects. Step 8 Define Realistic Budgets To ensure the success of CRM initiatives the organization must carefully study the total cost of the project beyond technology acquisition and allocating sufficient resources to implement the CRM Strategy. Included in those costs are staffing, process changes, training, and communication as well as technology investments. Some of these costs are ongoing throughout the life of the initiative and must be considered in resource planning. Treating a CRM initiative as solely an IT project and failing to consider the other organizational costs can result in underutilization of the CRM Solution and fail to effectively execute the organization s CRM Strategy, which ultimately affects revenue. Two CRM budgets should be established one for the initial implementation and one for ongoing support and enhancements to the CRM Solution. The first time a manager is told he/she cannot have a report developed that he needs to manage the business will be the beginning of them not using the system. Not spending the additional money to enhance the CRM Solution sends a signal that the organization is not committed to ongoing support and they need to find another way of performing their job. This will lead to departments developing their own separate databases and reports causing the CRM Solution to be less effective. Step 9 Communicate Vision and Strategy A successful CRM implementation requires organization wide effort and commitment. To accomplish this, there must be consensus as to the organization s vision with buy-in at all levels. At the onset of a project the vision and goals need to be communicated to all employees who will be impacted by it. Regular communication throughout the project will ensure that a project stays on track and does not take any unnecessary detours. The reasons for process change, where the organization wants to be and why should be communicated to all employees. Communicating the benefits of the CRM Solution or the reasons behind an internal process change must also take into account the message recipient. The benefits that a one person can expect can be 6

7 The Executive CRM Guide _ Page 7 of 11 very different from the benefits of another person. If employees do not clearly understand what they will get out of the impending changes and how it will help the organization, the likelihood that they will modify their work habits to accommodate the organization s CRM vision and strategy will be substantially reduced. Organizations that fail to communicate this may experience limited success when the CRM Solution is initially deployed. Step 10 Develop Realistic Sales Model Every business and industry has its own style of selling that defines its sales culture. There are many ways to sell effectively. In an attempt to balance limited resources, many organizations struggle with deploying the most effective sales model. Listed below are steps critical to developing an effective sales and marketing model: Develop Account Profile. Analyze the characteristics of your customers and prospects to find common elements and construct market segments. Develop a method of ranking those accounts to help simplify targeting, analysis, territory alignment, and communication. Then develop a detailed Account Profile Card that encompasses everything the organization needs to know about key accounts. This will help determine information requirements and processes necessary to execute and measure the new sales model. Realign Job Responsibilities. A key function to managing any business is resource allocation. There is always a limited supply of resources and generally unlimited ways in which to focus them in any given situation. Many organizations make the mistake of assigning too many job responsibilities to the sales staff and assume that everything will get done. Realign Territories. Based on workload, sales, potential, and driving time, assign territories and accounts to sale reps that will create an executable, manageable, and measurable sales model. Define Compensation. Compensation and other rewards can either facilitate or hinder organizational collaboration. An organization must ensure that the internal compensation structure is in alignment with the organization s overall CRM vision, Strategy, and job responsibilities, otherwise the sales staff will actually be motivated to undermine the CRM initiative. Define Sales Metrics. Being able to measure and track the efforts of a sales force is a fundamental sales practice. Forecasting and budget projections are an important part of every successful Sales Model. Sales metrics not only measure performance, but also create incentives and goals to be achieved. Setting sales activity goals that are logically and realistically aligned with the Sales Model ensures that appropriate expectations are being placed on the sales force. Document Sales Policy and Procedures. Documenting how the organization s new sales model will achieve business objectives is critical in all sales initiatives. This is the high level Roadmap that will be used by all departments to insure all sales, service, and marketing initiatives are in alignment with corporate objectives. Step 11 Develop and Document Business Processes CRM software cannot create processes, it can only facilitate them. Defining and documenting business processes necessary to execute the CRM Strategy is critical. Failure to do this is a strategic mistake that will inevitably lead to failure or major setback of a CRM project. 7

8 The Executive CRM Guide _ Page 8 of 11 An organization s business process is a set of repeatable steps that defines how that company goes to market and essentially how they run their business. Business processes are unique for every organization and will consist of multiple processes. It is shaped by the products, market, and business climate, competition and especially by the dynamics of the buying companies. This is the detailed road map that all members of the sales team, including sales reps, sales management, pre-sales support reps, customer service, and marketing follow to assure efficient, predictable, repeatable and successful actions that align with corporate objectives. Review Existing Processes. A review of all existing processes is needed to determine if the process needs to be improved and is aligned with the CRM Strategy. Accepting current processes as a given with the requirement they be incorporated into product functionality is to abdicate decision-making and management responsibility. It means that improvement is not possible because change is not possible. What are often overlooked are the changes that must occur in the business, management and operational areas. Define Process for all Touch Points. Existing and desired business processes for each customer touch point must be understood and documented in order to be able to execute the CRM Strategy and utilized the CRM Solution to its full potential. Once these business processes are documented, all areas of the organization that are involved in any part of the process need to validate the process. Most organizations have departments that follow a unique sub-process that is many times unknown to the leadership. These unique interdepartmental processes need to be understood as well to ensure a smooth deployment of the CRM Solution. End user involvement in defining the business process is a major benefit to a CRM project. This will ensure that all pieces of the process are captured as well as help to generate enthusiasm for the project. Document Business Processes. Without defining and documenting business processes it is impossible to have baseline controls, reliable communications, training, or a repeatable process. Business processes to define and document include: Lead Generation Lead Management Quote/Opportunity Management Account Management Sales rep activity management Literature fulfillment Complaint Resolution Equipment/Software Renewal New Customers Order Up-sell/Cross-sell Step 12 Develop CRM Performance Metrics An important part of any rollout of new processes is the expectation of improvement. If you don't expect performance to improve, don't measure it, or manage it, then consequently, you won't see improvement. The organization needs to institute metrics to measure the organizations CRM Strategy ongoing success and its overall payback to the organization. Metrics serve two primary purposes. First they provide objective data as to the effectiveness of your organization s CRM strategy. Second, they can provide early warning signals that something in your plan is not working. This would allow you to catch problems early before they threaten the overall success of your implementation. Establishing these baseline metrics requires that the firm do cost and revenue analysis both before and after the implementation. Doing so provides the comparative data essential to measure the effectiveness in real terms of the CRM Strategy. 8

9 The Executive CRM Guide _ Page 9 of 11 Metrics should be established to capture information on both the tactical benefits of your initiative as well as the strategic. From a tactical perspective, you will want to capture information on cost-savings and efficiency gains you have derived from the initiative. Baseline metrics should also be established for evaluating the strategic benefits that impact the organization s overall strength, reputation, client satisfaction and revenue. Step 13 Allocate Necessary Resources CRM Projects are very demanding. People must be managed, process must be managed, clients or users must be managed, schedules and timelines must be managed, all in a coordinated and simultaneous fashion. Necessary resources at all levels must be allocated for project success. Appoint a skilled CRM Project Manager. The CRM project manager must be a good leader and not afraid to challenge management and the organization s business processes. The CRM project manager should report directly to President and lead the CRM steering committee. If he/she is worried about offending someone or disagreeing with their supervisor then they will not be able to effectively lead the project team. Finding a change leader who has no affiliation with the organization, but can quickly hone in on the current corporate culture can save months of hardship in a CRM Solution and make the difference between success and failure. Appoint a CRM Support Person. It is recommended that this person be someone from the sales or marketing department. This is a full-time position support position to assist management and employees with the use of the CRM Solution. All questions regarding how to use the CRM Solution should be directed to this person. This person will also be responsible for developing and conducting user training and monitoring users to ensure compliance with proper usage of the CRM Solution in accordance with the Sales Policy and Procedures. Appoint an IT Support Person. The implementation of any CRM Solution is dependent on technology. Having the right skill set available to support the technology is critical to the implementation. Allocate Technical CRM Resources. While the approach to use out of the box functionality is recommended it is not completely realistic. The sales model and the business processes will be unique to your organization and some level of custom modification will be necessary. Developing the reports to run the business is extremely critical. Failure to develop adequate reporting will result in users creating separate databases and developing reporting outside the standard CRM Solution. Step 14 Develop Realistic Implementation Plan Complete the CRM design before implementing. The CRM Strategy, Sales Model, and Business Processes should be defined before implementing a CRM Solution. Without these the project may result in a poor roll-out to the end-users. It will also result in discovering new issues to address at various phases of implementation, causing the project team to go back to the initial planning stages and assess the impact of these changes. This adds overhead in terms of analysis, research coordination, communication, and documentation above and beyond the actual completion of the new tasks. This unaccounted for overhead is often never incorporated in the schedule and may cause the project scope to be changed or delayed. Implement the Project in a phased approach. Implementing the project should be done in phases and begin with a pilot group of people. This will provide quick wins and good feedback about what works and what doesn t. All phases of the project should be clearly defined and effectively communicated throughout the organization. There should be no element of surprise regarding initial implementation scope and functionality. Develop a realistic schedule. An overly optimistic schedule based on overly optimistic time estimates for project activities and tasks puts tremendous pressure on all project team members and both morale and 9

10 The Executive CRM Guide _ Page 10 of 11 productivity will ultimately suffer. Creating an overly aggressive schedule sets a project up to fail by underestimating the scope, not allowing time for effective planning, and abbreviating critical activities. Deploying a CRM Solution before it s thoroughly been tested and signed off by the Pilot Group can have disastrous effects. Step 15 Address Technology Infrastructure CRM is a business strategy, but it is dependent on technology. The right systems and the overall architecture required to support the strategy needs to be in place prior to implementation of any CRM Solution. This includes purchasing Software, PC s, Servers, Laptops, as well as hiring IT Technical necessary to support the CRM Solution and the technology. Step 16 Address Data Issues At its core, CRM is about data--customer, product, inventory and transaction. This is a huge amount of information that must be in the right place, in the right format, at the right time. All data, including legacy and independent departmental databases must be reviewed. The organization must have a complete understanding of the quality of their data--how to clean it up, how to keep it clean, where to source it and what third-party data is required. Intimate understanding of the information you will need and its purpose will enable you to plan a data integration strategy that will yield a much more effective and powerful implementation. Moreover, you should not only investigate what data is needed, but also how it will be used to support your CRM vision. Step 17 Conduct Training Lack of a well-defined plan for training can cripple a CRM deployment. Failure to accurately estimate training needs and modify the plan as the project status dictates is a mistake that can cause immense pain to an organization. A successful CRM implementation requires organization wide effort and commitment. To accomplish this, all employees must be educated on what the corporate goals and CRM Strategy. Formal training manuals and process should be developed to encompass the following: What are the business objectives What the strategy is to achieve business objectives How the sales model is structured to execute the strategies What the sales policies and procedures are for the sale model How to implement and use the CRM Solution How the organization will monitor and measure performance Step 18 Monitor, Measure, and Enhance System When organizations don t get the results they were expecting from a CRM Solution it is usually because they were not effective with one or more of the following: Management Must Use The CRM Solution. It s crucial that ALL management lead by example and use the CRM Solution. Sales Management cannot continue to do their job the same way and expect others to do things differently. Senior management must also set expectations and confirm those expectations with every sales manager and employee in their department. CRM Solution Reporting must be used in departmental and management meetings. Monitor System Usage. The next step is to regularly monitor CRM Solution usage. This should be an ongoing process and if only short term focused, the potential improvements that can come from building a high performance sales process won t be realized. This should be an item in weekly sales meetings to continually reinforce management expectations and the elements of the sales process itself. 10

11 The Executive CRM Guide _ Page 11 of 11 Measure Performance. An important part of continuing sales improvement is to measure performance of your sales model and its business processes. If you don't expect performance to improve, don't measure it, or manage it, then consequently, you won't see improvement. The organization needs to institute metrics to measure the organizations CRM Strategy and its overall payback to the organization. Enhance the System. As the new sales model is adopted and the business processes refined there will be a need to enhance the system to meet user needs. Enhancing the system is critical to continued use of the CRM Solution and failure to make changes will result in the organization not realizing the full benefit of its CRM Strategy. Conclusion Despite the significant benefits, a majority of CRM initiatives fail to achieve the full success promised. CRM initiatives fail not because they cannot be done, but because of the way an organization approaches the implementation. The key to success lines in the knowledge and ability taken into the project. If an organization knows what the real problems are they are trying to solve and has developed a roadmap of what needs to be done, they are much more likely to succeed. Successful CRM initiatives are those taken very seriously by the organization and understand the need to hire or bring in an experience CRM Project Manager, who will educate and guide the organization using CRM best practices. About The Author Ron Jenkins has over 20 years of helping companies streamline operations and apply technology to meet growth objectives for organizations running on the IBM i (iseries, AS/400) platform. Ron s diverse business background includes co-founding and growing a technology company to over 9 million in revenue, developing a CRM Solution called (now owned by Infor), VP of Professional Services for a national systems integrator and provides CIO and CRM services to multiple companies. Contact Ron at or About CTA CTA is dedicated to helping organizations improve customer acquisition, profitability, retention and loyalty through the latest CRM solutions and marketing strategies. From analysis and planning through post-implementation evaluation, we keep the focus on overall organization goals and bottom-line results so you will realize maximum success from your CRM project. We build long-term relationships dedicated to continually improving CRM initiatives and keeping our clients informed of new trends, tactics and technologies. Contact CTA at: , or 11

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