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The Three Steps. Authored by: Mark Christie President. For more information: Salesforce Training & Consulting


Academic year: 2021

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The Three Steps

To a Successful CRM Implementation

Authored by:

Mark Christie | President

For more information:

Salesforce Training & Consulting

150 Ferrand Drive, Suite 800 Toronto, Ontario, Canada

M3C 3E5

info@salesforcetraining.com 1-800-761-SFTC (7382)


The Three Steps To A Successful CRM Implementation

©2011 Salesforce Training & Consulting Ltd. • 800-150 Ferrand Drive • Toronto ON M3C 3E5 1-800-761-SFTC (7382) • www.salesforcetraining.com • All rights reserved.

Table of Contents

Selecting The Right CRM For Your Business ... 3

Start With a Plan ... 4

Compare Your Options ... 4

Growing With Your Business ... 5

The Role Of Sales Process In CRM ... 6

The Role of Process ... 6

Example ... 7

The Value of Process Mapping ... 7

Maximize CRM Adoption Rates ... 9

The Main Culprits ... 9


CRM success isn’t only about technology; rather, it is a successful integration of three critical variables: People, Business Processes and Technology Solutions. Getting everyone in your organization to focus on your customers will drive the adoption of the CRM technology. Before deciding on which system, you must, in fact, forget entirely about the system until you understand exactly how you and your people will interact with everyone through CRM. You cannot impose it - you have to get excellent commitment and enthusiasm from everyone in your organisation, which is a lot of work, and means they must all feel their needs for communication have been included.

Only when you have all that should you even start to think about selecting or designing a system - and at that point you will have all the answers about what you require so selection or design will be (relatively) straightforward.

CRM, at its core, is an organizational commitment to change. CRM begins and ends with management commitment to introduce a customer-driven culture into a business. Managers leading CRM projects need to recognize that employees are sensitive to change, and need to be included in the transition process.

Managers need to make a convincing argument to employees of the benefits of being able to view all customer data in a single environment. People become attached to doing things a certain way, using the spreadsheets, contact managers, simple databases, and even the paper records they’ve always used. Even though they recognize that their methods may be inefficient, they are often reluctant to move data out of the software they’ve become accustomed to.

That’s why CRM tools need to be intuitive to learn and easy to use. Change is never easy, but easy-to-use CRM tools smooth the transition. If software tools are hard to use, most people give up trying after the first try. Make sure your CRM suite has good data import features so loading data into a new environment won’t undermine the transition to CRM before it gets off the ground. While Salesforce Training clearly supports the implementation projects associated with salesforce. com, we recognize that there are other capable tools available, and that a thorough review of your organization’s needs are in order before making the final decision.

Herewith, are the three key steps to take in ultimately selecting the CRM that’s right for your business.


The Three Steps To A Successful CRM Implementation Page 4 of 11

Start With a Plan

The first task to be completed is to gather background information on the benefits, savings, ROI and cost justification of selecting and implementing a CRM solution. Present this information to your organizational leadership and make sure everyone in your organization is on board with the project to help ensure success.

Determine who the stakeholders in the project are and work with them to establish a common, company-wide goal for the CRM system. From these stakeholders, put together a project team that is headed by a true CRM evangelist.

Keep in mind your budget, while assigning the costs associated not just with the software, or the licenses, but also with the selection process as well as implementation, integration, training, and ongoing support.

Assess your business processes to determine what best practices you have in place and what areas could benefit from improvement through the new system. This will also entail a study of the primary pain points in your existing system, and a map your current processes in all areas of the organization. Then once you define your business requirements, you’re better prepared to select a software solution that meets your business needs.

Compare Your Options

Before you view a demo of any solution, make sure that the partner showing you the solution understands your requirements and is committed to showing you how their system will meet those requirements. Don’t waste your time being swept away by impressive features that you will never use, but also remember that you’ll likely find value in a number of elements of the program that you hadn’t anticipated when you started. Consider working with a partner that offers software selection consulting services to help you through the process.

Be sure that your hardware and operating system can support the systems you are leaning towards. You don’t want to waste time seeing products that aren’t feasible options for you. And don’t forget to make sure that you are being shown the current version of the software. Don’t make a purchase based on promises for future technology.

If you are looking at several options, establish a scoring system that tracks the various benefits and shortcomings of each product. The scoring needs to reflect not only the features of the products, but the qualitative aspects of the solution and working with the partner.


Your internal CRM project team should be present for all demos and meetings with the partner. They should be encouraged to share their concerns and feedback, as well as ask questions. Use the partners’ responsiveness to the team’s concerns and questions as a factor when you are deciding whether or not to work with them, as it will affect your business relationship long-term.

Growing With Your Business

A true CRM solution will provide company-wide benefits through marketing campaign

management, sales force automation, customer care, contact management, task management, and scheduling. Settling for anything less in the short term will cause you to repeat the software selection process in the long-term and cost you more to implement or integrate disparate products.

As a technical solution, your CRM software needs to be properly matched to your technical requirements and capabilities. Therefore, you should look for a CRM solution that provides the capability to seamlessly move from a hosted solution to an on-site system and vice versa as your technical abilities change.

Make sure that the CRM solution you are considering integrates with your other business

management applications. It should be able to be deployed on different technologies as you needs change as well as support web service, have a strong API for integration and be able integrate with other technologies such as your phone system and website. Your CRM system should support the ways you do business and be accessible from anywhere you do business, that means it should support all standard wireless devices as well as support interactive web chat with your customers and make a wide range of information available to them over robust web sites.


The Three Steps To A Successful CRM Implementation Page 6 of 11

The role of SaleS proCeSS in CrM

No two companies sell in exactly the same number of steps or use exactly the same set of conditions or rules to sell. Any company that has not produced a successful, repeatable, sales process–either manually or with some prior automation–will not gain ground by implementing more technology. They will simply drive an incomplete or ineffective process faster!

This section discusses the need for the development of an accurate “map” of the most efficient process for each discrete sales effort prior to committing that process to automation. Mapping and improving processes prior to enabling them with technology provides several benefits:

Locks in agreement on how things work among sales process owners

Provides an efficient environment to discuss or produce change

Provides least cost initiative approaches

Compresses the time needed to decide on changes

Provides an accurate picture of the steps and relative ROI of each for priority

Provides documentation and internal disciplines to re-create change downstream The Role of Process

Process mapping is the documentation of discrete activities involved in completing the sales cycle–from point of customer contact through information-gathering to closure and fulfilment. Surprisingly, few companies take the time to produce this map in any great detail or to understand the roles within the sales and marketing team. Beyond sales and marketing are many more layers of support and customer service people whose roles create touch-points within the sales process. If sales roles are not well understood, these supporting roles suffer as well.

The reason most companies don’t map their sales process is a sense that everything is working– that the perceived process is in place and working by its own momentum. Process is important to the entire enterprise, although for purposes of this document we are generally speaking about CRM process improvement and its role within the enterprise.


Many sales teams have a few savvy team members who have learned to achieve and excel in standalone mode. The motivation comes from an extreme desire to clear away all hurdles between themselves and commission checks with extreme dispatch and efficiency.


As these few continue to blow out their monthly sales number, management looks at the success as proof of a successful “process” and often begins to skew the structure of the entire sales force and support staff to mimic these successes.

But is it a process, and is it a success?

Once you begin to break down the steps needed to support these top performers, it often becomes clear that their sales are supported by an inordinate amount of background resources who manage extraordinary, unpredictable gyrations of paperwork, communications and customer contact to make all ends meet in the middle.

If every salesperson on the team were allocated similar resources, cost of sales would skyrocket as margins plummeted. In fact, these top performers are the antithesis of process. They are inefficient, resource-gobbling engines driving events through the path of least resistance using anyone and everyone who will help them. They rarely do it the same way twice.

Documenting the process–literally creating a graphic and textual representation of the steps being created to support the example above–would quickly highlight the problem.

The Value of Process Mapping

Process mapping is a proven analytical and communication tool intended to help improve existing processes or to implement a new process-driven structure in order to improve business processes. By definition, a business is only as efficient as its processes – processes that are measurable and rewarded based on performance relative to strategic goals. It is imperative to understand how each process fits into the overall enterprise structure. Everything a business does to survive is process-driven. Any metrics used to assess or value success can only be calculated within the discipline of process. Within CRM, process is extremely important to establishing valid roll-up of some of the most critical indicators for ROI:

Revenue per year

Gross profit dollars per year

Lower costs of sales as percent of revenue


The Three Steps To A Successful CRM Implementation Page 8 of 11

Each of these metrics requires an accurate and repeatable process in order to derive true and accurate measurements. If the gross results feeding these numbers are calculated in any way through a random or subjective (non-process) methodology, they have no accurate value. A good example lies in the process of managing customer contracts:

Preferred customers–those who buy in volume or regularity or both–are often offered more competitive pricing and delivery terms and conditions on the products or services purchased. A relative value, or pecking order, is established by layering these conditions in some kind of matrix that makes sense for the product provider.

As long as these contracts are administered through an effective and unchanging set of business rules (process), the rolled-up results of sales in each category have meaning.

If, on the other hand, there is subjective management of conditions within the contracts, such as an ad hoc discount thrown in on a one-time or erroneous basis, the rolled-up revenue from that contract will reflect a different number than would have occurred in a strictly managed process. The only way to guarantee the number remains consistent over time is to know and exercise the right process the same way time after time.

For companies who have repeatable processes in place, process mapping can be used to analyze the purposes an application serves as conditions, customers or markets change.


Once you launch an SFA program, the adoption clock is ticking.

When people talk about poor CRM or sales force automation (SFA) adoption, it’s typically shorthand for one issue: “We can’t get our salespeople to enter their activities into the CRM system.” In other words, they have an activity management adoption challenge.

Of course, everyone from sales managers to executives wants to see that activity information, both at a micro and macro level, to know what’s in the sales pipeline, accurately predict financial performance, design better territories and coach salespeople. Likewise, organizations also want to ensure that their SFA projects don’t fail.

Why, then, won’t salespeople comply? Well, adding activity information takes time, and time equals money. Accordingly, salespeople want to know: What’s in it for me? Therein lies the answer to this challenge: you have to sweeten the pot. Add some carrot, to balance the stick.

This challenge isn’t new. As long as there’s been CRM, salespeople have resisted using CRM. But what can companies do to encourage them to adopt SFA anyway?

The Main Culprits

The biggest adoption challenge to achieving successful CRM adoption is getting the willing support of the sales team and their commitment to use the CRM tool as intended.

There are a few underlying issues that perpetuate this problem.

1. CRM deployments are often designed and customized to serve the group paying for the CRM solution (management) vs. the people who actually use the CRM tool day to day (sales) 2. In many cases, few attempts are made to legitimately get the sales team on board by showing

them how using the CRM package is going to help them do their jobs better and make their lives easier, thus increasing the depth and quality of the data input.

3. Failing to get the sales team to willingly use the CRM program, use of the tool is typically mandated leaving the front line sales team feeling the CRM has been forced down their throats, taking up their time while not doing anything appreciable to help them close more sales.


The Three Steps To A Successful CRM Implementation Page 10 of 11

4. There is also an undercurrent of concern that the management mandated data sales puts in the CRM package under the pretence of helping close more business will actually be turned against them and used as a tool to micro manage their sales efforts or bring about their own elimination.

5. At smaller and mid sized companies, many times the biggest challenge is to get the executive level management to also consistently use the system. This failure is clearly seen by the rest of the commercial staff and usually leads to a failed start, or a slow death spiral of the CRM system. We’ve heard of stories in which CEOs wanted to have the CRM system but they themselves failed, or refused to use it. Thus it provided an excuse for the rest of the sales department to not comply.

6. Ditto on the need for process redesign; this is critical to any administrative system

implementation. The lack of it is the major reason organizations end up scratching their heads as to why they haven’t gotten a lot of benefit from their “new” system.

7. Driving and sustaining effective CRM User adoption is about changing employee behavior, yet few projects include staff with knowledge, skills or expertise in behavior change or organization development tools or methods.

8. Traditional change management efforts are typically focused on preparing for managing the initial IT deployment, but do little to support or sustain the ongoing (long-term) user adoption.

Increasing User Adoption

There are a number of steps to take in ensuring maximum user adoption, and these four here are not meant to be the definitive list, but each of them are an imperative nonetheless;

1. It must be driven from the top down. If the CEO wants a CRM system, then the CEO must be prepared to utilize the tool themselves, and must be held to the same adoption rate standard as everyone else on the team, perhaps even higher. Don’t have your sales manager ask your sales people to assemble a spreadsheet of their pipeline. Instead, your sales manager needs to use the tool to run the reports himself.

2. The support of the sales reps will be in place if they are involved in the redesign and in the selection process for the CRM in the first place. In fact, all parties (suppliers, users, and requestors of the process) need to be engaged from the get-go. Then they will all be bought in to the CRM well before implementation rolls around


3. Salespeople, like water, tend to take the path of least resistance. And often when a CRM system is introduced, their “What’s in it for me?” question is not answered in a manner that motivates them to become interested in, much less use, the system.

If the salesperson can be introduced to the program with benefits that are meaningful to them and then are supported and trained while being shown tangible direct benefits to them (the salesperson), use of the system will become habit and will be used effectively. Hence, the focus should be on;

• making sure the program is approachable by each individual salesperson (new detailed technology and be intimidating).

• minimizing the effort in using the system needed by the salesperson

• demonstrating the benefits (that the salesperson cares about) of using the system to the salesperson

• ensuring the salesperson receives tangible and measurable rewards by using the system

4. Train, Train, Train. You must have all users go through several steps of training on the system. 5. Walk before your run. Start with simple processes and add more functionality as you get

ramped up. A full-blown CRM can overwhelm. Start with the basics and once they are using it, introduce a few more features.

6. Define clearly user adoption/CRM success criteria, metrics and targets and then holding people accountable (with defined rewards & consequences) for missing or achieving their goals.

If you follow those steps, you will have a much better chance of a successful CRM implementation.


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