As a CRM consultant, I’ve seen many successful and some not so successful CRM implementations.

It’s enormously disappointing for me to see a company go through a CRM implementation and later wonder why their sales team isn’t using it or why they aren’t getting the Business Intelligence they were expecting.  Now I’ll admit I eat, sleep and breathe CRM as it’s my job and I’m quite passionate about it, however, I believe most software consultants desire to see success for their clients through whatever new solution they are implementing.

Below I have listed the top 5 things that I believe help to make a CRM implementation successful.

  1. Set Clear Plans & Goals 

    it sounds unbelievable, but some companies lack a defined objective and scope for their CRM deployment.  In short, a project that is not planned will likely fail!  You should be able to state the 5 main reasons why you need CRM, and the output you want from it.  It is also essential to understand a good CRM deployment is a significant undertaking and will involve a considerable amount of your teams’ time to be successful.

  2. Executive Sponsorship

    The CEO/VP of Sales should be a very vocal sponsor of your CRM initiative.  The CEO/VP of Sales needs to communicate the value of CRM and Business Intelligence to the team and help them understand its importance in managing customers and marketing initiatives.  It’s also important to hold all team members accountable for adoption and continued use of the new CRM solution.

  3. Partnering with an Experienced Business Partner

    A number of companies believe CRM deployment is something that can be done by their IT department.  While your IT personnel can play an important role in your CRM implementation, it’s key to select and work with a good CRM Business Partner.  The CRM Business Partner will spend time discussing critical business related topics and processes to align the CRM deployment to your business.  It is important for your chosen partner to not only have technical knowledge but also comprehend sales, marketing and business management initiatives.

  4. Assign a CRM Champion

    Every organization must assign an individual that will become the champion of the chosen CRM solution.  This individual will undertake more one-on-one training in order to learn more advanced features to promote what the software can do and provide the end user a go to person within the organization when they have questions.  This go to person becomes a fountain of knowledge and also decreases total cost of ownership of your implementation.

  5. Sufficient Training for All CRM Users

    Your CRM project should include ample time for end user training along with the implementation and customization of the CRM system.  Allotting time for group or personal training is imperative.  It’s also important to train users to not only input the data but also ways to search and find what is valuable to them.  Doing so will help them see the value of the solutions.