The success of a CRM project (Customer Relationship Management project) relies on a number of factors, which come into play at different moments of the project. What data should you use? How much will your CRM system cost you? What results can you expect? To answer these questions, let’s look into three key success factors for CRM projects: data, budget and ROI.
1. Data: ensure the quality of your data
Data is a strategic asset for businesses. Consequently, data migration is a critical step in any IT project, and even more so for a CRM project. When implemented correctly, data migration will save time and money and increase efficiency. As an added bonus, ultimately it will facilitate user adoption. So, what are the best practices to ensure a successful data migration? We recommend starting by an in-depth analysis of your existing data. Then, based on this analysis, you will be able to define your data selection and extraction strategy. Finally, test the data in the new tool. Remember you can always reach out to your CRM publisher who can share their expertise with you.
Data migration is one thing; the actual quality of the data is another. Data is like a living thing, which evolves over time. For a successful CRM project, you must ensure data quality at all times. This is often easier said than done. Allocate time and money to deduplicating your database, cleaning up, enriching and updating it, etc. Why is this so important? According to the study “Social data at the service of customization” conducted by Opinion Way:
“1 Marketing Director out of 4 considers their company’s level of customer knowledge to be poor. They attribute this partly to the lack of technical, financial and human resources, but also to the reliability of the data they collect.”
Even if you are only at the stage of defining your project, it is important to be thinking already in terms of data collection, and the means you will you use to collect new data and improve your customer knowledge. There are many ways to achieve this – web forms, contests, webinars, API with social networks, etc. However, to optimize your customer relationship, you need to explain why this data is collected, and what is in it for your customers. For example, “give us your email address to receive our monthly newsletter with all our latest news”. This will enable you comply with the requirements of the GDPR and increase the trust your customers place in you.
2. Costs: manage the overall budget of your CRM project
There are expenses which are easy to anticipate, and others of which you become aware when it may already be too late. Unfortunately, many CRM projects which fail do so because of poor budget management. To ensure the success of your CRM project it is important to have a clear understanding of the overall budget required for the CRM project, and manage this budget closely. This should be measured in terms of the overall cost of the project, from its initial implementation to the actual operation of the CRM software.
Non-avoidable costs for a CRM project include:
- software licenses for an on-premise solution, or subscription fees for a SaaS solution;
- software configuration and customization (e.g., configuring business scenarios, template emails, etc.)
- the “steering, scoping and support” service provided by your CRM publisher and/or integrator
- the continuous improvement of the CRM solution (e.g., adding additional modules, upgrades, maintenance, etc.)
- hiring or building a project team with a dedicated Project Manager and a member of the IT team, ideally on a full-time basis
Other common costs (though these do not apply to all CRM projects) should also be taken into account:
- subscription fees to additional services or plug-ins required for your business scenarios (subscription to mass email marketing services, rental of dedicated IP, DMS interfaced with CRM solution, etc.)
- user training: although this may seem like a distant concern in the early stages of the project, factor it in from the outset.
By having a clear idea of the overall cost of your CRM solution, you will be able to highlight those areas where savings could be made: is it worth keeping all the software in the current information system? Can certain tasks be automated? etc.
3. Results: define your expected ROI
Whenever there is an expenditure, there is also an expectation of results. One of the main questions you need to ask yourself before deciding to embark on such a project is what is the expected ROI for the CRM system. Particularly considering the financial and human challenges that a CRM project involves. Studies report that the average ROI of a CRM can reach up to +45% in profits against the expenses incurred within 20 months. This figure should be treated with reasonable caution, however, because every project is different, and measurable results depend on the expected benefits of implementing the project: customer retention, customer acquisition, going international, etc.
“ROI should be measured against the overall goals of the company, because above and beyond the matter of revenue, a CRM system also addresses operational and business needs.” Cyrille Giraudat, associate director of the Digital Customer Experience business unit for Capgemini Consulting
A number of elements can be taken into account to calculate the ROI of your CRM system. However, here are five goals which warrant particular attention:
- improving profitability: increase revenue, reduced costs
- simplifying the customer journey: better customer care, refine targeting, etc.
- simplifying processes: save time, automate tasks, etc.
- reducing technological costs: regular updates, maintenance, etc.
- improving system performance: single database, no overlapping software, etc.
Data, costs and results, the keys to a successful CRM project
What should be abundantly clear, then, is that the success of a CRM project depends on three important pillars: data; budget; and ROI. To ensure the lasting success of your project, before you take the plunge, put measures in place so as to ensure the quality of the data you are going to use in the CRM system, estimate the overall cost very precisely, and define your expected ROI.
Following these steps will go a long way to ensuring the success of your CRM project. Of course, these are not the only success factors. You also have to consider other important aspects such as the human factor, your customers and your choice of software tool. You can read our recommendations on these three key factors in the first article of this trilogy.