Business management

The Keys to CRM Success: People, Customers and Tools (1/3)

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What are the key ingredients of a successful CRM project? 

This question is as vast as it is critical. The success of your CRM project depends on a number of factors, most of which come into play from the very moment you start defining your requirements. 

The purpose of this article is to provide a few tips to help ensure the success of your project.

1. The human factor: involve everyone in the CRM project.

The human factor is, by far, the most important success factor in a CRM project. Studies are unanimous on this. Take, for example, a study conducted by Forrester: out of 600 respondents, 42% reported that most problems with CRM projects are the result of people issues, such as:

  • cultural resistance to adopting new ways of working (45%)
  • difficulties in achieving user adoption (44%)
  • insufficient planning and attention given to change management (42%)
  • inadequate leadership (38%)

Making your CRM a company-wide project is one of the prerequisites for securing employee buy-in. 

Here are some tips to ensure the success of your CRM project capitalising on your employees:

  • First you need to appoint a “sponsor” who will be a decision-maker and represent management. 
  • Secondly, build a multi-disciplinary team which will promote the adoption of the CRM project by all. 

The team should never lose sight of the ultimate goal: the service to the customer. This team should also work to ensure the CRM project evolves in line with the reality of the company. The success of a CRM project also presumes that technology is at the service of the company, and not the other way around. 

Do not ask the IT team define the scope of the CRM project for you because they will not be aware of your operational needs. This implies taking the time to align the operational needs with the IT requirements of the project. Everyone understands that operational users include, of course, the sales and customer service representatives; but do not forget your marketing teams and management! Organise workshops with key users so as to understand the needs and challenges of each group, and understand the raison d’etre of the CRM software.


2. The customer: a customer-centric CRM.

If your CRM solution is to be accepted and understood as a useful tool, the customer needs to be placed at the centre of the project. This is one of the keys to the success of a CRM project. How can this be achieved? By mapping out the entire customer relationship so as to understand how it can be optimised.  

This first step will lead you to identifying both existing customer journeys and those which need to be implemented in order to improve the Customer Experience you offer. You could, for example, decide to enhance your omnichannel strategy by implementing an instant messaging system, online forms, web callback, etc.  

Thereafter, you can put the emphasis on what are called the “moments of truth”. These are the milestones at each of which your Customer Relationship must absolutely be perfect (first contact, checkout, information on delivery times, customer service, etc.). A good CRM solution will enable you to automate certain tasks to offer the best possible service during these “moments of truth”.

3. The tool: choosing the right CRM solution.

Your CRM solution can make or break your CRM project. However, there are so many options on the market that it can be hard to know where to start. So, how can you pick the right CRM solution? How can you know which will meet your business needs, your business activity, and your unique set of challenges?  

First, we recommend you define what you want the CRM solution to do for your company. Then, list all the features you absolutely need, and those you would like. Once you have done this, identify your options in terms of IT architecture. Lastly, make comparisons among the CRM software offerings which meet all your criteria: features, ergonomics, integration, support and pricing, etc. And if you get stuck, we will be happy to advise you.

This article has offered an overview of three of the critical success factors of a CRM project: people; clients; and the tool itself. The success of your CRM project depends on the ability of your company to align the requirements of your staff, your customer journey and your CRM tool. We can never stress this enough: the starting point for any CRM project must be the company and its customers.  

In addition to these three success factors, other important elements include: data; the budget; the ROI; and the project management. Next article of our trilogy to come soon.  



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