The success of a CRM project depends on a number of factors, such as the CRM solution you choose to work with, how you manage your data, your budget, your expected results, and of course, the people you work with. Other notions, such as change management or training, are often disregarded at the beginning of the project because they seem too distant. However, these are just as critical as the other considerations. We wanted to take a minute to discuss these less considered aspects, as well as the human qualities needed for CRM success.
Implementing a CRM software necessarily implies drastic changes in the way your employees work. You need to listen to their fears and reassure them. The key to this is an internal change management policy. Remember that you can also reach out to your CRM publisher for additional help. The goal is to involve users throughout the entire lifecycle of the project. In order to achieve this, you need to surround yourself with the right people. As explained in a previous article, the human factor is by far the most important success factor of a CRM project. You need to ensure the project team you build is multi-disciplinary, so that its members can promote the project from within and throughout the company. This can also encourage users to contribute to the CRM project (suggestion box, incentive to vote, etc.)
Keep in mind, however, that change management should not be confused with training; they are two very different things.
Training is so called quite simply because its goal is to train. However, it is not simply a matter of passing on knowledge about the CRM solution. It is about ensuring each end user has the ability to make the most of the features the tool has to offer in their daily work. In all events, training should not be viewed as a substitute for change management.
Talk to your publisher, who will be able to propose relevant training programs which meet the requirements of your specific context: basic training; expert training; webinars; etc.
Be careful, though because you can have too much of good thing! Too much training can undermine the intended goal. Not all users need the same from their CRM solution. For them to accept the new tool, they need to understand what benefits it will bring them, individually. Over and above the overall features of the solution, the experience the CRM software delivers to its end users is a lever for performance. Therefore, target your training sessions and program carefully.
Your CRM training sessions should be factored in from the outset of the project, because they cost time and money. Some publishers are approved as training centres, and (depending on your local regulations) might be eligible for subsidies. Contact your publisher for more information.
Patience is a virtue. Too often companies lose sight of this and want to change everything at once, and deploy the entire solution in one go: all modules, all profiles, all countries, all languages, etc. Experience has shown that this simply does not work!
To ensure the success of the roll-out of your CRM project, it should be deployed gradually. Implement the project in successive phases, business unit by business unit. Organizing this requires managing expectations and a good dose of patience. Gradual implementation, however, will facilitate user adoption; users will be more willing to take on new working methods. This approach also lets you adapt the project as necessary, depending on the availability of resources (man-days in particular). By having the humility to build your Customer Relationship project gradually, you will enhance your prospects of success.
You have defined your software requirements, and what you expect from your future CRM system. This is a good starting point, but you should also leave yourself some room to manoeuvre. Let the publisher present the different modules which make up the solution, even if you only want one of them. This will be the opportunity to discover features you might not have identified, to understand how the modules interact with one another, and also to see how some of this might be useful in the future. Good CRM project management needs to be able to identify and seize opportunities when they arise. For instance, one of our customers, the Orsay Museum, understood this well and based its processes on the best practices of the E-Deal CRM Customer Service module. So, our advice is to know what you need, but always keep an open mind.
Deploying a CRM software is a vast undertaking, one in which your software publisher can help you. User training helps promote the adoption of the new system among users. Change management is also key to ensuring that new ways of working are understood and accepted by all. Finally, open-mindedness and humility are two indispensable qualities for a successful CRM project.
To learn more about the other success factors of a CRM project, you can read our other articles.