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Denise CRM Software Optimization Strategies Report

 


II. CRM Optimization Via People and Processes

There are several best practices that, if adhered to during the CRM implementation phase, can have a dramatic, positive impact on the system's performance and continued optimization. The first two involve people:

  • "All enterprise software deployments require executive sponsorship. CRM is no exception. It requires representatives from the executive team, management, business, finance and IT. This is necessary to secure the required resources, address hurdles during the implementation and drive user adoption."
  • "Also required: An overall project director, or high-profile manager. This person often is seconded to a project initiative for the duration and often becomes the Director of CRM to continue to support and measure the return on the CRM solution investment over time."

To migrate these implementation best practices to the optimization phase, the leadership from the project team should remain intact, and continue to "own" the customer relationship management system. High-visibility leadership and vocal support of the system is critical after launch since, as previously noted, benefits from CRM systems often can't be seen or measured until three to nine months after the solution is put into production. The optimization project team should include:

  • An executive sponsor who communicates the successes of the implementation, in terms of original goals. S/he should also keep the organization focused on continually achieving those goals by constantly enhancing the system, improving processes and resetting expectations – or all three. The sponsor also must be able to champion ongoing improvements in all areas that the CRM system touches, such as "resolve customer support calls on the first contact 90% of the time within 60 days of system production." Otherwise, certain departments may stop using the system, revert back to shadow systems or prior processes, or find another CRM application for their department.
  • A Program Manager or Director of CRM, who is not managing the system at the most strategic level, but instead is focused on translating business requirements into specific application enhancements the company can implement to continue improving the solution. This Manager or Director of CRM is the organization's "go-to" person for getting definitive answers, measuring progress, making course corrections, planning next phases and staying abreast of new CRM software version releases.

Best Practices in CRM Processes: Embracing CRM as a "Living" Application

Clearly, CRM software is a "living" application; a CRM environment is never static or complete. To leverage the resources that are invested, over time, into proportionately much larger business benefits, companies should:

  • Take a SMART approach to revising prior goals and defining new goals: Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time bound. From the lessons learned in the implementation and initial production period, original project goals may be increased or new complimentary objectives may be slated. It's critical that goals are closely aligned with the company's top business objectives and that all stakeholders buy in to the goals and their measurable benefits. Goals can also be unique to a company's culture. For example, a sales organization was committed to "getting rid of the fax machine." The company customized its CRM system to interface with the ERP system's order processing module to eliminate the faxing and manual keying of sales orders, purchase orders and other documents. When the fax machine was ceremoniously disconnected, the company knew that its CRM implementation had satisfied an important business goal.
  • Exercise ongoing creativity in assessing how the CRM system can improve the business. Process innovation comes from all levels of the organization. Staff on the front lines of the organization – handling sales and support interactions – can be a tremendous source of suggestions on how the CRM system can be leveraged to improve business performance. At a strategic level, applying the dedicated mindshare, and organizational influence, of an executive sponsor and a Director or Manager of CRM helps to frame tactical suggestions into a larger context. By marrying strategic business impact with tactical business improvement, this CRM optimization best practice can yield a "multiplier effect," amplifying the benefits a company can receive from a nominal resource investment.

CRM Optimization ReportCRM Optimization via ProcessCRM Optimization via SoftwareCRM SaaSCRM Optimization Report Summary

 

 

 

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Process innovation comes from all levels of the organization and front line staff can be a tremendous source of suggestions on how the CRM system can be leveraged to improve business performance. By framing tactical suggestions into a larger context, and marrying strategic business impact with tactical business improvement, new process improvements can yield a multiplier effect, amplifying the benefits a company can receive from a nominal resource investment.

 

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