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Does your CRM do this? Tips on CRM Planning

Does your CRM do this and this and this?

How much for this many users? Can I integrate my accounting system? Can I use my Blackberry? These are good examples of the first questions of a CRM prospect.  Notice something missing: the lack of emphasis on how they are going to apply CRM to meet defined objectives. Without a solid Pre-CRM strategy and identified objectives, CRM nirvana becomes an elusive dream.

Understanding how your organization will use CRM will help to define your CRM objectives.

Organizations are driven to automated sales solutions for a number of reasons: Why? Because sales provide the lifeblood to every business and it’s the most critical of all business operations. Every organization uses a CRM methodology in one form or another: whether it’s an excel spreadsheet, yellow pad or ball point pen and a shoe box full of business cards, a CRM process is being used. Here are a few points of discussion to at least set out a part of your overall CRM strategy:

1. Start with the ‘Buy In’
If the CEO isn’t interested in CRM, then stop everything you’re doing. No CRM program in history has been successful without the top-down support.  Obviously the extent of the CEO’s hands-on involvement depends of the size and nature of the business. But at the very least the CEO should be actively involved at the top level in supporting the CRM role.

2. Pre-CRM: Articulate how your organization sells.
Few organizations new to CRM have well defined sales and marketing processes. In fact, there is every reason (i.e. revenue, profitability and survival) why they should be…and must be if CRM is going to return the ROI and deliver the performance promises.

Marketing whether it’s a separate department or integrated, needs to play in the same CRM sandbox, with the same objectives and structure. Geez how did marketing get into CRM? Good point. Somebody usually forgets to invite that department, in particular, the digital marketing gang.

3. Define the sales process.
Adapting automation to a sales process is not a simple matter of designing drop down lists and presto you have CRM. Today the common wisdom is to focus on the buying-cycle selling ‘the customer’s needs wants and timing’ and this takes more doing than menu lists.Systematizing the sales process consists of defining, then automating, these three principal components:

  • A comprehensive understanding of ‘the numbers’ e.g. the ‘Strategic Plan’ and the corresponding objectives for Account Retention and New Account Acquisition
  • The step-by-step articulation and implementation of that sales strategy
  • The measurement and analysis needs of the plan

4. Data Management: Manage the data explosion.
Beyond the transfer of existing data into CRM, it’s impossible to keep up with the data explosion without an automated data management process. To be ultimately useful for the sales process, CRM should be a dynamic repository of instant and current information. Rather than an afterthought, question and budget for what and how sales and marketing data is acquired, distributed and updated.


MosaicCRM Experts Corner

Sales and marketing is now a multi-skilled activity involving people from all parts of the organization. How you set up your sales opportunity design and management must correspond to a system wide strategic ‘Account’ Management’ system that’s articulated and all the dots connected before any CRM solution can be objective oriented.

I see a lot of CRM set ups force users to work in the old style ‘products and features – 1950’s’ methodology. No wonder users gripe that the CRM system doesn’t work for them: the ‘relationship-solution sales’ system that made them successful is missing or difficult to use.

If the objectives, sales organization and company culture are not sufficiently articulated in the Pre-CRM planning process, not surprisingly it won’t be in sync with the CRM program. That is a problem and one you don’t want.


Pre-CRM Planning Tips for SMB’s

I’ve put together this slide presentation that covers a number of key elements that can help in your CRM Plan or Re-Start program.  Some of the topics include Beware of ‘Quick and Easy’ CRM promotions, The Human Factors, Competition Applications, Abilities, Resources and Sales Process Design, Budgeting and more.


Written by
Bill Noonan, CEO MosaicCRM