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Six Steps for a Successful CRM Implementation in 2020

Vasan Sampath | June 25, 2020 | 3 min read

Over the last few years, we have gathered much experience in implementing and supporting Salesforce CRM for a variety of organizations- be it a small scale business or a large global enterprise. We have seen both successes as well as failures and we would like to share our learnings from our experience.

Recent studies have shown that Salesforce customers who followed best practices report 37% more sales revenue, 45% higher customer satisfaction, and 43% better marketing ROI on an average.

Some fundamentals to keep in mind before you start your CRM journey:

  • The first thing you need to know is, you as stakeholder(s) in your organization are primarily accountable for its success. The choice of CRM tool and Partner is important, but not the primary factors for success or failure.
  • The second thing to be aware of is that CRM implementation is a Business Transformation Program and not a ‘Software Implementation Project’. Many organizations often tend to think it is the latter and end up focusing on the tool rather than the business.. The CRM software by itself, irrespective of how well it is configured and customized, will not lead to business benefits.
  • The third point to understand is that the CRM journey involves business process changes and changes in behaviour of Sales, marketing and service teams. Unless users learn to adopt and leverage the CRM tool effectively there is unlikely to be much benefit for the organization.

Here are our recommended steps to CRM success.

Step1: Define the key objectives for CRM Implementation.
  • It is important to have clarity and stakeholder agreement on why you want to implement CRM for your company
  • Our recommendation is to focus on not more than 2-3 key objectives to start with, to keep things more manageable and focussed.
Step 2: Assess the readiness of your organization for the CRM journey. Check how ready your organization is in terms of:
  • Change management readiness and user maturity
  • Process maturity in terms of standardization and compliance to processes
  • IT maturity and ability to manage and maintain a business application
Step 3: Based on your objectives and state of readiness, define the Roadmap for your CRM journey. It will help you chart out how you plan to reach your desired state from the current state and the pace of change that you believe your organization can manage effectively.
  • Establish a phased implementation approach with clearly defined objectives and timelines for each phase.
  • Define what constitutes success in each phase, establish success metrics and decision criteria to move from one phase to the next
Step 4: Select your CRM- Evaluate CRM tools that fit your road map and needs . If required, leverage a consultant to help you with the decision but keep the following in mind.
  • Pick a CRM that is scalable and flexible to grow with your needs. You will be surprised how quickly you can outgrow your CRM if it has limited functionality and flexibility.
  • Ensure that the CRM partner ecosystem is robust and it is not difficult or too expensive to find good partners for implementation.
Step 5: Select your partner for the CRM journey. We recommend picking an experienced partner who can align well with your road map and stay engaged with your company to ensure success. Some key aspects to consider while selecting a partner are:
  • Experience – always pick a partner with years of experience in CRM implementations. There is much that Partners learn based on experience gained from working with clients.
  • Industry and Functional knowledge – Make sure that the consultants who will be involved with your implementation are able to understand your industry and business needs.
  • Long term approach – Pick a partner that is willing to stay the course and help you with success rather than a partner who is looking at this as a one-time implementation project.
Step 6: Ensure that Governance is established.
  • Along with everything else, it is equally important to ensure that you implement a proper governance structure that defines responsibility and accountability for your CRM success.
  • Good governance helps you achieve your goals by steering your CRM journey and aligning it with your road map. It prevents your organization from losing focus on the key objectives once the initial enthusiasm and euphoria is over.

It is essential to understand that there are many moving parts in your organization’s DNA and that your business will continue to evolve and change. It is therefore important for Technology and Business to evolve together to create a successful CRM journey.

Salesforce dominated the worldwide CRM market with a 19.5% market share in 2018, over double its nearest rival, SAP at 8.3%.