Factors for success with CRM
To make optimal use of CRM, it's important not to see it just as a software package. You have the best chance for CRM to yield great benefit to the organization when it is part of the business strategy and integrated into all aspects of the company. There are a number of factors which allow CRM to succeed.
Vision and objective
What does the organization expect from the deployment of CRM? Determine what the organization's vision for CRM is, and link it to concrete, measurable goals. A solid cost-benefit analysis can help in formulating realistic objectives regarding CRM. Incidentally, when formulating a vision and a set of objectives, avoid only focusing internally. After all, CRM is about customer focus: delve into that customer and the added value CRM can offer that customer.
Commitment from the top
Because CRM works best when it's integrated throughout the organization, commitment from those at the top is very important. If they don't believe in it, why would the rest? Those at the top are the main drivers in rolling out CRM through all layers of the organization.
The implementation of CRM can be quite a substantial process. Dividing it into manageable pieces keeps it orderly and allows for quick wins. This means translating the overall CRM vision into sub-plans per department or (sub-)objective. Sub-plans also ensure that you can more easily take the whole organization along in the process. People see the results, and that motivates and inspires them to get the most out of CRM.
Implementation and execution
A clear division of tasks (and planning) prevents CRM from floating around. If it is not clear who is responsible for what, or if the implementation mainly comes down to employees whose agenda is already packed, the CRM strategy will be stranded before it has even been fully launched. It may be necessary to temporarily hire extra manpower with expertise in CRM. Ideally, this option was included in the cost-benefit analysis. In short, plan for employee availability and/or hire additional workers.
Communication throughout the process is and remains important. It costs employees time, and changes are often seen as threatening. Communicating about the how, why and when is therefore important. Making especially clear what benefits it brings to everyone ensures that there will be a positive atmosphere surrounding the implementation.
How a CRM strategy can be successfully introduced will differ for each type of organization. As such, the aforementioned factors don't guarantee success on their own. CRM is a continuous process in which developments can occur which may necessitate adjustments.