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Getting Started with a CRM: Starting From The (Real) Beginning

By Valerie Roush

In the 12 years I’ve been implementing CRM solutions, I’ve seen so many of my clients and own organizations start their implementation far past the most strategic and important analysis. Skipping the “real beginning” always results in missed opportunities to achieve organizational objectives, enterprise adoption, and ROI of your new system.

The initial attention of these implementation teams  is unfortunately focused on the following tactical questions:

  • What are the system requirements?
  • What does our data look like?
  • How will we migrate?
  • Which integrations do we need?

While these questions are incredibly important, they should be considered after the following questions have been asked, answered, codified, and shared:

  • What is our organization looking to achieve? How can our initiative further the organization’s efforts? (Organizational Vision, Strategy, and Objectives)
  • Who will the organization see as leading the charge on our CRM initiative? Will that person inspire new behaviors across the organization? (Executive Sponsorship)
  • Which new and existing processes are critical to our organizations objectives? How will our new initiative promote accuracy, efficiency, and information sharing? (Process Enablement Roadmap)

I’ll cover each of these areas at a high level, and in more detail (with real examples!) in coming weeks.

Organizational Vision, Strategy, and Objectives

Review your organization’s vision, strategy, and objectives. Perhaps one of your goals for the next fiscal year is to increase revenue or fundraising by 7%. Accordingly, one of your program initiatives would be to increase user productivity – clearly your goal would be for these employees to have additional time making calls, not knocking time off of their week!

Executive Sponsorship

Determine a single executive-level champion for your CRM initiative; select a leader (outside of IT) who can rally your staff. Align this with executive’s goals with your program’s vision and success measures.

Process Enablement Roadmap

Focus on enabling existing and new “people processes” rather than implementing new technologies or features. Align and prioritize each process initiative according to the organization’s vision, strategy, and objectives.

I’d love to hear about your best practices or answer any questions I can in the comments!


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