Nine steps for successful CRM implementation: Check IT List
Customer relationship management, or CRM, may seem somewhat like alphabet soup to many small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB). The variety of CRM options (and acronyms that come with sales, customer service and marketing terms) can make decision-making quite difficult for SMBs when it comes to solving business needs. CRM doesn't have to be difficult. Here are some key guidelines to follow before you implement CRM at your company. 1. Develop corporatewide CRM engagement from key stakeholders. Many CRM projects fail because critical stakeholders are not involved in setting CRM strategy, assessing requirements and selecting options. Get key sponsors involved from the get-go and make sure that the individuals involved can make the financial and time commitments to ensure success. If possible, involve customers in this dialogue through surveys, councils and other ways to ensure that your strategy is in sync with their expectations. At the executive level, start determining the kinds of information that various people need to better understand and respond to customers. 2. Envision the company's CRM strategy. CRM is more than just software. It is also about selecting appropriate methodologies and business practices to help your business enable better relationships with customers. Benchmark your company's current CRM practices with peers in your industry, and set some high-level customer relationship goals in areas such as increasing customer retention, speeding problem resolution, closing a higher percentage of sales, etc. 3. Determine and prioritize CRM drivers and requirements. Even in small companies, CRM decisions are often stovepiped in relation to departmental needs and business problems. For example, sales managers may want to get better pipeline and forecasting capabilities, while customer service groups want to provide Web-based self-service customer support. Engage a corporate team of...
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