Do you have a CRM project that’s running wild? You’re not alone. Even with strong project management, clear communication and ongoing leadership, this “beast” must be continually tamed.  There are a number of reasons why CRM projects in particular can be so challenging.

1. The first rule of CRM is that there are no rules.

One of the biggest challenges of implementing customer relationship management software (CRM) like Dynamics 365 (formally known as Microsoft Dynamics CRM) is the lack of defined processes. Unlike accounting software that must follow accounting rules, or manufacturing software, which is process driven, CRM software is pretty much a free-for-all.

2. Focus on the functionality first.

Most modern CRM software solutions on the market today can be used to manage sales, marketing and service. In addition, some systems, like Dynamics 365 can be used as an xRM solution – meaning it can manage the relationship of almost anything. Used in this way, the CRM solution becomes a development platform / database for accelerating the timeline and reducing the cost of a custom software development project.

With such a wide scope of functions and possibilities, scope creep and project overruns are common. From the outset, your CRM project team needs to be crystal clear on how you plan on using your CRM software and how you will define the success of the project.

3. Define and document your processes.

You have to define your process before you begin your CRM implementation. What’s a lead? When does it qualify as an opportunity? Who needs to be alerted? Work this all out on paper. For our Dynamics 365 projects, we’ve pre-built numerous templates, workflows and procedure guides to accelerate the decision making process.

4. Understand that most people prefer to be cowboys.

Especially sales people.  There’s nothing wrong with that! High producing sales people are often called eagles, lone wolves or elephant hunters. However, as good at sales as they may be, if you give them too much free range, you’ll never know what they’re up to.  Sure, they might come back with a hearty dinner that’ll feed the whole tribe for months, but if you’re the one responsible for feeding everyone, I’m sure you’d prefer advanced notice of what’s coming.

Make sure everyone using the system understands what’s expected of them.  Invest in training.  Create accountability.  Reward positive behavior. Nip bad habits in the bud early. Change is hard for people, so make learning and using your CRM system as easy and fun as possible.

5. Make CRM worth the effort to the end user. 

Having a low user adoption rate is a sure sign that your people are not seeing the value of the system. Who wants to add more work, more clicks, and more visibility into what you’re doing (or not doing) every day? No one.

When we worked with our client TGS, a global oil & gas services company, that’s the exact situation they were facing with the implementation of their first CRM system. The system was buggy, slow and limited, so people used it as little as possible. We came in and implemented Microsoft Dynamics CRM, trained the team, and got them excited about the possibility of all the ways their new system could make their work and lives more efficient. That’s the power of having a CRM partner who can lead the project instead of just be the “IT guys” who do the implementation.

Read more by downloading the full TGS case study

Author: Shannon Sheldon, CRM Engagement Manager

Adam Jenkins

Author Adam Jenkins

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