Investigating CRM Solutions? Start with Strategic Planning
April 8, 2009 1 Comment
It is easy to get caught up in the CRM selection process before you even really know what you are looking for. The good folks over at Effective CRM have put together a good primer on how to approach a CRM initiative.
The strategic planning process for CRM is about creating better long term relationships with your customers. Developing a CRM strategy is critical form CRM success. So don’t let the fact that the typical strategic planning process is ripe with failure deter you from developing the plan you need for a successful CRM initiative. Follow some simple steps and you will have great success.
Create a CRM Strategy – Without a CRM strategy, there is no guiding corporate wide vision for how you will interface with customers. This is a key component which works in conjuntion with your functional CRM initiative (the technology). It takes both to succeed.
Perform a CRM Analysis – You need to start by understanding where your company is today. To do this you need to throw out the baggage and be realistic or you won’t be doing your company and favors.
Identify CRM Benefits – Clearly identify the knowledge you will gain and how you will apply this knowledge (about your customers) through its collection in your CRM software and customer database.
Quantify CRM Benefits – Once the benefits have been defined, you must determine what the economic impact will be to your bottom line. Without this, you will not know the appropriate level of investment to make.
Quantify CRM Costs – Your CFO will be far more likely to write a check if you can detail the financial benefits as well as the financial costs. The return on investment is critical in making a major go/no go decision.
Manage CRM Risk – Any investment done right is underwritten. This is the process of assessing and mitigating risk. If a plan to manage risk is not detailed, your ROI justification will lack substance…and most likely be wrong.
CRM Implementation – The last thing you must address is how you plan to implement your CRM strategy. I’m not just talking about implementing the software! Their is a human process that factors into a successful CRM initiative as well. Actually, it’s bigger than the software in my opinion.
CRM Metrics – A high level view of CRM metrics that will help you better understand success or failure and also areas for opportunity going forward