On Thursday @TomGrantForr tweeted:
Listening to a CRM implementer argue, “Worry less which vendor you select than your adoption strategy.”
To which I thought, “Amen!”
If you are considering adopting CRM as a business strategy, the “CRM implementer” above is right. For most organizations this is going to require a major shift in your corporate culture. Many companies put a lot of effort into selecting the right vendor, then take it for granted that user adoption is a given.
But changing from a transactional philosophy to a relational (CRM) philosophy is a huge change management issue. It requires a solid commitment from all departments and employees.
Advantages of An Interdepartmental Team
If you haven’t selected a vendor yet, I strongly encourage you to make sure you have representatives from every department included on the team that will make recommendations. There are three reasons for this. First, they know their own needs better than anyone else. They should not hesitate to speak up to make sure their needs are considered and incorporated into the finished product.
Second, they can then help you sell the idea of CRM to the rest of your organization. Remember, CRM is about relationships. You must establish productive relationships with every department to smooth implementation. If you do not have effective relationships with each department, then they may drag their feet.
Third, as you move through the planning process and into the implementation of the new strategy, you will need to rely on this team for prompt and continuous feedback. There WILL be obstacles (training, employee resistance, software, processes).
CRM Is About Humans, Not Software
Several months ago I read an article in CRM magazine by CRM expert Barton Goldenberg. In it he said that CRM is 40% “human,” 40% process, and 20% technology.
CRM is a business philosophy/strategy designed to improve relationships between human beings, it is not designed to collect data for data’s sake. Do not let the complexity of the software blind you to the importance of user adoption and user satisfaction.
You cannot implement a successful CRM strategy with your customers until you get buy-in from your employees. That means you need to focus at least as much attention on your adoption strategy as you do in selecting a vendor. Frankly, probably more.