In my last post, The First Thing You Need To Know About Customer Relationship Management, I pointed out the importance of gaining buy-in from your employees before implementing CRM.
I linked to a post by Merrill Ligons that listed 10 Tips For CRM Success. Several of his tips are especially important.
Tip 1: Have a plan
Tip 3: Get buy-in from the end users (I prefer to refer to them as “front-line staff).
Tip 4: Management Needs To Take The Lead
Tip 5: Cross departmental coordination is vital to success
Tip 9: You need a Champion
What each of these tips have in common is that they need to be referenced in your internal communications plan. Merrill talks about the importance of having a plan, and a critical component of that overall plan is to have an ongoing communications plan. (This is true of any major change, not just implementing a CRM initiative.)
That plan should address the benefits to your organization, your customers, and your employees. Remember, “WIIFM (What’s In It For Me)?” You can’t go through a major change by sending out a single e-mail, putting one article in your company newsletter, or adopting a “my way or the highway” approach.
Your communications plan should consider three different groups of employees as the most important.
Senior managers—You need to gain their buy-in and keep it. The champion Merrill refers to should come from this group.
Middle Managers—I agree with Merrill that this is a critical group. They are perfectly positioned to give you excellent feedback on how the change is going including successes and challenges.
Front-line users—If your sales force won’t adopt the CRM philosophy and use its software, then you’re in big trouble.
These aren’t the only groups you need to reach. But you should tailor messages and delivery channels for each of these three due to the critical importance they will play.