Questions? Call us now at +1-888-344-2652
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is experiencing a resurgence of popularity.
Gartner research has found CRM is back on many CIO and CTO's top-10 lists for the year to come, and 25 percent plan to implement the tool soon. As with any major technological initiative, a successful implementation isn't guaranteed. The most common pitfalls that affect up to 50 percent of companies include the following:
◾Difficulty creating a CRM strategy
◾Trouble redesigning sales and customer service processes
◾Technology selection difficulty
◾Struggles to implement a customer-focused company culture
While initiatives can fail for a number of reasons, companies all hope to deliver the project on time, within budget and appreciate significant value from the implementation. Here are seven critical success factors for launching your CRM internally within scope:
Implementing CRM isn't entirely a technology initiative. It's also not the responsibility of sales, customer service or any other department. There are key roles to a successful initiative and your program likely needs each of the following to win:
◾CIO or CTO
◾CMO and sales leadership
◾Network engineer or infrastructure experts
◾Information security expert
◾CFO and finance leadership
In some cases, outside consultants are necessary to build and fill certain crucial roles within the CRM implementation success team.
Who needs to ensure the initiative is successful? Every member of your leadership team, even if they're not directly responsible for technology, customer service, sales or marketing. Salesforce's Eanna Cunnane writes that a lack of executive sponsorship is among the top three reasons why CRM implementations fail. Ensure all management and employees are kept informed on the initiative and related goals. Task your senior leadership with playing the role of evangelists.
Recent technology developments, including mobile and social CRM, have transformed the way business users interact with their tools. Instead of time-consuming data entry, it's often as easy as a double-click for sales professionals to log communication with customers. Social listening add-ons can auto-fill data insights on prospects. Invest in CRM vendors and add-ons that make this tool as simple and fun-to-use for your employees as possible.
Designate power users of your new CRM and provide them with tools, resources and a timeline for ensuring all employees are up to date on your software in advance of your go-live date. Expert Geoffrey James recommends designating your managers as internal trainers. This will involve leadership in a successful initiative and put pressure on leadership to learn your new tools.
In the planning stages, it's critical for organizations to understand the value they're hoping to derive from their CRM initiative. Author Susan Clarke suggests the following value statements as the potential basis for initiative metrics:
◾Consistency in customer communications
◾Transparency of sales activities
◾Centralized, accessible data and reporting
By understanding exactly what value you're hoping to drive through your CRM initiative, you can develop quantitative metrics.
Ensure your sales, customer service, marketing and management employees understand that your go-live date is exactly that. Employees who cling to antiquated systems of managing customer relationships will need to give up their spreadsheets. Allowing employees to maintain multiple methods of tracking CRM data can lead to quality issues or diminish your chances of adoption.
If you're facing hesitance from sales professionals over adopting this tool, it can be important to develop "carrots," or incentives for CRM adoption. James is a firm believer that companies should "entice, not force." Performance metrics and awards can be put into place to recognize employees with the best adoption records. It may be equally effective for sales teams to discover efficiency gains via CRM on their own. Demanding immediate adoption can create an environment of hostile attitudes toward your new technology.
Many businesses should ensure that ERP implementation will be successful once it is purchased. Having a successful ERP implementation has been a topic of interest for any organization seeking to install such a system for the first time or upgrade its existing ERP system.
There is some failure stories about ERP implementations, lessons should be learned from those stories. The reality is that companies can anticipate and compensate for well before the first line of code runs. From user adoption issues to selecting the right Enterprise Resource Planning vendor to accurately forecasting the costs of running the new ERP system, businesses of any size now have the tools and experience from other organizations’ failures to learn and not to make the same mistakes.
Organizational challenges are at the top of the list for ERP implementation failures. When a new technology introduced to organizations, business processes and method of performing daily tasks are changed. Employees naturally resist to that change. It is a common human behaviour to resist a change. This being said companies should consider the human factor at every level of the implementation. Training and other support should be provided to improve organizational efficiency through a new ERP system.
Companies may be tempted to choose for every ERP customization available, businesses should balance those customizations against the tried-and-true system to ensure that the Enterprise Resource Planning System doesn’t end up causing problems for the IT staff. Implementing a basic Enterprise Resource Planning system, the cheaper and more in line with industry practices it will be. Not every company is in need for a highly customized solution which increases expenses and requires additional workforce training, which adds another dimension to the challenge of user adoption.
Businesses budget and forecast expenses for ERP implementation. ERP is an investment of the business and a return should be expected for using an ERP system. Budgeting includes purchase of the software itself and maintenance cost. Additional expenses that may not be immediately apparent include labor costs for hiring additional IT support personnel. Businesses should avoid cutting costs or foregoing certain expenses solely for the sake of increasing the return on the ERP investment because doing so could cause the business to incur greater expenditures down the line that could have been avoided simply by paying for it up front. Consulting with an independent expert can often help a business accurately predict how much an Enterprise Resource Planning system will cost both in the present and in the future and may be a worthwhile investment for achieving a successful ERP implementation.
For more information please contact us.
One of the first stages of implementing a successful Customer Relations Management System is to establish measurable business strategies that the organizations can aim for. These should support your basic business strategy and be both achievable and measurable. Keep these goals in mind throughout the implementation process.
Companies should have a plan to have a senior management support. This is absolutely critical and without it, it is nearly impossible to have a successful implementation.
To get that management support make sure that people understand what CRM can and can't do for your company. You want to make sure they understand the benefits CRM will bring to the company while not having an overly optimistic view of the project that will lead to disappointment later.
Your organization should have a well -designed program and start training your staff early. The employees are a crucial component of the CRM system and they will need training on the aspects of the system they will be using. It is recommended to start that training program early in the implementation process so they will have plenty of time to get comfortable with the new system.
The training program should include coaching as well as help the employees over the challenges of the CRM learning.
Employees should involve in designing your CRM implementation. Your employees know how to implement the most critical features of CRM that will help you meet your business goals? Your employees know the best what they need to make their jobs easier and let them work more effectively.
This is important in designing the user interface screens. The way information needs to be presented isn't necessarily strictly logical. It should be designed to follow the flow of the client interaction. That often means a relatively “illogical” flow of information. Which is fine – if the information is being presented in the most helpful fashion? Your employees can help you decide how the screens of information should be designed.
Make sure your IT goals and business goals are aligned so IT can do the best possible job of supporting the business.
Often the IT department can go off on a tangent, maximizing the IT design for their own sub goals in ways that don't properly support the larger goals, or actually make them suffer. It's important that the IT department is aware of the overall goals of the business and designs their operations to support those goals.
It is better to implement your CRM system in stages, starting with the most important functions first. This not only keeps the implementation manageable, it eases the learning curve for the people who will be using the system.
Once the implementation has been done, it's important to measure, monitor and track you Customer Relations Management program, both during implementation and beyond. Measuring, monitoring and tracking provide important feedbacks that are essential for your organization.
Steps to Successful CRM Launch
CRM software is experiencing a resurgence of popularity.Gartner research has found Customer Relations Management Systems is back on many CTO's and CIO's top lists for the year. Twenty five percent of top management plan to implement the tool soon. As with any major technological initiative, a successful implementation is not guaranteed. The most common risks that affect up to 50 percent of companies include the following:
Difficulty creating a CRM strategy
Trouble redesigning customer service processes and sales
Difficulty selecting a Technology
Trouble creating a customer focused company culture
While initiatives can fail for a number of reasons, companies all hope to deliver the project on time, within budget and appreciate significant value from the implementation. Here are some success factors for launching your Customer Relations Management System internally within scope:
Build an Implementation Success Team
Implementing Customer Relations Management Systems isn't entirely a technology initiative. It's also not the responsibility of customer service, sales or any other department. There are key roles to a successful initiative and your program likely needs each of the following to win:
CMO and sales leadership
Infrastructure experts and Network engineers
Information security expert
Finance leadership and CFO
Project management team
CIO or CTO
Outside consultants may be necessary to build and fill certain crucial roles within the CRM implementation team.
Involvement of the Whole Company
Who needs to ensure the initiative is successful? Every member of your leadership team, even if they're not directly responsible for customer service, technology, sales or marketing. A lack of executive sponsorship is among the top three reasons why CRM implementations fail. Businesses should ensure employees and management are kept informed on the initiative and related goals.
Keeping things simple
Technology developments such as social CRM and mobile devices have transformed the way business users interact with their tools. Instead of data entry, it's often as easy as a double-click for sales employees to log communication with clients. Social listening add-ons can auto-fill data insights on prospects. Invest in Customer Relations Management suppliers and add-ons that make this tool as simple and fun-to-use for your employees as possible.
Train the Trainers
Designate power users of your new Customer Relations Management and provide them with resources, tools and a timeline for ensuring all employees are up to date on your software in advance of your go-live date. Designate your managers as internal trainers. This will involve leadership in a successful initiative and put pressure on leadership to learn your new tools.
It is critical for organizations to understand the value they are hoping to obtain from their Customer Relations Management Systems initiative.The following value statements as the potential basis for initiative metrics:
Consistency in customer communications
Transparency of sales activities
Centralized, accessible data and reporting
By understanding exactly what value you are hoping to get through your Customer Relations Management implementation, you can develop quantitative metrics.
Eliminate Outdated Systems
Ensure your customer service, marketing and sales management employees understand that your go-live date is exactly that certatin date.Employees who hold on to outdated systems of managing CRM will need to give up their spreadsheets. Allowing employees to maintain different methods of tracking CRM data can lead to quality issues or lessen your chances of adoption.
If you're facing hesitance from sales professionals over adopting this tool, it can be important to develop incentives for CRM adoption. Companies should attract not force CRM use. Performance awards and metrics can be put into place to recognize employees with the best adoption records. It may be equally effective for sales department to discover efficiency gains via Customer Relations Management on their own. Demanding immediate adoption can create an environment of unfriendly attitudes toward your new technology.
There are several approaches an organization can take when it comes to ERP implementation. It is important to remember that each organization must choose the best strategy for its particular needs:
• Big bang rollout - Here, the implementation happens in one single go. All users move to the new system on a given date.
• Phased rollout - Here, the implementation occurs in phases over an extended period of time. Users move onto new system in a series of steps over a period of time.
• Parallel adoption - Here, both the legacy and new ERP system run in parallel. Users learn the new system while working on the old.
A big bang ERP implementation happens in a single major event. The installation of ERP systems and all the modules happens across the entire organization at once, hopefully after a
great amount of proper planning. Of course, there are many pre-implementation activities that need to be carefully planned and carried out in preparation for this big bang event but once these activities are carried out then the old system will be turned off so the new system can take over. This implementation methodology was commonly used in the earlier days of ERP -- and also contributed to the higher rate of failure – but it is also quick and often less costly in the long run. Here is a quick look at the advantages and disadvantages.
• Shorter implementation cycle
• Cost effective in the long run
• From an employee perspective this is much easier to use as they don’t need to use two different systems for different needs
• Implementation date is fixed and everybody is mentally prepared
• Needs very meticulous planning in terms of fall back options
• More difficult to manage and there may be multiple dependencies
• Employees may have less time to familiarize themselves with the new system
• Planning has to be absolutely flawless as the risks associated with this approach are very high
• Any failures on one system can have a cascading effect on others
• There could be an “Initial Dip Phenomenon” which happens shortly after any implementation because users are struggling with the new system and organizational performance suffers
This is different from the Big Bang because the changes do not happen all at once but rather in a series of pre-determined steps and over a period of time. For example, a phased rollout might be approached by module, business unit, or location:
Phased Rollout by Module - This is the most commonly approach. The modules are implemented one by one. The critical ones are implemented first and then the rest get added
over time. In this approach the recommendation is to begin with core business functions – those necessary for daily operations -- and then slowly add in more modules and functionality with each phase. The reasoning behind this is that you are going to gather a great amount of learning and the necessary experience since the nuances of the system are exposed to you much earlier which makes you better prepared for the implementation in each subsequent phase of the project.
Phased Rollout by Business Unit - This approach is usually done by larger organizations. Here, implementation is carried out in one or more business units or departments at a time. For example, you begin with implementation in Material Management and then move to Inventory, Accounting, Payroll etc. As the team gains more experience with each implementation, the subsequent phases become more efficient.
Phased Rollout by Geography - For organizations with multiple locations, a phased rollout by geography is a common approach. For example, you begin with implementation in Asia,
and then slowly you move to Europe, Americas and other geographic locations. Each of the geographies will have their own business process defined and the challenge here is to
agree on a common business process at least 80% and the other 20% could be customized depending upon the specific needs of the geography. This approach is also called pilot
approach. Again, there are advantages and disadvantages for phased implementations.
• Very helpful if the team is new and less experienced in the given technology
• Provides enough time to consolidate all the learning and thus allow subsequent phases can go smoother
• It may not need such meticulous planning in terms of fall back options
• Less difficult to manage as the focus is limited
• Employees have enough time to familiarize themselves with the new system
• In case of any failure on one system, it may not have an adverse cascading effect on others
• With conversion occurring in parts, time is available for adjustments
• It is the least risky implementation
• Pace of change is much slower than big bang but faster than phased approach
• In case of any unforeseen failure with the new system, the old system still continues
• It allows overlap and fall-back controls
• Does not need very meticulous planning in terms of fall back options
• In terms of pure financial terms, this is the most expensive solution
• Employee has to enter data into both the system.
• Employee may continue to use the old system thus making the new system least effective
• Users tend to compare the old and new and take an unnecessarily negative stance against the unfamiliar
• Users have psychological issues letting go off the old system
There is no one single ERP methodology that covers all the disciplines required for an ERP implementation. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to implementing an ERP system. The trick is to learn how to integrate these different methodologies together. Every company has unique goals, and an implementation requires careful planning and analysis.
Looking to implement ERP? We can help. Contact us.
Some organizations try to implement a new Enterprise Resource Planning system without a sufficient training program. Without a basic training program ERP implementation is set to failure in many organizations. Here are some tips that will help businesses develop an effective training plan.
ERP training should be planned and developed before an ERP implemented in your organization. An Enterprise Resource Planning system will alter many different structures throughout your business, such as organizational structure, business processes, the way people view their jobs, and more.
Companies should start to plan for this type of change so that the ERP implementation will be successful. Organizations should have change management strategies in their policies and apply them before an ERP implementation. If the change management policy is not put together, develop one before introducing the ERP system.
Senior executives don't usually enter data into the Enterprise Resource Planning System but it's still important to ensure that they understand the benefits of the system, the type of changes will happen in the organization so that they plan and manage for the time and the effort needed for the ERP integration.
If the management has no knowledge of the requirements of the system, they may have expectations of the system in terms of the go live date and the capabilities of the ERP system. This type of miscommunication will put more pressure on the implementation process than there needs to be.
As training is provided down through the categories, there has to be a good balance between the context and job-specific training in the organization. You want to avoid content extremes. There should be a good balance on the context provided in training sessions but all employees should understand the way the business processes and how ERP will have an effect on the daily tasks of the employees and the operations of the business. When this preliminary work has been done, employees will be more comfortable focusing on learning how to operate and work with the ERP system.
Online learning and classroom training are the best combination of learning methods for organizations. Live training sessions with the support of senior management are effective ways to start the training in different departments.
Classroom sessions will be required to ensure that employees avoid developing bad habits before they're comfortable with the new systems. Online learning sessions can be used to reinforce classroom training. The "learn at your own pace" approach provided by online training allows employees to learn the system without affecting productivity. Virtual workshops are effective for presenting advanced functions.
Before an ERP implementation training budgets have to be determined. A generous training budget suggested for the ERP implementation to be successful. It shouldn't be a target of cost saving method.Training and frequent communication should be a top priority of your business, otherwise you will end up owning a very expensive version of Excel system instead of an Enterprise planning system.
One training program through your organization won't make your Enterprise Resource Planning implementation successful. Your system will change as the software is updated.New add-on features, and new capabilities will be part of ERP system. In addition, organizations have to plan for employee turnover.Your ERP system is critical, new hired employees need a professional level training that was prepared and provided when the system was first implemented.
An effective training program will provide many benefits to your organization. Training is one of the vital elements for an ERP implementation. It is critical to ensure that your company provides an efficient training program before the ERP implementation and keeps up training to ensure employees are using the system correctly. Periodic refreshment and system update training sessions should be offered thought the organization. This way organizations will get most of out of their ERP investment and eventually increase the bottom line of the business.
A project management plan is needed to install a new Enterprise Resource Planning solution. Project failure is always a possibility, but by following some of the strategies listed here, companies can reduce their likelihood and impact. Minimizing risk is the key to ensuring project success with a new Enterprise Resource Planning solution.
All stakeholders and leaders should understand the reasons for the change. If management doesn’t accept or support the upcoming change, budget and resource planning will be affected. The requirement must be clearly defined, budgeted and resource changes should be outlined, and the vision for the change should be communicated.
Your organization will face several problems during implementation of a new Enterprise Resource Planning system. To gain much-needed support and to motivate project teams, the implementation of ERP must be given high priority. The implementation project manager must drive the project with proper guidance. A lack of clarity on the requirements and changes can negatively affect and delay progress.
A constant communication with project managers should occur to eliminate barriers within the organization. This is where leadership must take place stepping in and removing any problems before they grow. Executives should be aware of all changes from a high level, project managers must have a deeper view, and end users must have all the details they need to use the new Customer Relations Management system.
A new Enterprise Resource Planning system implementation should correct any issues and provide enhancements to your business. Successful practices in the past can become markers for success in the future. Understanding where the ERP implementation will fit into the company’s goals is essential to obtaining the assets and engagement required to stay within the timeline and budget. An overview of the project should highlight the budget, timeline, and assets for the complete implementation. A plan should be put in place to clarify how each team or project leaders will adopt the new ERP solution.
Two pre-implementation meetings should be held to introduce the new Enterprise Resource Planning system and any questions should be answered. Lack of explanations around how the Enterprise Resource Planning system will work and subsequent changes, duties, and roles can lead to confusion. This can make the new system difficult to execute. Without a properly designed structure and explanation, departments and teams may end up duplicating their efforts or leave major tasks incomplete as they begin to understand what their responsibilities are. A well-planned implementation plan, discussions and demonstrations will help ease frustration and fear of jumping into a new system.
There is always a chance of errors therefore there should be some time left to make other employees understand the system and correct their mistakes in the beginning. The success of the implementation will depend on how effectively everyone involved understands the changes and challenges they will face. To effectively address challenges, the main changes should be explained and examined, followed by an understanding of role and responsibility changes.
For more information please contact us.
CRM Systems is a full-service professional service provider of end-to-end ERP and CRM solutions for the SMB business market.
We are experts at what we do.
Contact us today for more information.
CRM Systems serves all of the United States and Canada with particular emphasis on the south-western USA, Ontario and western Canada.
Goudy Bookletter 1911