Six Ways to Increase CRM Adoption – Part 2 – Nominate Owners and Champions

CRM solutions often span more than one business department and this alone can lead to a number of challenges. Different departments or teams will have differing priorities and different levels of requirement. The success of a CRM solution may depend on wide adoption throughout the organisation and in this scenario it will be necessary to sell the idea to a variety of different people by finding benefit to all and avoiding burdening any one particular set of users.

Ultimately, you will need to decide who will “own” CRM. Someone will need to coordinate the process, and act as an arbitrator in balancing different needs and priorities whilst still ensuring momentum. This is best performed in collaboration with your key departments.

Research of our own customer database shows that in the vast majority of organisations, the process of selecting a CRM solution is owned by IT. However, after studying many successful CRM rollouts, it is often the case that end user groups with strong champions, who hail from departments such as sales or marketing are often more adept at owning this process.

Elect a “champion” from the department that will own the CRM. Give the champion overall accountability to drive user adoption and evangelise the benefits of CRM within the organisation.

Once you have a champion, select administrators and “super users” from each of the key departments who will use the system. Allow them to represent their departments during the rollout and ensure that they build a consensus around CRM within the department. Make sure that these super users have sufficient influence to represent their departments.

Prior to implementation, leverage your champion to make an effort to fully understand the different priorities within the business. Do not assume that CRM software will magically solve any fundamental business process issues.

It’s worth re-stating that a strong internal champion, who either works in tandem with a “super user” or can become a super user themselves, is probably the biggest factors in success that we see. If no one has overall accountability, no one is driving momentum, and no one is acting as a liaison between the business and the CRM supplier, then the risk of failure is measurably higher. This will often result in the “system” being blamed (often unfairly) for the failure. This type of business may bounce from one supplier to another trying to find the “right” CRM for the organisation.

So champions and super users are vitally important. But do ensure these key evangelists keep three important rules in mind when planning the system:

Rule 1 – “Think big, start small and iterate”
Make it clear that if you try to accomplish every single requirement raised, by the time the system goes live your requirements may well have changed and a lot of resource will have been swallowed up in requirements gathering, design, testing and project management.

Rule 2 – “The 80/20 rule”
80% of the benefit of a CRM solution will probably be available more or less out-of-the-box. The final 20% will require customisation and integration. Unfortunately, this last 20% of benefit may well account for 80% of the project budget. So think carefully on what you really need to accomplish right now and what can be introduced later on as a subsequent phase when you can re-invest some of the return.

Rule 3 – “You don’t yet know the things that you don’t yet know”
If you’re just beginning you CRM journey, you don’t yet know the direction you might want to take later on. Plan to remain agile.

This last point is perhaps best illustrated by way of example. We once implemented a CRM solution for a firm which specialises in providing a Currencies, Futures and Derivatives trading platform. The driver for change was that the business wanted to be able to automate a process whereby if someone was trading in a particular commodity and their results were, shall we say, below average, they could offer to sell the individual appropriate training courses. As a separate requirement, and almost as an aside, they wished to automate the provision of demonstration trading accounts (a kind of one month free trial) to new prospects so that prospects could sign-up on the website, and once the appropriate governance and due diligence checks have been carried out, have the CRM talk to the trading platform and provision a trial account, email out the download link to the prospect and periodically nudge them to convert to a fully paid up account.

We decided to tackle the second problem first as it required less API work. The results were staggering. It transpired that historically, the sales team could only manage 5-10 new prospects per team member per day. This was because it took so long to configure the trial accounts. Once the system went live, the sales team could provision 50 new prospects per team member per day. Needless to say, with up to 10 times as many trials being provisioned, and with automated follow-up, the number of fully paid up accounts also increased by a similar factor.

At this point, the focus of the business changed remarkably. New challenges arose around how to scale this process, how to reach new and larger markets, how to increase the capacity of the mail system, how to fine tune the reminder emails. To this day, the business remains our client and has still not prioritised implementing the original requirement.

As you gain familiarity with the CRM, you will begin to identify areas where efficiency savings can be made and where a little tweaking may add further benefit. It can be hard work to try and determine this all up front.

Other Posts In This Topic:

Part 1 – Understand Sales People
Part 2 – Nominate Owners and Champions
Part 3 – Train and Support the Team
Part 4 – Employ Positive Motivators
Part 5 -“Rules of Engagement” & Lead by Example
Part 6 – Measure, Review and Improve

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