-Homer J. Simpson, Nuclear Safety Technician
A lot of my posts have focused on what you should do to be successful in your CRM adventure. Things like embedded change management, building Centers of Excellence, and developing a Brand are all positive actions that you can take. Today’s post is going to take a slightly different tack because I think that there are several things that you shouldn’t do that are just as important as the things that you should to. With that in mind, I respectfully present the start of the CRM Deadly Sins list.
Deadly Sin #1: Too Much Structure:
CRM Systems, at least the good ones, allow you to quickly and easily build, test and deploy system driven and human driven workflows. The natural inclination is to use this capability set of grossly over-engineer your solution and build out processes for everything under the sun. Don’t. You users will quickly get frustrated with too much structure in the early days of the CRM implementation and quickly move away from your intended targets. There is a natural inflection point inside your business between effective process structure and insanity. You need to find that point.
Deadly Sin #2: Too Much Notification:
A close corollary to the excessive use of workflow and structure is the excessive use of notifications, alerts and messages in your solution. Driving too much notification to the users reduces the true impact and value of this feature set and creates a sense of clutter or noise with your solution as the source. People will quickly tune out and the technically advanced ones will create a rule in their inbox that automatically routes the message to a “circular” file. My suggestion is that you keep your initial set of notifications to a bare minimum. Focus on key events like opportunities closing, high priority cases being opened, etc. Then expand with caution based upon user feedback.
Deadly Sin #3: Analysis Paralysis:
No CRM solution is perfect and if your vendor or your implementation partner claims that it is, you may want to re-evaluate your vendor choice. That editorial aside, too many organizations try to build the perfect solution based upon exhaustive requirements gathering and analysis. By the time you get to deployment and go live, the world will have changed and you solution will be wildly out of date. I am a firm believer of the Pareto Principle for an initial deployment of CRM, aim for 80% of your requirements in order to develop momentum and initial successes and then iterate on a regular and predictable basis.
Deadly Sin #4: No Checkered Flag:
CRM systems today bring incredible capabilities, features, functions and possibilities. However, if you don’t know where you are going, what the finish line is, all of the capabilities are of much lesser value. The end state, the finish line needs to be identified and communicated widely. People need to know where they are going and when they get there so there is a collective sense of accomplishment along the way and at the end. One additional point, your company has to define the finish line, not your vendor or implementation partner. Giving the vendor control over the ending point is a risk that you should never accept.
This is just the start of the list of sins. I’d love to get your input. What else needs to be on the list? Let me know the pitfalls that you’ve seen or perhaps worse, that you’ve been in.
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