Today's guest blogger is David Wojtonik, a Principal Consultant at Sonoma Partners.
When speaking with companies who are looking to implement a new CRM system or enhance their existing system, I like to reference an old Johnny Cash song I used to listen to with my grandmother.
Who would have thought that Johnny Cash would have a profound impact on how I approach CRM strategy? One song in particular is about a man who works on the 'sembly line at the Cadillac factory in Detroit. His grand plan is to sneak parts from the factory every day - one at a time - in his lunchbox until he has all the parts required to build his own Cadillac. The problem is that the pace by which he is sneaking parts causes him to end up with parts that span 20+ years, and the pieces don't line up.
"So we drilled it out so that it would fit
And with a little bit of help with an adapter kit
We had that engine runnin' just like a song
Now the headlight was another sight
We had two on the left and one on the right
But when we pulled out the switch all three of 'em come on."
All too often companies aspire to have a Cadillac CRM, but end up with something that best resembles the jalopy that Johnny Cash describes in his song. Believe it or not, without a well-thought-out strategy, organizational buy-in, and a strong partner, even the best CRM platform can fail. Below I will detail some best practices to avoid needing the "adapter kit" mentioned above.
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CRM Steering Committee:
The CRM Steering Committee is responsible for establishing the strategic vision of the overall CRM program. Keep in mind: This program will touch Marketing, Sales, Delivery, and Customer Service. With that said, having cross-functional representation is key. Another point to understand is that the vision is not static. That means that this committee needs to meet regularly to evaluate and make changes as necessary.
CRM Product Owner:
The product owner is a person or team responsible for managing the various requests that come from the user community. This function is responsible for collecting requests, understanding the reason for said request, prioritizing, and socializing it with the steering committee to ensure it is in-line with the strategic direction of the program. Without this function, a CRM system can get out of control very quickly.
Business Process Owner:
It's very rare that any CRM technology can solve for a bad business process. Evaluating your current processes and making the necessary improvements prior/during your CRM implementation will help ensure that your technology is enabling a strong process. Like a product owner, the process owner is responsible for gathering feedback and proposing changes if necessary.
A strong CRM partner brings industry best practices, technology expertise, and line of sight into the CRM platform's roadmap. Selecting a strong partner that understands your strategic vision and has the capabilities to partner with you to achieve that vision is paramount (I know a good partner if you need one...).
By following the above, I promise you that it won't take 20 years to have that Cadillac CRM you always wanted.
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