Sonoma Partners Microsoft CRM and Salesforce Blog

Thinking about CRM Differently

Today's blog post was written by Bill Goergen, Principal Consultant at Sonoma Partners.

We were recently at a meeting for a business servicing the national trucking industry. They had already determined that they needed a new CRM implementation, and we were involved as they were making a partner selection to help them with implementation.

As we were diving into the requirements and expectations, we uncovered a situation that raised a few red flags.

First, this company had five major lines of business. The single VP in our meeting represented one of them. Two of the divisions already had a CRM system. One was characterized as a “failure” and the other performed a very narrow and specific function within that one division. We were now in discussion about adding a third CRM to the mix.

Further discussion revealed that even though the various divisions frequently called on and serviced the same customers, there was no visibility into the sales or service activities of the other divisions. The VP acknowledged this was an issue but was not inclined to operate outside of his area of responsibility.

You get the picture: there was no alignment of business processes or view of the overall customer relationship.

This is not uncommon. Most organizations make the decision to implement a CRM system either because they have processes (one or more) that simply don’t work very well, or because information needed to run the business efficiently are not being captured so the leadership team does not have insight into the true state of the business.

In many instances, these questions come up at a division level, or within a specific function in the organization. They have a pain point and in looking for a solution, they hit on CRM. They implement CRM to address specific issues, but are missing out on the benefits that a truly comprehensive and integrated system can provide.

This organization was a perfect candidate to step back and ask a few very simple but pertinent questions:

First, what is the role that CRM should play in our organization? Is that consistent across divisions? To put it differently, what is our CRM strategy?

Second, how do we most efficiently execute against that strategy? What projects will deliver the highest value in the least amount of time? What is the roadmap that will get us from here to there in a thoughtful and efficient way that will still allow realize benefits sooner rather than later?

Third, how will we know if we got it right? How will we measure the impact and success at each step of the roadmap?

Fourth, what are the benefits our organization will derive from implementation of this CRM roadmap? This can be used to help assess prioritization and budgetary concerns.

While the questions are easy, coming up with the answers are not. This requires input and cooperation from all levels and divisions within an organization. However, once completed, this work can provide guidance and benefits to an organization far beyond any to be gained by a point solution of CRM.

At Sonoma, and across the CRM industry, there is growing recognition that having a concise and well-defined CRM strategy and a road map to guide the execution of the strategy is one of the most important factors in delivering a truly successful and transformational CRM implementation.

Interested? We can help.

Three Steps to CRM Success

Topics: CRM Best Practices