The ideal place to start for first-time investments is a CRM Readiness Review.
The ‘Discovery Phase’ of CRM can be done on a DIY basis or as an exploration guided by a broadly experienced CRM consultant. Prime issues to include:
  • Workshop the customer-centric idea; what does it mean to staff who manage and develop relationships?
  • What relationship processes could benefit from some sort of database support? What is relatedness?
  • What do CRM’s do and what is life like if you have one?… Note that there are design differences; what do you like/not like?.
  • What would users find useful, what do CRM projects/systems/customisations cost? 
  • What quantifiable benefits/savings are available with a successful system? For benefit scenarios, who will take ownership?
In the Discovery Phase, it is common for teams to feel the desire to ‘get it right first time’. Laudable though this sounds, seeking perfection sets un-achievable goals for your first CRM project. There are many examples of this.
The Living-It Phase- For a start, the environment is moving, so your ideal CRM set-up will need a rethink in 2 years or so. There may be many relationship ‘touch-points’. Stakeholders may be many and varied. In uncertain times investing in complex processes with long-term payback is inadvisable. There will be for most management teams ‘wish-list’ items that appear useful, and there will be the unknown unknowns. In this latter group there will be relationship support processes that can only be discovered after using a CRM for some months. Sometimes a small project based on an inexpensive ‘throw-away’ system facilitates this kind of learning/discovery. It’s like riding a bike… if you haven’t ridden on a CRM how will you know what’s real and what’s smoke and mirrors? This is an inevitable issue with all first time investments and illustrates why an external consultant can add value. We’re here to help.
The Moving-on Phase- If you are looking for a change away from a CRM application that is not working, you should consolidate the good learning that has taken place and notice that your customer-centric culture has evolved in a good way. So you know how to ride the bike, but you need more. We are here to help you on the next phases of your journey.