Successful CRM Implementation #4: The Checklist

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Reading about CRM implementation is one thing, and actually doing it is another one altogether. To maybe help the transition from theory to practice, here is a checklist of all the things that you need to consider and do as described in the first three installations.

We have included the full paragraph of each checklist item for context, and then listed the steps you should be taking. Here it is.

  1. To preclude either of these outcomes, the existing state of the business has to be reviewed in detail to see how the new technology will fit. Bad procedures have to be cast aside and effort given to developing new ones that will work with your technology of choice.
    1. Review the existing state of the business.
    2. Identify and eliminate bad procedures.
    3. List the necessary new and replacement procedures.

Lock in the Vision

  1. Because CRM technology influences every nook and cranny of an organization, it’s important that everyone touched by it is made aware of the changes that might affect them. There should be a carefully documented and well-broadcast vision of the company after the transformation has occurred.
    1. Develop the vision statement.
    2. Distribute the vision statement to all affected persons.
  2. The main focus of the vision should be on why change is necessary, and the answer will likely be because things are not working well at present.
    1. Focus the vision statement on the need for change.
    2. Identify the causes for the necessary change.
  3. This is why the vision must be written down at the beginning of the project, and must include a clear description of the problems and issues that provoked the change, along with the expected improvements at completion.
    1. Prepare the vision statement before embarking on the implementation.
    2. Identify and describe the impetus for the changes.
    3. Identify and describe the expected results of change.
  4. Even before the CRM system is specified, researched, and purchased, there should be discussion among all the functional groups within the company that might be impacted, and that will be pretty much the entire company.
    1. Coordinate discussions among the various functional groups.
  5. The plan will include an overview of what has to be fixed and a detailed operational description of how and when to do each step. Key people will be assigned as stakeholders and will take charge of the piece of the project that they control or influence. Goals must be set, expectations have to be aligned with real tasks and measurement criteria has to be identified and assigned.
    1. Prepare a stepwise plan for the implementation.
    2. Assign stakeholders for each task and step.
    3. Set project goals.
    4. Define project expectations.
    5. Develop realistic expectations for each task/step.
    6. Define measurement criteria for each task/step.
  6. CRM is so all-encompassing that each company will have its own unique set of aspirations. The important thing is to get them written down in a plan. That is the only way the success of the project can be monitored.
    1. Document the goals of the project.
  7. Success can only be judged against initial expectations because things will change.
    1. Acknowledge and prepare for change and the accompanying issues.
  8. In order to gauge the value of the investment, the company must record all the initial expectations and the frame of reference for them to be judged in the future. If expectations get modified because new barriers are exposed, they must also be recorded along with proposed methods of resolution so the plan is an ongoing review and measurement of progress.
    1. Record initial expectations (see 6.5)
    2. Record the frame of reference/measurement criteria (see 6.6).
    3. Plan to recognize and record and resolve new barriers as they are exposed.
  9. If changes in business culture are necessary for CRM to work, these must be identified and become part of the expectations section of the implementation plan.
    1. Identify required changes in the business culture.
    2. Record expectations for the changes.
  10. Top management must sign off on the plan and the vision and there should be provisos for what happens if there is a change in management.
    1. Top management to review and approve the plan.
    2. Top management to review and approve the vision.
    3. Acknowledge and prepare for possible changes in management.
  11. The last piece of advice concerned with planning the CRM project is to not tackle too much at once.
    1. Construct the plan for stepwise implementation to reduce the burden on all involved.

Hone up the Processes

  1. Existing processes will inevitably need to be tweaked or changed before the CRM project gets underway, and new ones will need to be developed to take advantage of the technology.
    1. Identify all relevant existing processes.
    2. Change, discard, or develop new processes to support plan resources, goals, schedules, and expectations.
  2. Bring the groups together that are responsible for processing all of the customer’s transactions and look how information flows between them.
    1. Functional groups must examine how information flows between them now.
    2. Functional groups must determine how information will flow between them in the new system.

Develop the Database

  1. A great danger lies in imposing a new set of data on everyone only for them to find that it has lower quality information and stuff belonging to other folks that they don’t want to see. Don’t invent new information. Take the old, then sift through and cleanse it.
    1. Sift and cleanse existing date for accuracy and applicability.
  2. Develop and implement some sensible rules for cleaning information. Use the computer to correct batches of data or remove duplication. Excel or any spreadsheet works well for this. Establish a Database Manager who believes in the vision, and who knows that clean data is integral, and give them the power to control the situation.
    1. Develop and implement sensible rules for data cleansing.
    2. Use Excel or other program to correct data and identify and remove duplicates.
    3. Identify, assign, and empower a Database Manager.

Monitor Progress

  1. There should be regular reviews of vision, objectives, tasks, and achievements, driven by what is laid down in the plan. In these meetings, issues are identified and a plan is set up to take care of them. The project will have tentacles reaching out to everywhere in the organization, and the best tactic is to elicit help from all the people they touch.
    1. Plan and schedule periodic reviews of all aspects of the plan and implementation.
    2. Identify issues as they arise and develop a plan to resolve them.

Lay Down the Rules

  1. When you have a common vision there can’t be any deviations. Most salespeople have large egos and will want to do things their own way. If they learn the advantages of working in a team, they will join in. If they don’t, they will have to be managed by rules.
    1. Include provisions for sales training for the new processes and culture.
    2. Prepare rules for enforcing the plan vision, goals, and processes.
  2. At the outset of the CRM project, the vision has to be carefully articulated with an acknowledgement that change is always difficult, but that the end result is worth the pain. The benefits to the individual, by working as a team, have to be laid down. If the team does not naturally evolve under the new environment, rules may have to be enforced to encourage the process.
    1. Develop and disseminate the vision with an acknowledgement of the difficulties of change (see 2.0)
    2. Identify and document the expected benefits of the new team culture.
    3. Prepare rules for enforcing the plan vision, goals, and processes (see 18.2).

Share the Results

  1. Hold regular meetings to review the original expectations along with the current measurement of success. If people are experiencing a bit more process to guarantee that customer data is getting better, then they should be shown directly the improvement.
    1. Plan, schedule, hold, and document regular review meetings.
    2. Include all affected functional groups.

If It Starts to Fail, Put It Right

  1. If past projects have failed, you can be sure something in this paper was neglected or not done correctly. If your project hesitates, take a deep breath, don’t panic, regroup and start again.
    1. Monitor progress and be prepared to identify and correct any issues or obstacles.


CRM Implementation #1: Getting It Right the First Time

CRM Implementation #2: Develop the Plan

CRM Implementation #3: Make It Work

CRM Implementation #4: The Checklist

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