Hopefully by now, you have gained some valuable insight around starting the CRM journey at your company. I am excited to share our firm’s knowledge and experiences with you, but I realize it may be a lot to digest at one time. I encourage you to leave comments in response to this or other posts in the “CRM – It’s a Journey, NOT Just a Project” series. OK, let’s move on to my fifth insight…
Insight 5: Beware of Self-Implementations, Quick Start Programs, and New Hire Gurus
I’d like to make an analogy. Let’s say you decided to buy a new high-quality suit that you anticipate lasting through a few years of frequent use. You make a trip over to Barneys to spend $1500 on your new threads. It looks great, however, you need to get it tailored. You decide that because you have splurged on a high-quality suite you will save some money by having your local dry cleaner make the adjustments. Your suit comes back a couple weeks later and they have butchered (no pun intended) your expensive buy. You get upset. What happened? They didn’t measure right. They didn’t cut right. They didn’t have much relevant experience with your measurements or that particular brand or style of suit. They don’t know how to fix it. Are you getting the parallel? If you bring it to the dry cleaner, that’s a software implementation quick start program. If you tailor the suit yourself, that’s self-implementing your CRM. If you let your new neighbor down the hall give it a shot, that’s letting the new hire who claims to know CRM well (but knows nothing about your business processes or culture) deploy this critical system. Alarmingly, I’ve see more and more of this behavior recently with poor results. Do I have statistics to back up my claim? My response is that my firm makes a lot of money redeploying CRM solutions which were initially deployed with these methods. I recognize that there is a time and a place for these approaches and that there are indeed case studies of success. However, I am confident in asserting that in the long run, both fees and business disruption are lower when you allow proven experts to help you deploy CRM.
Insight 6: Chunk It Out
My undergraduate degree was in physics not english, and therefore, I am allowed from time to time to use less sophisticated words to drive home a point. Whether you relate to “chucks” or “phases” or “milestones”, the key concept remains the same. Bite off an initial set of requirements which are seemingly very reasonable to accomplish with your initial CRM rollout. It’s OK if you feel as though you are setting the bar slightly lower than you had anticipated because you WILL inevitably be thrown curveballs which will add to the complexity of your project (I also played baseball in college, hence the analogy). Beware of the consulting firm who encourages you to do everything up front. If they truly believe in building a long-term partnership with you, they will understand that your organization can only absorb so much change at one time. Of course there are circumstance where a larger scope is warranted (i.e. when key systems or processes are too closely coupled to make incremental changes), but generally speaking most clients can “Chunk it out”. Our rule of thumb at V2 is to encourage clients to agree on a scope which we can successfully execute together in six months or less.