Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Happy New CRM Year

The way to avoid causing a CRM 'revolution' at your firm and have a truly Happy CRM New Year is to forget about all of the sweeping changes you resolved to make. Instead, you need to make only one resolution this year: to be a little better each day. I know, it's not very exciting - but it works.

It also makes sense. That's because CRM isn't an initiative or a project. It's a fundamental change in the way your firm thinks about and manages its most important relationships. As a result, CRM success requires an ongoing commitment. This means that it takes time. This means that you are never really 'finished.' This also means there is no need to rush. In fact, firms that do rush often end up failing, which costs them a great deal of time, money - and credibility. 

Many of these firms ended up failing because they tried to do too much too fast: They may have rushed to implement without a strategy or a plan. They may have tried to roll out before their data was cleaned and standardized. They might not have taken the time to gather and implement feedback from end users to customize or enhance the system. They may even have been one of many firms that made the fatal but all-too-common mistake of thinking that it made sense to roll out everyone all at once. Many of these firms learned some very expensive lessons – and several have ended up aborting their rollouts, only to later have to begin all over again later.Many also learned how important it is to get it right the first time because you don't always get a second chance at CRM success. Once CRM has failed, it can be extremely costly and difficult to regain buy-in from firm management and confidence from end users. 

So this year, resolve to enhance your chances of CRM success by simply trying to be a little better each day. Develop a strategy. Commit to planning. Focus on understanding and meeting end user needs. Automate processes to save time and effort. Communicate successes to drive adoption. Measure results to demonstrate return on investment. Find opportunities to provide value to users. Most importantly, don’t do it alone. Reach out for information, ideas and best practices from colleagues, peers, industry experts, vendors or consultants. Remember, we are here to help if you need it. 

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