Marc Talbot, former commercial operations director at Acuris, shared his insights from over 15 years of experience in the field.
Together, we’ve outlined five main lessons taken from our experience implementing and working with CRM software.

According to research by Gartner, the worldwide CRM software market grew by 12.6% in 2020.

In today’s digitally driven and customer-centric market, organisations are focusing on delivering value more than ever.  Acuris, a financial services company, utilises their CRM competencies for over 350 people in commercial teams, and with around 90 employees using the CRM to boost customer success. The business was acquired in 2019 for €1.5 billion, compounding the need for organised and optimised services.  

Here at redk, we work to help companies become digitally mature, optimised, and automated, ensuring that organisations are primed for CRM success. Together with Marc, we outlined 5  keys to successful CRM projects based on practical experience. 

The dos and don’ts of CRM implementation—in five key lessons. 

CRM Projects are NOT About the Software

Too much focus on functionality instead of business outcomes is a recipe for CRM software disaster. When choosing a CRM, your organisation should hone in on the objectives behind the purchase, not the plan with the most features available.  

According to Marc, ‘There should be more focus on how you’re going to use the system, rather than just buying the leader. A well-implemented version of a CRM system will be far more beneficial than one that isn’t used properly. It’s really how you use it that’s key.’  

When comparing CRM options, companies should keep outputs, process ownership and governance in mind to guarantee a focused and committed project.  

It’s All About the Details

CRM is all about truly understanding the business. But, the customer should always be at the centre of organisational design. 

Companies often get stuck in a ‘that’s the way we work’ mentality, stalling more productive process design. Isolated departments lead to inward-looking processes and a lack of visibility around data flow. If a customer service team member doesn’t have access to the right data, they aren’t able to respond efficiently to a customer query, directly damaging the customer experience.  

Each type of data is collected in different ways. In conjunction, they allow for automation. If operational systems are not fully integrated, collecting data information is a lot more difficult.

User Adoption is Key

More often than not, organisations struggle with a lack of user adoption, continuity, and support for CRM initiatives.  

The trick, however, is making resources available to your users. Make sure that you progress the CRM software implementation in line with the business evolution so that you can continue delivering value to end users.  

We’ve said it once, and we’ll likely say it again:  

Transformation can only be accelerated with the support of each person within.  

To encourage and guide user adoption, lay out organisational change management strategies before beginning the transformation. This will help offset the natural resistance to change, allowing your organisation to sustain the benefits of new strategies.  

 There is No ‘I’ in CRM

Complex projects such as these are delivered most successfully by talented people. In particular, those who are committed to using their talents in a team. 

The amount of people and expertise required for implementing and optimising CRM software requires a pooling of efforts and abilities. So, initiatives must be accepted and set in motion throughout several parts of the business—not just sales or customer experience teams.  

Each and every member of the CRM team must understand the product you sell, as well as the product you’re implementing. This requires cohesive effort with feedback, input and commitment across the board.  

Build on a Vision 

Implementing and utilising CRM requires strategic, long-term thinking. That means mapping out a blueprint: establishing a governance model, creating a ‘CRM by Design’ plan, building a delivery roadmap and managing organisational change.  

Once the strategy is in place, your organisation can implement short-term actions. Frequently review your vision based on data, and build up incrementally. 

Building and executing a plan requires agility and quick reactions. CRM is a journey of alignment and organisational change. 

All in all, it’s the initial steps that set you on the right path. Prioritise implementation and selecting the software that’s best suited for your organisation over choosing the most popular option.  

With over 15 years of experience in consultation services and CRM implementation projects, we here at redk can help your organisation stay on track throughout the journey.