How to Put Together a CRM Implementation Team

(Editor’s Note: the following is a guest post from Doug Haines a contributing writer for Discover CRM)

Implementing a CRM system is a critically important decision for any business. However, you can’t just buy a new CRM platform, hit the switch and be on your ray to better business relationships and more revenue. In reality, it’s a much more complicated process with hurdles and pitfalls that much be navigated. Poorly planned implementations can lead to poor user adoption and a lack of understanding from daily users why they being asked to do what they are being asked to do.

Hence, an important element of implementing your CRM is putting the right team in place. This article will explore some of the strategies for getting a team together and operating effectively.

Size Up the Challenge

Every CRM implementation has different challenges to consider. You should first consider a) the difficulty of the challenge; and b) the size of the challenge. This is especially important for larger implementation projects, which are more technically difficult. Then you should build out a detailed plan of what you need to do and the specific challenges you’ll face.

You should get someone to build a specification document at this stage. Most businesses appoint a project manager and then ask them to build a brief. These should be distinct processes, because the scope of the project will help determine who should manage it.

Find Your Leader

You need a day-to-day driver for the project. There should be one person who is ultimately responsible for the project deliverables. It is important to let this person give some input into the specification because they must ultimately be comfortable with what they’ve been asked to deliver.

These project leaders can be internal or external; both can work. In my experience internal project managers work the best, because as the project progresses the scope almost always expands. In addition, a lot of the implementation work goes on post-implementation when issues and problems start being fed back from the end users. This means that hiring an external consultant can send be expensive. However, a consultant with the right skills can be the best option. Whichever option you choose be aware that the scope and time taken is very likely to expand.

Experts

Make sure you have the right technical skills in the team. In the specification document, you should have a clear view of what needs to be done and whether this will require technical skills. Complex CRM implementations will often require developers, Excel experts and consultants who specialize in that particular CRM.

Worker Bees

A lot of CRM implementation work is arduous and can require a fair amount of checking and uploading type tasks. Generally, being able to pull in a stable of employees who can be called into the project will  help to get things moving faster without exploding your budget.

Champions

Have someone senior and well respected in the organization to motivate the team and give them public credit when it is due. Implementing CRM systems can be a thankless task; there are always unhappy end users and no end of problems. The champion is also very helpful for getting buy-in from the rest of the business.

Finally, Good Fundamentals

Make sure the team have clearly set out their objectives, have a solid project management system in place, and meet regularly. These people will be working together on a difficult problem so help to build a professional but friendly atmosphere so people feel they can contribute and that they’re part of a team.

Doug Haines has worked on a variety of CRM implementation projects and now writes on a wide range of topics. He is a regular contributor to Discover CRM

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