CRM development is not a simple IT project, and large-scale solutions can take years of development and planning. Luckily there are some pitfalls you can easily avoid and prevent your CRM project from becoming a burden on your organisation.
Set your targets
Your organisation needs to know exactly why they need a CRM solution, and what they hope to achieve with the software. By identifying realistic targets, you can measure your CRM’s success and understand if it’s a cost-effective solution.
Set a training programme
Don’t leave training your departments too late in the project. CRM’s require technical expertise to ensure it is being used appropriately. Reduce mistakes, keep your data clean by best practise operation of your software. The last thing you want is to approach launch day and realise none of your staff can use it, leading to more deadline push backs!
Understand your IT environment
How will your CRM integrate with the rest of your IT infrastructure? Do you have an offline-only system that needs to interact with it? In which case you may need an on-premise solution or consider expanding your current environment to connect with a cloud solution. Understanding your surrounding environment is critical and if small, easy to make oversights can lead to expensive resolutions. We would recommend partnering with a specialist and hiring a consultant who can fully understand your situation and how to navigate these obstacles.
Is your CRM project considering the future as well as the present? Your CRM and your organisation are both evolving and therefore your project accounts for this. Will you need more users in the future? Do you have processing performance to keep up with demand? Will you require more data storage in the years to come? Identifying your future requirements isn’t easy but ignoring can be disastrous.
Test, test and test. Before launch, you need to spend a significant amount of time testing your processes, looking for bugs, analysing performance and identifying bottlenecks. Anything that is sent straight to a live production environment is just asking for trouble.
We would recommend creating a checklist that evaluates processes and going back to the drawing board if you find any issues. This is a normal part of the development process and it will leave you in a better position long term.
When embarking on a new CRM project, you need to appoint people in your organisation who is held to account for milestones, budget, and driving the CRM forward. At Serversys, we are experienced in using an agile methodology, which enables the production cycle to be broken down into smaller, manageable components and aligns well with business planning. We would therefore you use a similar process for your CRM project.
If you don’t have individuals that take responsibility, your project will drift, become over budget and miss deadlines. Identify the roadblocks in the development process and how you can overcome them before it becomes a problem.
Finding a steady stream of work for your developers so that don’t need to stop and wait for other milestones to be reached is a good example of why coordinating the CRM project is beneficial.
How is your data currently stored? How easily can it be imported into CRM? How will it be used? Understanding your current data set is helpful for the development process. It also presents a good opportunity to review your data collection process and see if you are maintaining best practice standards.
Avoid the common development pitfalls of inconsistent data which can skew reports and lead to incorrect decisions being made in the future.
If your users can’t trust the data, they will soon go back to using their old ways. Split the data between your account managers and task them with cleaning their own data before putting it back together.
How quickly do you need your CRM up and running? Rushing a launch will lead you to miss key functionality that will cost you later. Leaving it too long could mean your solution is already out of date and no longer reflects your business requirements. It can eat up your budget too!
Keep your development process moving at a steady pace and continue to review when milestones are met. Plan around key dates in your business year. When are you busiest dates? Do you have any events you want to avoid launching your CRM around? A CRM partner has multiple projects at any one time, so the sooner they are informed about their duties, the smoother the process will be.
What is the cost of a CRM? Calculate the costs of planning, implementation and long-term support. You should calculate the costs of not having a CRM. What impact are the current systems having on your organisation? How will your organisation be positioned in the future, and will your CRM help you get there?
You need to also prioritise what you do and don’t need. A CRM can be as expensive, and you want it to be, especially if you continue to purchase modules and add-ons that are not regularly used.
Be strict when creating your CRM wishlist and remove anything that isn’t regularly used. Do you need ongoing support with a partner? What services do you need? How expensive is your required infrastructure?
Business Rules and processes
Your organisation already has business rules and processes that will need to be aligned with your new CRM. Understand how these will be integrated and whether they need to be changed for them to work together. An experienced CRM partner will be able to discuss how these processes will be migrated.