Perfecting Service Management

Issue #109

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

CRM Implementations: Avoid Overly Aggressive Timelines
By Craig Bailey

In our last newsletter, we continued the series on Addressing the Realities of (Sales) CRM Implementations. Prior articles covered the following topics:

This article covers the topic of "Avoiding Overly Aggressive Timelines."

As with any project, there is always pressure to get it done as quickly as possible. For a CRM project, there are two common challenges related to this topic:

  • Trying to do too much at once
  • Determining if a system integrator can ensure project timelines are met

Trying to Do Too Much

CRM is a big initiative. And, there is a strong desire to specify an aggressive timeline to "do it all." A key element underlying all CRM initiatives is the need to integrate access to all customer information. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Lead management
  • Campaign management
  • Business planning, forecasting and opportunity management
  • Order processing
  • Shipment and billing history
  • Customer service / Technical Support

Many implementations have failed simply because the project was too aggressive. To mitigate this risk, identify the few highest priority areas to target and implement them. Once implemented, let them "burn-in" to the environment, allowing you to achieve a measure of adoption. In parallel with the burn-in period, begin work on the next few highest priority areas. Continue this cycle until you have achieved your major CRM objectives.

Can a System Integrator Ensure Project Timelines are Met?

What a systems integrator can provide is highly skilled and 100% dedicated resources to do most of the "heavy lifting" associated with your CRM initiative. However, the key question that you need to ask is: "Can I keep up with them?" In order for your CRM initiative to be a success, a significant commitment of time must be provided from key business areas that are within the scope of the project. To be more specific, you will need to identify "A players" from the business who will be 100% dedicated to the CRM initiative for an extended period of time. Attempting to do this without 100% dedicated resources or with "B players" will only result in failure.

In summary, investing in the premier systems integrator relieves some resource burden, but it does not guarantee that timelines will be met. A well-balanced plan with dedicated resources from the business is an absolute requirement.

In future editions we will cover the remaining topics of this series including:

  • Proficiency After 2 Days of Training?
  • Your Sales CRM is Live: What's Next?

In closing, if you are embarking on a CRM initiative, or are in the middle of a CRM program that doesn't seem to have the traction you'd like to see, give us a call. We'd be happy to assist you in framing up your initial project for success as well as provide objective insight on your existing initiative to ensure that you achieve the anticipated ROI.

As a reminder, our whitepaper Avoiding The Common Pitfalls of CRM is available for download from our website. Finally, if you are looking for a CRM implementation primer, consider the following book: CRM Automation by Barton J. Goldenberg.


+ CRM Implementations: Avoid Overly Aggressive Timelines
+ Recommended Reading

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Recommended Reading
For additional considerations for CRM implementation, read NewsFactor's CRM Daily article Planning for Growth with Scalable CRM by Elizabeth Millard. Ms. Millard stresses the need to think ahead and map out growth plans for your company, from the top down (or bottom up), to be able to implement a flexible CRM system that can grow with you.


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