I was having coffee with a friend today and we were discussing our experiences with being responsible for managing a CRM system in one or more companies during our professional careers.

Our combined experience spanned a vast array of responsibilities from vendor selection, implementation of systems, implementation of business processes, data migration, training, stakeholder management and a whole lot more.

It was quite ironic because the more we shared our experiences the realization that we were CRM twins in many aspects. We always knew we shared a passion for wanting to help organizations gain the full potential of their processes through the proper use of their applications but we were unaware of how similar our experiences were working in this area.

A Key Point:

is hard and maybe it is time to do things differently?

One thing that I wanted to share is the need for companies that want to “ transform” should create a small innovation group that sits outside the daily business routine.

This innovation team should be tasked with finding new technology and efficiencies for the company without having to take into consideration all the politics and inertia that is hindering possible transformation. Basically be allowed to find a new way of doing things without the constraints of current business reality.

We have experienced many times that true inspiration can be snuffed out because of politics and inertia in organization. In some examples we discussed how employees sitting longer than “x” years actually hindered transformation because they kept grudges alive and ground things to a stop due to their inertia.

A few things that constantly popped in our discussion that I would like to share:

1.) and :

I believe that communication is a habit that is fostered in the executive level. It is tied to the actual values that are practiced at the top and trickle into the organization. Values that are openly practiced by top management will includes a rhythm of communication frequency including how things are communicated, what is communicated and to who is included to have a say of what is communicated.

Without a clear set of named and practiced set of values and open channels of communication at all levels then there is a guaranteed chance your CRM and other systems are failing or going to fail?

WHY? No system lives in a vacuum and to succeed it has be apart of the working values of the company and without open communication the CRM will only reflect what top management needs in reporting and not a tool that helps front line workers be more productive.

We both named numerous projects that failed or never met their fullest potential because of broken communication and values that were not practiced at the top.

2.) Training:

If you have just started at a company or you have been in one for a while knowing how people are educated in organizational processes will tell you if what you are planning to do will be adopted.

WHY? If there is no process for how people are trained then how will existing and new employees learn about how the new system will work or how the changes will affect them? We both were responsible for training, creating documentation, videos, webinars in person workshops.

I would argue that the answer to how employees are trained should tell you as a CRM Manager if adoption will occur. Employees do not have time to figure out for themselves and if there is a problem with values and communication then getting people up to speed in an orderly manner is key.

3.) Time and an Open Mind

The last one I will touch on is time. Does key stakeholders, super users, front line users have the time to reflect over their work and can find the time to agree on a how the CRM system can actually help them? Or are they driven so hard they don’t have time to add a feedback loop into their daily routines because there is that KPI to be met all the time.

The challenge is if employees are driven hard while having obvious low hanging fruit pains then they will not be able to reflect and self reflection is important for having an open mind which leads to transformation.

Therefore, Pushing ownership downward of systems and allowing employees the time to actually own can help may CRM systems meet their potential.

Conclusion

There are many conclusions and I would love to hear more about your experiences with why things never reach their fullest potential.

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