In today’s highly mobile market, up to 30% of a firm’s CRM contact data quality can degrade each year. People get hired, fired, promoted and change jobs; they move and change addresses; they get married and divorced; some retire and a few die. Adding to the problem is “garbage” aka typos, misspellings, transposed numbers and personal contacts. All of this potential for bad data means that if you don’t pay attention to data quality, your end users will begin to distrust the data and, by association, the CRM system. It’s also important to appreciate that your CRM data represents a very important asset – relationships,
Once the outside structure of your CRM is solid, it’s time to think about the infrastructure within your CRM system. How will the information need to flow within the system and externally? What types of connections or integrations will need to be installed to pipe the information where it needs to be? Failure to think about proper information flow during the construction phase can throw a wrench into your CRM plans later, leading to potential backups. When putting together plans for your CRM ‘plumbing’, here are some things to consider:
What systems should connect with your CRM System?
Once you have a solid CRM foundation to build upon, it’s time to begin building out the CRM framework for your system. Of course, the building blocks for every CRM are the contacts, including both people and companies.
CRM Contact “Building Blocks”
There are a number of considerations you need to think about related to your CRM contacts:
- Where is the information now?
- How much of the information should be moved into CRM?
- Will additional fields or notes be needed to capture information related to contacts?
How solid is your CRM foundation? Once you have a concrete strategy and have formed a plan, you need to build a solid CRM foundation to ensure long term success. Doing this type of ‘groundwork’ will ensure that your CRM implementation and structure will stand the test of time.
During your CRM assessment you should have identified the core needs that the CRM can help to fill and problems it can help to solve — the concrete system value (aka, what’s in it for them). That value should form the cornerstone of everything you do moving forward to a build a solid base of support from your stakeholders and users.
What to Focus On
In working together with firms of all sizes on CRM projects, I have come to appreciate that there is no “one size fits all” for CRM success – either in terms of systems or functions. What is more important is to understand what you are trying to accomplish –the firm’s unique needs and goals– and then to fully evaluate all of the solutions that are available to see which can best meet those needs and goals. Ultimately, a CRM system should help your firm solve problems and automate processes.
It’s important to remember that CRM is about people,
Selecting the right CRM Builder is much like choosing the right team to build your house. We’ve all heard horror stories about dealing with bad contractors. Without the right building partner, you are likely to get a house that takes longer and costs more than you imagined. You can even end up with a house that doesn’t “meet code,” forcing you to redo some of the work or, even worse, find another contractor and rebuild from the ground up.
With CRM, this is even more important because you don’t often get a “do-over.” Once users are frustrated with system functionality or data,
CRM success starts with a CRM plan. Once you have invested the time to articulate the initial ideas for your new CRM home, share your thoughts with your CRM consultant or architect and key stakeholders in the organization, and put your CRM plan on paper.
Your CRM consultant or architect can assist you in formulating a strategy and drawing up a comprehensive CRM “blueprint” to help capture all the essential elements of the project. This “blueprint” should address all of the details to successfully execute your building plan and will assist you in understanding the scope of your project.
Building a home – and configuring a new CRM system – are complex projects. For both, it typically makes sense to bring in an expert to help plan the project. Just as it makes sense to hire a skilled architect to create the blueprint for your new home, for a CRM project, it can be helpful to enlist the services of an experienced consultant or CRM architect.
The ideal CRM architect should have significant expertise, of course, and will likely be able to share references from other happy clients whose perfect CRM homes he or she has helped design.