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CRM Forecast: Cloudy, With a Chance of Success

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A question that seems to keep coming up more frequently in discussions with firms  about their CRM strategy is whether success would be easier to achieve with a CRM system that was ‘in the cloud.’ ‘The cloud’ is a fluffy euphemism for hosting the firm’s CRM software and data on a server somewhere outside the firm. While this may have become the standard in other industries, and while a case can even be made that external hosting in a professional facility is actually more secure, most firms have not been willing to allow their sensitive client and contact data to reside outside their firewall.

Be Clear About Needs, Challenges and Goals

Rather than having your heads in the clouds, to achieve CRM success, a firm should be more grounded. Focus on the details that make CRM success possible. First, understand your firm’s needs and challenges. What are you trying to achieve by investing in a CRM system? Do you want to identify and leverage relationships for business development, are you trying to track referrals, do you want to better target and segment Clients and prospects? Or is job one to simply fix the mailing and event lists? Wherever the pain is, start there.

Next, set measurable, achievable CRM goals that are agreed upon by the key stakeholders. Then, develop the CRM strategy and put a plan in place to help execute that strategy.

CRM Strategy Is Not About the System and Where It Lives

They should also be sure to focus on CRM fundamentals including training, communication and data quality. Remember, CRM success is not determined by the system that is chosen or where it is hosted.

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