The Project Team Mindset for a Successful Advancement CRM Implementation

For any organization, implementing a Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) system is a challenge—bringing about changes on all levels and involving every employee.


The promise of a CRM is captivating, but it can be frustrating in practice. A CRM allows organizations to gather constituent data swiftly, identify the most valuable donors over time, and increase donor loyalty when done correctly. It also reduces acquisition costs and makes it easier to engage similar donors later. But when a CRM doesn’t work well—which is often—it can lead to costly and timely mistakes.


Building an effective CRM implementation team is critical for successful adoption. An effective CRM project involves all parts of an organization—including top management. But what may be one of the essential aspects to successful adoption is your CRM project team.


Here’s how to support the project team mindset for a successful CRM advancement implementation.


A CRM must be able to deliver on its promised ability to help organizations achieve their goals. The solution must be flexible enough to cater to an entire range of donors for this to be possible. Organizations succeed when they adapt their CRM to work with complex data sets.


From the start, look through a wide lens, then adapt as you learn about new conditions and parameters. Hold sessions to identify requirements in detail and adopt agile project methodology that allows you to discover CRM challenges early. But remember, mistakes must be allowed; the goal is to learn from them and move forward.


There are hundreds of decisions to make during a CRM implementation project. Therefore, the team must avoid stalling the project for a single decision. Instead, identify and respond to changing requirements or goals to prevent delays while striving for continuous improvement.


Establish an infrastructure for efficient decision-making. Empower your team to make the best decision with the information at hand. Letting them know that they can make a different or better decision if they acquire knowledge later.


Every member of a CRM project team has different skills, expertise, and talent. Collaboration allows everyone to share their ideas while understanding how their team members think, work, and operate. This, in turn, allows the employees to learn from their colleagues and build upon their strengths.


All parties should be permitted to contribute to the end goal. Collaboration builds trust and accountability. Making contributions through the lens of what “we” need as a department, not what “I” need as an individual staff member.


Low-budget and mid-market CRM users are often tasked with implementing CRM systems independently, so, understandably, they have challenges to face during the implementation process. CRM implementation challenges are some of the main reasons CRM projects fail to achieve their objectives.


These challenges may include resistance to adopting the software, data security, and inaccurate data entry. When it comes to the project team mindset, head into the implementation with the idea that disruption will happen. Overcome this by challenging the traditional culture to improve user satisfaction and deliver better value in your CRM project.


When it comes to a CRM, teams tend to over-analyze, and things get way too complicated. Easy access and intuitive user interfaces are critical for CRM software to be widely adopted. Avoid solutions with inconsistent terminology and little guidance on how to navigate account entries and donor data.


Encourage your team to simplify. If you can’t explain it in a 30-second elevator pitch, it’s too complicated. When it comes to fields, less is more—only the most important details about each contact or opportunity are required, with the option for users to add more detailed information when necessary.


Like any significant transition in an organization, CRM implementation takes time, effort, patience, and investment. But the benefits of supporting your CRM implementation team are well worth the effort.