Achieving a successful and fully adopted Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) platform can be an organization’s most challenging task. Finding and implementing an effective CRM takes considerable time and resources. In its entirety, the challenges of CRM implementation can be significant. But one of the reasons why organizations struggle is they often start the process without enough planning.
Here’s what to consider in the first 30–60 days of your CRM implementation.
An essential part of the CRM planning process should include having a resource plan, both internally and externally. Your internal resources are a key component to successful CRM adoption. Your resource plan should identify how your existing staff will be impacted, including their current workload and how that will accommodate the additional workload.
Also, consider your external resources—even if they are part-time or contract resources. Your resource plan helps identify how to use your external vendors, including software providers and consultants, who may assist with the implementation.
Establish a project governance structure. A governance model facilitates a consistent message throughout the CRM implementation.
For example, executives often consider risk, time, and money during a CRM implementation. A good project governance plan helps to curb the risk, stay closely tied to the budget, and stay on track regarding time. Decide your governance plan early and stick to it.
Effective decision-making is only as good as the information available to make these decisions. And the more people you get together or information to sift through, the more difficult it becomes to make decisions.
Establish a plan or structure for how you will make decisions—whether by committee, consult, or influence. Include more than one way to make decisions because not all decisions are the same. Some decisions deserve lots of analysis and debate, whereas some require minimal, and others can be made independently. Consider these types of decision-making structures.
- Command: One person makes the decision. They either act on the decision independently or tell others about it.
- Consult: One person takes responsibility for making the decision after seeking input from others.
- Influence: The group concludes together, often after extended discussions, and everyone agrees to support it.
Your decision-making structure should be communicated and as straightforward as possible—otherwise, you risk delaying or complicating your CRM implementation. Allow more time to work through difficult and important decisions—analyzing your options and building the internal support you need to implement the decision.
After you establish your decision-making structure, make the appropriate people aware and decide on a plan for application.
Procurement Process Timeline
Have you included your procurement process in your CRM project timeline? The procurement process can drastically change the timeframe of your CRM implementation. Procurements work differently, requiring an understanding of the context—not asking the right open-ended questions can cause delays.
Your procurement process timeline should cover how the process works through established guidelines, including a way to interpret and digest new guidelines that arise.
There may be multiple project managers depending on the size of your CRM project. Because of this, it’s essential to establish a regular and consistent communication plan and a hierarchy.
A resource shortage or project size may require more than one project manager. Within your project hierarchy, decide at the beginning who is the overall project lead. From there, determine who reports to whom and what areas each project manager focuses on.