Business Process Improvement During an Advancement CRM Implementation


You’re embarking on a new advancement in Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) implementation, and everyone is excited about the possibility of improvements.


Institutions assume that by implementing a CRM and overhauling their business processes, everything changes. 


Advancement CRM implementations can last anywhere from 12 to 24 months. Many of the behaviors that users have developed—whether good or bad—have been refined over more extended periods. In some cases, decades. You can’t unravel that knowledge and expect users to adapt to high productivity within that short timeframe. 


Additionally, users working with new technology will also work differently as they adapt to the new CRM.


The complexity of a CRM implementation makes it challenging to revise business processes. But you can make impactful improvements. Here are three things to consider.


As you consider what business processes to improve, you must focus on prioritization to make the most impact. The saying goes, “To focus on everything is to focus on nothing.” 


Don’t cast a wide net and hope to get results. Instead, decide with intention and where to put a concerted effort.

  • Make a case for change: Business process improvement will change how your team operates—especially during an advanced CRM implementation. First, decide why the change is beneficial; specifically, what does your institution stand to gain as a result? And consider what do you need to make the change and who will be impacted. 
  • Garner support: Improving business processes during an advancement CRM (potentially any time) can be expensive and time-consuming. This is why it’s important to get buy-in—from leadership and possibly project team leads. 
  • Consider milestones: Your team is likely overwhelmed with the CRM implementation. Consider how you break the business process improvement into manageable milestones—start small and celebrate progress.


Planning and strategy are a significant part of any advancement in CRM implementation, and the same applies to your business process improvements. A well-thought-out plan establishes clear outcomes for progress and defines methods for measuring improvement.


As you plan for your business process improvements, consider the Six Sigma methodology—a quality-control methodology to significantly reduce mistakes and improve processes.

  • Define the problem
  • Measure the current performance of your projects
  • Analyze the root cause of the problem
  • Design potential solutions
  • Control and track improvement
  • Design an alternative solution
  • Evaluate and adjust

Behavior Change

Technology organically facilitates an improvement in business processes, but it cannot adjust behavior. For business process improvements to succeed, you must consider how to correct behavior—otherwise, you risk repeating mistakes in your new technology.


Behavior changes effects change management initiatives in many ways. Better attitudes and behaviors result in greater cooperation and team synergy, and thus improving overall results. Promote behavior change during your business process improvements by focusing on how people interact and share information.


Specifically, to promote organizational behavior change, consider these principles.

  • Guide—avoid mandates. Cultural and behavioral changes require a movement, not a mandate. Dig into your mission, philosophy, beliefs, and values of institutional culture and adjust to reflect the improvements.
  • Lead—don’t dictate. True change is led by example. But it also earns trust and support from your team.
  • Explain—why and what. Explaining the reasons for a business process change will drastically improve results. Helping your team understand the “why” of change and “what” will change increases the chance of successful adoption. 


Six Sigma Methodology: