The Importance of Defining High Level Business Objectives Before Embarking on a CRM Initiative

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What are Objectives?

Objectives are statements describing what the project is to achieve in order to be considered a success, and they act as a guide in managerial decision making. One of the most important aspects of CRM implementation is the formulation of high level business objectives. Good objectives should follow the SMART methodology which dictates that they should be; Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and Time-bound. It is necessary to start off with high level objectives that the business wants to achieve, and then go through the process of drilling down and coming up with specific CRM objectives in order to accurately calculate ROI. CRM objectives will be quantifiable and can be used to create targets for users.

Objectives and ROI

The main purpose of defining objectives is to isolate the business processes or areas of business processes that need attention. A business may want to improve their sales process by providing their sales people with enhanced mobile offline capabilities, or save time through the automation of certain tasks. Once the area(s) that need attention have been identified, it will be possible to get a cost from your selected partner and calculate your ROI. For example, a call centre wants to automate the generation of quotes and invoices to increase the productivity of their customer service advisors through saving time.

100 users

CRM implementation saves each user 1 hour a day.

Assuming users are getting paid min wage, the company saves £670 a day

Which translates to £244, 550 a year.

Departmental Disparity

Organisations must take into account that each department has its own priorities. The customer service department may want to reduce the number of support calls through implementing a self-service Knowledge base for customers. Sales may want better pipeline and forecasting capabilities. When looking into all departments requirements it is sometimes quite easy to lose track of the overall business objectives if CRM objectives are not stipulated from the start. It is very easy to conflate the actual causes of the issues with the business processes with their symptoms. Once the causes have been isolated it is necessary to priorities the areas causing the most friction.

Forming Objectives

CRM is based around the people that use it, when forming effective objectives organisations have to consider company structure, the roles within the company, are there many cultural differences? Are the workforce set in their ways and resistant to change? Understanding all of these factors will play a part in the formulations of ambitious yet achievable CRM objectives. Start in areas which will be easiest and will result in the highest reward for your business with the highest level of buy-in from your users.  Other factors to consider are; complexity of each area, and if the CRM system requires integration with other systems.

Constant Process Improvement

Don’t expect your CRM project to have an ‘end’ date either.  It will never be complete because as your business grows the CRM will adapt and grow with it, perpetuating the improvement cycle.  You will constantly think of new ideas to improve processes and the beauty of a CRM system is that your CRM Administrator can adapt the software to match your ideas.

For more information about the CRM specification process download: Step by Step Guide to getting CRM Right: Step 1