6 CRM Rules

What’s the difference between the businesses that cite CRM as the reason they’re leading and CRM that fails to deliver?

The answer could be superficial stakeholder engagement.

Most businesses understand the importance of getting buy-in to CRM and so most do some form of customer/stakeholder engagement, but in our experience, it barely scratches the surface and leaves some pretty fundamental opportunities undiscovered.

So, before you begin writing that CRM business case, here are six key stakeholder engagement points to explore.



What do you want CRM to do for your business beyond the headlines of ‘increase sales’ or ‘improve productivity’? What does collaborative working actually look like for your organisation? Stakeholder engagement will help you to identify key issues and refine your objectives e.g. Issue: Cannot consume all data on a customer in the same place. Objective: To manage customer data in one place which, in the case of Microsoft Dynamics 365, is the Single Customer View.



The most successful CRM implementations begin with stakeholder engagement across the entire business. Customer experience is not just the remit of sales, marketing or customer service. It’s every single touchpoint. What works well in one department may cause a real problem in another. So, HR, IT, sales, marketing, customer service, operations, administration, finance, compliance, customer handling et al. Every department needs to be explored.



Look at your teams in every department. Who will be using the platform? What is their current level of training? How easily do you expect they will adapt? Over what time period? What other programmes are they already used to using? The answers to these questions need to sit alongside the features that you will need to meet the objectives that you have identified during stakeholder engagement.



Only frontline staff can genuinely articulate the customer experience that their department creates. Therefore, only they can describe where their efforts work either in harmony or at odds with other departments. They will know why certain initiatives didn’t work. They will be able to see both the customer and business view. It’s a real hands-on experience compared to senior management or head office who will often rely on data. The insight of frontline staff is the difference between evolving a faulty process versus creating a far better one.  If it’s sensitive, use your CRM partner for scoping – any good CRM partner will have the skills and experience to have those conversations.



If new software and processes are going to be created that will truly ‘up’ your customers’ experience of dealing with you, then every member of staff has to be behind it. It has to work in their favour. They have to feel consulted. Doing your homework early on, and thoroughly, will prevent resistance and increase ownership. Giving them an idea of how a new process might work before it comes into play allows them to highlight where it could cause problems that would not likely be identified by management. Many software changes bring a cost to staff in some form or another, even if that’s just pushing them out their comfort zone, so to guarantee user adoption, they must be consulted and given an opportunity to input.



Whilst you need to consult across the business, which should form part of your business case, a good CRM project manager will be able to distil and convey key points internally and externally so the project team isn’t pushed off the timeline. They will set up stakeholder working groups/sessions to ensure they are consulted throughout the process. Again, if you’re unsure about how to do this, a good partner can help with scoping.


In short, ask questions. Find out the why as well as the what. Explore what works and what doesn’t. Look at data, departments and frontline experience together.  Use stakeholder engagement to see how the customer experience jigsaw comes together. Don’t cut corners.

Learn more about choosing the CRM platform that’s right for your business and developing your CRM strategy in our webinar series Your 8 Steps to CRM Implementation Success.