Scoping a CRM project? Read this first
Have you ever scoped a CRM project?
It’s a daunting task, and it’s one that many companies delay and push to the bottom of their to do lists. By applying a structure, you can minimize the workload and still do your day job. A properly scoped initiative helps you:
- establish clear goals
- identify key requirements and the structure of the implementation,
- tackle any showstoppers
- minimize risk
By understanding the parameters of your project and communicating a project plan to others, you can reduce the inherent risk. And a fully scoped CRM project supports high user adoption and board-level confidence in your new system.
Based on experience assisting companies implement CRM, I’d like to share five stages for scoping your next CRM implementation.
1. Understand why you are doing what you are doing
Start by asking your business:
- What are the reasons that have led you to scoping a CRM project?
- What are the headline issues you are trying to solve as a business
- What are the objectives that the organization is trying to achieve with CRM?
If you answer these questions in a document and agreed on this document across your business, you are on the right path. If the objectives and deliverables are in dispute, you need to re-think why you are embarking on this project. By agreeing these objectives now, you can minimize the risk later on when it will be harder to lift your head and see the wood from the trees.
2.Identify key stakeholders
You need to know who the key users of CRM will be.
This means asking:
- Who has problems with a CRM implementation?
- Who argued for different objectives for this implementation?
- Who complained about communication around this implementation?
- How can we collaborate?
And so on.
Your stakeholders will have a solid understanding of the business and a detailed knowledge of their department. And they should want to be involved at this stage. That is a good test of department readiness.
Know who your key stakeholders are and engage them from an early stage.
3. Collect basic information
To begin understanding the shape of a project, you need to know what basics to include, what your current infrastructure is, what systems you may have to integrate with and what KPIs drive each department. This information will come out during detailed discussions but having these conversations now will prevent showstoppers coming out of the woodwork later on. This stage is about minimizing risk and securing basic information.
Nobody wants to get caught out later down the line because you didn’t ask basic questions or because you made inaccurate assumptions.
4. Begin meaningful discussions
Give teams the opportunity to share issues and ideas in an open forum. Some of your team may be cynical at first, but you should create an atmosphere of ownership and commitment to your objectives. You may be surprised by how quickly ideas appear.
The main areas to cover are:
- Functional areas – what are the key areas that need to be covered in the project?
- Current data – what current data do you want to import into a new system? Examine how this could be done and why it should be done.
- Documents – what established documents should you include in your CRM?
- New data – what information do you need to capture? This will help when reviewing software, as you can determine what is “standard” and what needs to be developed.
- Reports – what reports will you require as an output and how often?
- Entities – How you are going to manage the way data is held, managed and reported upon? This could include company, person, opportunities, leads and so on. •
- New behaviours – are you introducing new policies or procedures off the back of CRM? Is there a new market trend that you should be taking advantage of?
- Integration – what is your CRM going to link to?
These discussions can be lengthy and complicated, but making a start is better than doing nothing. I regularly help companies with this phase of scoping, and I recognize it can be difficult to map out requirements when you are heavily involved in the day to day operations of your business.
Documenting your decisions is a good idea. People forget what they agreed on, especially if this stage is a protracted affair.
5. Keep suitable documentation
This stage involves turning your discussions into a meaningful document which you can base your software supplier search and consultation on.
This document will depend on the detail and level of agreement in your company, but it should include a clear statement of your project’s objectives.
It should also include:
- a summary of the department functions included in the scope
- functional requirements by department
- a comment on the existing data, skills and infrastructure
- a summary of any potential constraints on the project
Finally, make sure you get your document signed off before you engage software vendors and their partners.
If you follow this process, you can get a solid statement of requirements without sleepless nights and excessive workload. In the end you want a business partner that recognizes and acknowledges your objectives and priorities as a business.
A successful CRM implementation should then shorten the sales cycle and minimize the risk attached to your investment.
Please let me know if you have any questions about this post on Google+.
Nick Baladi is the Sage CRM Product Champion at CPiO and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can download a full copy of the CPiO Guide to Scoping CRM from the CPiO website.
Based in the West Midlands, CPiO is a privately owned company that provides integrated business solutions covering all aspects of the enterprise - such as finance, manufacturing, distribution, CRM, business intelligence and e-commerce.
Founded in 1990, CPiO has over 24 years experience working in ERP and CRM. A Sage Strategic Partner, CPiO is a re-seller of Sage’s Mid Range software in the UK. Solutions include Sage ERP X3,Sage 200 and Sage CRM.