CRM project failures can often be attributed to lack of engagement or putting the wrong people in charge of delivering the project.
As with any system you are designing and implementing it is imperative to engage the end users. Although this seems obvious many CRM projects fail because the end users are not involved and therefore nor engaged in the CRM initiative. Without their input in most cases a solution will be implemented that is not meeting the end user requirements and/or lacks end user engagement. In both cases user adoption will be the downfall of the project. So ensure to engage end users from an early stage or risk a failed project even before it has been rolled out.
Other key stakeholders are equally important such as executive management, project managers and super-users.
Most projects are doomed to fail without executive support. The reason for this is that there will always be people in the organisation who think they know better and who think they can do what ever they want either for their own benefit or because they think they know better than management. Therefore it should be clear throughout the organisation that executive management sees the CRM project as a vital part of taking the organisation to the next level.
The third group of key stakeholder is project managers. One of the most important persons while implementing a CRM system is the person who is responsible for the overall management and is tasked to run the project. This person should drive the project to ensure that all necessary steps are followed and the envisaged end results are achieved. This person needs to have the respect of their peers and other members of the project team and is often a leader but does not have to be a member of management. Generally this person is a do-er with focus on details and has the drive to an enthusiasm to get the job done.
Given their role there is generally no need to get them engaged. However without Executive support project managers can get disillusioned as they often can’t get the results that they have been tasked to deliver without this support. If delivering the project is not one of their key KPIs and they get disillusioned the project will more than likely die a slow death and fail.
The last group I would like to discuss are the super users or project champions; not to be confused with the project manager though. These people are hands-on users and assigned as the super-users and go-to people in the organisation for any queries around the new system. They generally love the new system and want to get the most out of it. As such they will be very knowledgeable of any functionality and value that the new CRM system can bring to the table and are eager to share this with any other user in the organisation. This person is often a system administrator as well and will be a primary contact for the support partner.
When new functionality is released they will be the first ones to find out and assess if this could benefit the organisation.
To give yourself a better chance of a successful project make sure you engage all these stakeholders on the right levels and give them the support they need to deliver the value and Return-On-Investment you expect.
By Peter Dijkema, Client Success Manager, Organon Consulting
A 20-year veteran in the business solutions industry with over 15 years of experience in customer relationship management, Peter Dijkema has worked in numerous sales and marketing roles with major and small technology companies in Europe and Australia. Peter Dijkema is co-founder of Organon Consulting with a focus on helping small and medium businesses to serve their customers better, fix the ‘leaky funnel’ and increase revenue and Not-For-Profit organisation improve stakeholder relationship, increase constituent engagement and increase funding. He also act as an advisor around CRM technology decisions and strategies for small businesses.