What are the strengths and weaknesses of your companys current processes?

The first step in implementing a successful CRM project is to conduct an internal analysis.
This usually starts with an assessment of the current state of things. These most usually include the “aches and pains” that hinder your teams productivity and detract from your companys goals.
How do you know what the current state is? Begin by asking your sales, marketing and customer service teams a few key questions:
• What are the strengths and weaknesses of your companys current processes?
• How can these processes be improved?
• What administrative activities are detracting from their productivity?
• What is the competition doing?
This section should be as brief and precise as possible. It then sets the stage for you to outline your project goals, objectives and requirements.
Note: Some of the things that typically emerge from the current state of things:
• Data redundancy/ duplication of customer data
• IT systems including database currently in silo architecture
• Marketing automation capability: customer segmentation, customer targeting,customer data integration, and campaign management done manually. Currently no software available for these marketing task to be automated.
• Salesforce Automation Capability: No clear capability to perform customer profitability analysis, time management, Call management, Opportunity management, Account management, Territory management activities.
3. CRM program/project objectives

The current state of things in the internal analysis could reveal “Revenue Gap”. It is the difference in revenue that could be derived if all of a companys Customer Facing Departments were working with optimum information and at peak efficiency.

Many companies understand that the greatest competitive advantage they have is what they know about their customers and how they use that data. However, most companies have not established the systems and methods necessary to capture customer centric information and leverage it into higher revenues and profits. Once captured, this information may be used to strengthen customer relationships that will then help to differentiate your offering and decrease the necessity to engage in costly price wars. Your ability to capture and leverage this customer information will become the measuring stick for your companys future success.

The overarching objectives of the CRM program could include one of the following:

• Increase customer retention rates
• Increasing customer acquisition rates
• Increasing customer loyalty
• Increase customer satisfaction
• Enhance cross/up-sell opportunities
• Increase marketing campaign response rates
• Reduce costs of sales
• Improve lead quality and conversion
• Increase profit margins
• Improve partner loyalty
• Reduce cost of marketing

Your project will begin to come into focus once you begin to drill down into the measurable, tangible project goals that address your CRM solutions unique requirements and specific needs.

Example of project objectives could include the following:

• Reduce the time required to disseminate leads to the sales team (for Sales force Automation – SFA)
• Automate quote and proposal generation (for Sales force Automation – SFA)
• Create and distribute reports electronically (for SFA and Marketing Automation)
• Cut the time required to generate forecasting reports (for SFA and Marketing Automation)
• Eliminate duplicate data entry (for SFA ,Marketing Automation and Customer Service applications)
• Distribute pricing information, collateral materials or inventory (for SFA and Marketing Automation)
• Catalogs accessible more quickly (for SFA and Marketing Automation)
• Facilitate group scheduling and activity calendaring (for SFA)
Your project objectives will become your projects critical success factors. Youll use these to evaluate CRM solutions, and in turn, they will become the benchmarks or criteria that the solution must meet in order to be considered successful. If you dont identify the projects objectives, youllnever know if youve achieved them.
4. Select a CRM Vendor Product Suite and Outlinethe Analytical capabilities and advantages of the selected CRM suite

There are over 400 front-office automation solutions on the market today. Your success depends on the ability of your company and your selected vendor to successfully integrate the new CRM solution into your existing ecology. Solution evaluation processes range from an informal discussion among the project leaders to a formal rating procedure involving the entire project team. The complexity of your business processes, the amount and detail of your project requirements, and the number of solutions you plan to evaluate will guide the format of your evaluation process.

The choice of a CRM vendor product is dependent on your business requirements. Having gathered the necessary information to create your business requirements (i.e. Marketing automation, SFA or Customer service), you can now define the solution, plan the implementation, test, and track system completion. Some of the Vendors that provide CRM solutions include SAP, IBM, Siebel, Oracle, Salesforce.com and Microsoft.

It is important you justify why you have chosen a particular CRM suite, particularly the analytical capabilities of the software solutions offered by the vendor of your choice and how this can be linked to key CRM theories such as the LTV, CLM and the CRM value chain model. You are required to apply only one CRM concept or model.

Always be reminded that the companys business processes will ultimately dictate the configuration needed to be made to the CRM suite adopted. Most CRM suite are delivered of the shelf and start out of the box based on the notion that these software solutions represent industry “best practice”. These software solutions will need to be tweaked to accommodate the business processes of the company and not the other way around. Only in very exceptional circumstances the business processes of the company are fundamentally changed to reflect the business processes provided by the CRM suite purchased. In most circumstances the appointed vendor will be tasked to map out the process blueprints for various process (e.g. order handling, quotation provision, etc.)By carefully establishing your complete strategy and automation potential, you will avoid choosing the wrong CRM vendor product suite.

Example of a Order Handling Process
5. Determine Infrastructure Requirements
First, consider the type of infrastructure needed to support the new CRM system. This section should be only briefly discussed and technical details left to the technical experts.

To determine the infrastructure requirements, ask yourself these questions:

• How is the current database architecture presented?
• Are they in silos?
• If so what must be done to integrated the databases in order to obtain a 360-degree view of the customer?