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CRM system end-user givebacks?

October 9, 2010

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Don’t assume that a trip to the barber shop will produce a predictable outcome!  The end result for the individual can actually create more work like the need to apply hair gels, mousse & hair spray with no givebacks for the effort.  I survived this experience but can tell you I received nothing for my investment outside of a great conversation piece many years later.

That brings me to this week’s blog topic of “What do users get in exchange for buying into a CRM platform?”  My 26+ years’ experience working directly with customers has generated a common theme.  That theme or promises is that the users will see productivity gains and process improvement, but the facts point to a high percentage of post implementation let downs. 

The root cause behind most of the lets downs starts with the selection and implementation committee.  This team is driving the CRM platform decision and many times  is out of touch with the day-to-day needs of the user community they are trying to service.  Yes the committee usually does departmental use case interviews which produce a standard collection of requirements.  Then comes the challenge of balancing what the users need out of a CRM system vs. what senior leadership wants to justify system costs.  Below are my thoughts on this topic.

Kinsey’s stab at defining what user’s really need out of CRM  –

  1. Should be able to access the CRM systems through companies existing message and calendaring standard to remove additional authentication or log in time.
  2. Must eliminate need for user driven reporting – my favorite!
  3. Goals & performance should be surfaced at the user level through dashboards.
  4. CRM system interfaces should have some level of personalization.
  5. Entry of data has to be simple and fast.
  6. Each way to access CRM should demonstrate some level of consistency (fat, thin & mobile client)
  7. Performance must be well-tested.
  8. Data should be filtered so I am only working with “my” relevant information and not sifting through yours!
  9. Duplication of data should be addressed prior to system go live…I do not have time to figure out which T, Tom, Timmy and or Timothy is the right record to record my activities against.
  10. Should not be asking users for their list of prospects or important customers that should be added to the holiday card mailing list.  Marketing lists should be dynamic and maintain by the systems.
  11. Sales stage and or probability of a deal pursuit should not require an update by me.  If a sales process has been implemented the CRM system should update automatically when I complete required steps.
  12. Every department that interacts with the customer in any way should be using same CRM platform.
  13. Modification of data fields and forms should be easy to do at the administration level or forget it.
  14. Users had better be able to go offline because we all know that on any given day the janitor just might kicked the plug out of the wall and your internet connection will go down.

I believe that if your organization keeps the mentality of user experience and productivity as a priority you will generate strong user adoption and the gains promised which in turn will drive ultimate return on your investment.

Watch for my next blog on “CRM system training” – why do companies always get low user adoption?

– Tracy

  1. Jason Bowne permalink

    Great post Tracy!! – I agree with your thoughts and feel that developing and designing solutions with the end user needs in mind goes past CRM but into just about every technology implementation IT can do. There is a balance of how much the end user community is used to design and how much IT only designs, but having that end user perspective / the needs of the business as priority in the design GREATLY increases not only adoption of the end users – but raw value to the business.

  2. Nick Spallitta permalink

    One of the trends that I’m seeing, specifically with the Dynamics CRM 2011 beta, is that the technology is becoming much easier to work with from a end-user, power-user, and administrator perspective.

    This is huge from both an IT and business perspective. It empowers the business to use the framework to innovate and become more agile, which is huge benefit in any industry or vertical today. At the same time, it lifts a lot of the burden off the IT department in terms of work load. Almost every IT department that I come in contact with is understaffed and overworked.

    There is one caveat to empowering the end-user or business with a robust CRM platform as an IT department. There needs to be some thought and planning up front to create some form of a governance and guidance plan that maintain a good balance associated with an organization’s culture. The business needs to move quickly and IT needs to help keep things clean and running smoothly.

  3. very interesting article. We’re just busy to replace an old CRM using 2011 and these information helps to motivate people….


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  1. Is CRM training really that important? « CRM Tech Views from the Trenches

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