Part one of this two-part post focused on the changes surrounding CRM solutions, including cloud computing, continued advances in technology, and updated customer and user expectations. It also explained why creating a CRM program strategy is a smart move for many organizations.
This post discusses eight characteristics of a successful, ongoing CRM program.
- Leadership support
An executive sponsor in the organization paves the way by clearing impediments and working with other executives to encourage support and buy-in for a continuous improvement program. In addition, leadership establishes a steering committee, drawn from key areas within the organization, to represent numerous perspectives associated with evaluating proposed changes.
- A cross-functional work group
Creating a work group is a smart way to facilitate improvements. Group members are familiar with a wide variety of details and can help guide the day-to-day work. Organizations can excel when work groups are allowed to take action, implement processes, and move forward with initiatives.
- Nine- to 12-month plans for ongoing improvements and investments
A CRM program road map focuses on large investments, ideas, and themes for the next nine to 12 months. A well-designed road map helps build consensus among leaders, cooperation among users, and familiarizes the rest of the organization with the direction of business processes and technology improvements.
- An evolving backlog of priorities
The work group helps shape the road map by continually refining and prioritizing a backlog, which is a list of ideas, concerns, problems, and other topics that have been grouped and prioritized based on importance and value. Backlogs are meant to be fluid: New topics can be added and priorities can change based on an organization’s evolving needs.
- A consistent schedule for updates
Regular enhancements and updates help engage users and conquer perceptions created by a stagnant CRM environment. Each update should include release notes that describe and justify the changes. Distributing notes to key users or user groups before the actual release date can help minimize surprises.
- Emphasis on quality
Frequent changes to a CRM environment increase the likelihood of issues or defects that can undermine a CRM program. To identify potential defects and deliver the highest quality, the core team must focus on building quality processes and protocols to confirm that enhancements do not compromise the CRM environment.
- Ongoing training and support
The CRM solution is for users, not just for developers. Training and support are crucial. Successful organizations invest the time to help users understand and become comfortable with ongoing changes. Users also appreciate learning how they can benefit from the efficiency improvements.
- User input
Users who are well informed about ongoing system enhancements are more likely to contribute ideas and feedback. A simple vehicle such as a webpage, email inbox, or an area in each CRM application allows users to share their thoughts.
A new CRM approach from MicrosoftMicrosoft has introduced a “one version” approach to help customers benefit from the newest versions of its Microsoft Dynamics 365™ solution. In October 2018, Microsoft initiated a new cycle of releasing major updates every six months. Staying up to date can help organizations lower support costs and reduce the overall cost of upgrades. Organizations should include planning and research time for regularly evaluating the new capabilities.
A qualified resourceMoving from a CRM solution mindset to a continuous improvement CRM program mindset is a journey, not a destination, and many organizations in the early stages of implementing a CRM program might not have the internal resources to tackle the full list of CRM program characteristics. An experienced CRM implementation provider can help meet that challenge.
Crowe is one of the largest public accounting, consulting, and technology firms in the United States. With more than 40 specialists focused on the Microsoft Dynamics™ CRM solutions, our CRM team understands the technology and its capabilities. We have observed that organizations that choose continuous improvement programs rather than one-time CRM technology solutions have higher adoption rates and achieve better returns on investment.
Visit CroweCRM.com for more information about Crowe CRM services for Microsoft Dynamics 365 software. Have a question or interested in evaluating the CRM functionality in Microsoft Dynamics 365? Contact us today.