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04/02/2022

CRM Vision – Why You Need One and How Far You Should Take It (Part 2)

5 minute read

In our first article on this topic we were discussing why it is important to define a CRM vision for your company and what to focus on. Let's now dig deeper into the different maturity levels of a CRM vision.

Level 1 — Focus On Technology (if any)

What are the typical examples that illustrate that a CRM vision is missing? All too often companies engage in CRM roll-outs where the focus is on technology enablement. Many times there are a bunch of ideas on the table about how a new system would help the business run better. These ideas then eventually mature into a project for IT and the project is launched based on a decision that the legacy CRM system has to go and a new one has to be implemented. Ownership in these cases is often missing or is exclusively by IT. There is no roadmap for how functionalities and business capabilities will be enabled over time. To top it off, documentation of these elements and proper tracking of the project execution are usually not there, either. When the vision is missing to this degree, we cannot qualify this implementation as a CRM program. It is an information technology project at best but even for that, it is one that is likely to fail.

Learn more about why it’s important to invest in strategy before technology.

Level 2 — Focus On Functionality

If you have a basic CRM vision then your focus is not anymore on technology but on functionality. As an example: the scope is not (only) any more about moving the CRM application into the cloud but about enabling your sales team to track opportunities, activities and order history of customers. These are important functionalities that your business needs. This maturity also assumes that you have at least the project ownership clearly defined – there is a project team in place that owns the roll-out. An agreement for the scope in the project team itself should exist but it is far from satisfactory. Proper documentation of the project objectives and targeted functionality is important. Still, this may be missing or when available, their circulation within the future user community (i.e., proper communications) may have failed. Projects with a basic CRM vision do not have a capability improvement roadmap with milestones. In other words, there will be some functionality implemented but what happens after that is unclear.

Level 3 — Focus On Process Enablement

As the name suggests, when you have more key items in place, you have an improved CRM vision at hand. In fact, this is the entry-level vision for CRM projects to qualify for being called programs. One of the key characteristics of this improved status is that the program focuses on process enablement. This does not mean that functionality and technology related requirements are dropped, though. It rather means that these are derived from the definitions for the future ways of working.

Let’s take an example for this. If your business wants to have better forecasting capability then it will need proper tracking of business opportunities. You will need a proper opportunity management process. A process that your salespeople consistently use. A process that has gates and conditions that define when an opportunity can move to the next stage. This opportunity management process will, in turn, drive requirements for functionality. You will need fields like value, stage, probability and so forth. You will also need functionality like the calculation of forecast value (using fields of value, probability, close date) and approvals (to move opportunities to the next stage). This is how the targeted process translates into functionality related requirements.

An improved vision assumes that a CRM gets developed. The roll-out should be broken into phases, each of which should deliver tangible value to the business. Obviously, no one expects that you have a roadmap available on Day 1. This is something that gets developed over time, but it should become available as the project progresses through the requirement definition phase. Failure to define a roadmap can cause diverse problems. Users may expect features and functionality way too early, management may assume that the project delivers a fix to their perceived business problem. Both of these will lead to unrealistic expectations. When these are then not fulfilled, disengagement of the respective CRM user group is likely to happen. Expectation management is vital and roadmaps are an important asset controlling that.

Another important aspect to evaluate the maturity of your CRM vision is where the program ownership lies. On an improved maturity level the ownership belongs to the program manager. It is usually an individual trusted by the leadership team who may operate either as part of the line organization or be assigned to a “neutral” function, reporting to a steering committee.

Learn more about the maturity levels 4 and 5 in our next article.

Zsolt Keszler

Country Lead - Germany

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04/02/2022

CRM Vision - Why You Need One and How Far You Should Take It (Part 3)

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