Welcome to the second blog in our 8-part blog series, The Ultimate Guide for Your CRM Success. Each weekly blog leads you through the critical CRM project stages. Taking this educational CRM journey will prepare you for a profitable, long-term relationship with your customers and key stakeholders.
In the first blog, you learned that A CRM initiative is a journey, not a destination; it requires planning and commitment. We hope you completed the 4-Step CRM Worksheet to help you define, develop, and present your business case. If you missed it, click on the download above.
Today you will learn the * definition of a CRM ‘Stakeholder; * how a Stakeholder could potentially be affected by your CRM solution, and * how to keep a Stakeholder happy during your development process.
First Key Q: Who Are the Possible CRM Stakeholders?
A stakeholder is anyone who has an interest in your project or is affected or potentially affected by the project outcomes or whose input can impact the outcome.
Examples of CRM stakeholders in an organization:
- Project Leader
- Executive Management
- Senior Management
- Resource Managers
- Marketing Managers
- Sales and Customer Service Agents
Stakeholders may also include entire departments in an organization. For example, a Sales Department can be considered a stakeholder as they could potentially be affected the most by a new CRM Solution. Carefully consider all internal and external users who have a stake in the success of your project.
In other words, who will be influencing the success or failure of your CRM project?
Each stakeholder has its own unique needs, interests, and expectations. The Stakeholder’s commitment and collaboration throughout the project is a key factor in the success of your CRM implementation.
Second Key Q: Who will be impacted by the CRM solution?
In a typical organization, you might have the following departments: Administrative Support, Finance, IT, Sales, and ultimately…the Customer.
How you develop and implement your CRM can potentially affect all of these departments.
For example, your sales team may be asking for a way to keep track of leads and opportunities.
So you need to ask:
- How will this impact the Finance department when it needs to pay the salesperson’s commission?
- What current system does the finance department use?
- Will it integrate with the CRM solution you have chosen?
- Or will they need to have an “object” in your CRM developed specifically for them?
- If so, think about the cost involved in developing and eventually training your staff on a new system.
From this example, you can see the importance of impact questioning. Cross-functional collaboration in action. Engage and meet the Stakeholders. Plan accordingly.
When developing your CRM, it’s important to keep your organization’s overall goals and strategies in focus. When planning your CRM, keep in mind all the features that you will need to address the affected stakeholder’s goals.
Third Key Q: How Can You Keep the Stakeholders Happy?
Follow these 6 steps to ensure all stakeholders involved in your CRM project remain engaged and stay positively influenced by your project:
- Identify all stakeholders at the beginning of the project. This will save you from ‘surprise’ changes of scope or agendas.
- Identify the leaders of the project. Who will they be? There is a difference between who will be affected and who is leading the project itself. Remember, “Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth.”
- Ensure all of your stakeholders agree on the project’s deliverables.
- Get a consensus from all the stakeholders on how to handle any changes that may arise in the project. The bigger the project; the more changes are likely incurred.
- Practice good, effective communication with the stakeholders. Agree on deadlines and determine what constitutes the completion of a phase or deliverable.
- Keep the goals and the vision of the project visible. It saves miscommunication later if one or more of the stakeholders change during the project.
“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
- Use your well-defined business case (blog 1) to also help identify the CRM stakeholders who will be involved in the project.
- Stakeholders play a significant role in determining the success of CRM implementation.
- Collaboration means crossing boundaries to fully understand the needs, functions, and experiences of everyone impacted by CRM projects and implementations.
- Stakeholders are pillars of CRM success. CRM can unite users driven by customers’ needs.
- Develop strong relationships with customers and key stakeholders during the initial stages to keep the team happy and engaged throughout the CRM journey.
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