Welcome to the third of our 8-part blog series, The Ultimate Guide for Your CRM Success. 

Thank you for following our blog series!  As CRM strategists we believe your success depends on a clear understanding of the stages of a CRM journey.  Each stage includes its unique planning. The planning stages lead to and build upon each other

Take one step at a time.  Follow the Guide. Be Prepared.  Stay on the well-planned course. Reach your destination.

By now, you’ve defined, developed, and presented your business case; and identified and have met the stakeholders of your CRM project.  Now you’re ready to define the scope of your CRM project.

5 Paths to Define Your CRM Project Scope

You will learn:   

  1. the 2 key questions to ask regarding your project funding
  2. the definition of ‘Scope’ as it relates to a CRM project,
  3. the importance of mapping all of the options included in your CRM, 
  4. the importance of prioritizing project requirements, and
  5. the Purpose of a CRM Project Road Map 

1. Confirm Your Project Funding, The Big Buy-In

It’s great that you want to implement a CRM solution. But if the project funds haven’t been allocated, nothing will move forward. Don’t overlook confirming all of the stakeholders’ commitments to the project.

Ask These Two Questions Before Defining the Scope of the CRM Project: 

  • Has the CRM business case been approved? This may seem redundant, but this can be the first fail-point of the project.
  • Be sure your formal CRM business case includes your assessment of the problems and opportunities for improvement. 
  • Also, include the list of preferred CRM solutions and how they will impact the identified needs of the stakeholders and achieve your objectives, and
  • Include the costs to implement the solution.

Obtain a copy of the business case and the “stamp of approval.” 

  • Have all of the stakeholders been identified?  Did they approve the business case? Everyone who has an interest in the CRM project needs to approve.  Those affected by the project outcomes or whose impact can impact the project need to “buy” into the project as well.

Make sure all stakeholders are included in the business case and have given their approval to the CRM project.

If your answer is ‘YES’ to both questions, then congratulations!  You are ready to start defining the scope of the project.

2. CRM Scope:  Share the Vision of the Project

Undertaking a Customer Relationship Management Project requires great teamwork. All stakeholders need to clearly “see and understand the scope” of your project.  The scope of a CRM project is “the sum total of all tasks, requirements, or features in a project”  related to the defined outcome. 

Managing and communicating the range or extent of these various parameters requires a dedicated Project Leader or Manager(s).  CRM is more than a technology solution. It is also a business strategy focused on maximizing your company’s business relationships. A successful CRM project requires a well-defined scope.  

 The Scope of Your Specific CRM Project Drives:

  • the identified goals/objectives in your business case,
  • the impact on the stakeholders’ current systems and processes
  • the tools selected to implement the CRM solution for improvement, and
  • the clear definition of your vision, expectations, and implementation.

3.  Map Your Options: CRM Tools and the Affected Systems

One way to organize and define the scope of your project is through mapping. The tasks, requirements, and features in your project can be visually noted.  This shows the relationship between the CRM tools selected and the impact on affected systems. It helps capture a clear picture of the scope.

You can use a  Project planning tool such as Microsoft Project or Experience Mapping tools to show the interaction between the proposed CRM solution and the impact on each stakeholder, different departments, specific business systems, or processes.  

We prefer to use Microsoft Project and Ayoa for planning and mapping, respectively.  Microsoft Project allows you:  to plan a project, to cost out a project, to define tasks and deliverables, and to allocate personnel to the project.

Ayoa is great because it is  ‘visual’ and allows everyone to see how all the pieces of the CRM solution will fit together. Ayoa also allows users to capture new ideas for future improvements quickly, so they will not be lost and possibly integrated into a future phase.

If you completed the free stakeholders’ worksheet in Blog 2 of the series, “3 Key Questions To Help Identify and Meet the CRM Stakeholders”  then you know the importance of understanding the relationship between stakeholders and the impact on their current systems and processes.

To further define the scope, ask these key questions to see the relationship between CRM Tools and Stakeholders.  Add your answers to the stakeholders’ worksheet or your project planner. 

  • How will your data move between systems? 
  • What other staff members and systems will be affected by the CRM tool(s)? 
  • How will organizational roles change within your organization?

 Jill Dyche, author of The CRM Handbook notes the importance of understanding how systems are impacted when planning the scope. “CRM calls for specific implementation roles and responsibilities. In many cases, these job roles are new; in others, existing functions play key parts in CRM development.”

4. Prioritize CRM Requirements to Set Expectations 

After mapping the desired experience and the impact on the stakeholders, it’s time to prioritize the CRM requirements and set timelines.  At this stage, you are setting expectations of the stakeholders’ specific tasks, milestones, and deliverables.

Create a list to prioritize the requirements of the CRM system.

  • List the CRM requirements for the business goals: customer retention or increased sales
  • List the defined requirements of the CRM System:  lead capture, opportunity tracking, Account Creation, etc.
  • Include the requirements for CRM data integration, including the time frame. 
  • Prioritize the list based on the delivery of the CRM project requirements. 

5. CRM Project Road Map – Don’t Start Without One

We have our GPS, atlas, or traveler’s guide when embarking on a new journey. We don’t want to get lost, waste time finding places to rest or eat, or miss important stops along the way. Nor do we want to invest in a trip that doesn’t meet our goals or needs.

Your CRM journey is no different.  Your well-planned CRM scope provides all the stakeholders with a clear picture of the project applications.

Don’t start without a CRM road map. SMB can help you develop and define your road map as part of our Consulting Service.

We prefer to remain agile in our approach to our CRM development efforts. We have found it best to release milestones in small iterations to react more quickly to any changes that need to be made. 

It was once said, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” -Robert Burns.

To minimize “anything going awry” we clearly define the scope of every CRM project with all stakeholders.  We can help you do the same.

Takeaway Tips:

  • Be sure the stakeholders have approved the actions and deliverables of the CRM project.
  • Clearly define the scope of your project: all requirements, tasks, and deliverables.
  • Create maps to visually see the impact your chosen solution will have on the stakeholders, their existing systems, and processes. 
  • Prioritize the list of CRM requirements and set clear expectations for stages of development and implementation.
  • Your defined CRM project scope is part of the road map to guide the stakeholders to a successful outcome.

Contact SMB Dynamics for A Free Consultation To Discuss How We Can Help You Define Your CRM Project Scope.

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