Architecting a Successful CRM Project

Chris Fritsch
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ClientsFirst Consulting

Building your own dream home is something that many people want to do someday. While the concept sounds lovely—having your perfect place with all of the features your heart desires—many people don’t contemplate that, like any worthwhile project, it can also be a lot of work.

Planning for and selecting a CRM system can actually be a lot like building that house. You can look at multiple models, pick out the features you want and make decisions about any optional upgrades. You can evaluate options and look on websites for ideas and see how certain features and functions work. Sounds like fun.

But people who have built their dream house will tell you to be prepared. Building a house is like having a second full-time job because there are so many decisions you have to make: the layout, floor coverings, paint colors, cabinets, fixtures, hardware and much, much more. As part of this decision-making process, it’s important to consider all the needs of all the occupants involved: adults, kids, guests… maybe even pets. There can also be myriad other considerations such as outdoor spaces, sports and leisure activities, hobbies and even health-related concerns.

To keep all these requirements organized and on schedule, building professionals start with a blueprint, taking into consideration what each family member wants and needs and how it all should look, feel and function. The floor plan and flow of spaces, décor and fixtures all come together to make a house a home. Once the plans are final, a timeline for execution of the blueprint is created, coordinating the work and materials. Of course, the unforeseen often happens, like bad weather or delays in getting materials or contractors, and there can be cost overruns as a result. It’s important to understand that this is all part of the process.

A similar “blueprint” is also necessary for your CRM project. You want this system to be not just a structure to house your data, but a residence for your users and an asset that your organization will adopt and use for a long time. It’s important to make decisions that will not just satisfy the basic requirements of various types of users, but you also want to try to simplify daily work, improve overall organizational productivity and, most important, enhance Client journeys with your organization.

To satisfy all these stakeholders, it’s also helpful to create a “CRM blueprint,” a plan with specific requirements for exactly what each stakeholder wants and needs and how it all should look, feel and function. And yes, the unforeseen happens in nearly every CRM deployment, so plan with that in mind and set realistic expectations.

In the building trade, carpenters often apply the old adage, “Measure twice and cut once.” This means that taking time up front to plan properly can often save you a great deal of effort and expense in the execution. This is also sound advice when implementing your CRM system. Selecting an experienced CRM “architect” to help you create a blueprint for success and assist in selecting, planning and implementation can ensure that your new CRM system will be everything you dreamed it would be.

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Chris Fritsch
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