This blog is part 2 in a series covering the essentials you need to successfully integrate a CRM. If you want to catch up on part 1, you can find it here.
In part 1 of this blog series, we spoke at length about ensuring that communication and clarity are given to all stakeholders and that, as an implementer, you never lose sight of the people in your processes. As the lead in implementing an Enterprise CRM, you will have to be uncompromisingly clear on the positive benefits of what this change will achieve for the people in the organisation, and the eventual benefits this will bring.FIND OUT
Let's be honest, a lot of the time when people hear "automation", they fear that it will take their jobs or enhanced insights will shine a light on their failings. This isn't the case. In fact, in most situations it's the exact opposite.
There is only a finite amount of time people can work, and the company should be built around technology and processes that empower these people to use their best talents more often for greater effect. Susan is amazing at relationship sales, but she can't get on the phone enough because she's always writing follow up nurture emails. Sam in product has 101 ideas about how to improve the company's service offering, but he can't get away from admin duties. In both of these cases, a CRM will improve their working lives and as the CRM implementer lead, it is your job to highlight this to them.
Remember, successful change management isn’t just the new system being updated, it's in many ways more about the people and enabling them with effective processes and use cases being improved alongside the technology. However, this can be a difficult narrative to entrench in a business and, unfortunately, conversations around this situation can be tense, as often people don’t like change. In the next section we look at how you can positively affect change when working through internal friction.
Part 2 - Navigating a PICNIC - (Problem in Chair Not in Computer)
Sometimes, there will be issues for implementers who are navigating internal stakeholders who may be wary of a new CRM. Technology in and of itself will not solve systemic problems. As humans, we're great at using technology to bypass issues without confronting the simpler and larger issues. But as we have said previously, a CRM is for the benefit of the people involved in the business and this should always be front of mind.
A well thought-out, well organised CRM implementation could bypass all your issues and bypass or replace some workers, but this approach will hit the rocks. As the implementer, you need to focus on bending the CRM to make the lives of the users better and aim for mass adoption and buy-in. Flexibility and awareness are a core component of any CRM implementation.
A 0.01% increase in efficiency won't be as powerful as an entire sales team working effectively and happily in a new CRM.
As the implementer, you and your team need to be self-aware in your ability to organise and execute aspects of the implementation project and empower the user to problem-solve themselves.
As the implementer, the best approach for success is for you to vet, qualify, and align the users' processes, staff and tools. Firstly, focus on how you solve their problems and be clear and positive about what they will be required to do to achieve this.
If users won’t adopt the new system, you run the risk of leaving them with a system that is never adopted. The onus is on you to ensure they have a full understanding of the responsibilities they have and the benefits this will bring to them.
To do this successfully, implement a CRM you need to make allies, friends and champions within the organisation.
Humans can be very predictable and tribal; we work better with people we like and we get jealous easily. You need to use these two facts to secure buy-in throughout the entire organisation.
Firstly, identify not only the major stakeholders within the company, but also the “doers”, as these people are going to be key in helping you with the technical details. Get these people on-board by listening to their needs and making friends with them. Ensure that you work with and listen to every member of the team who will be exposed to the CRM. These people matter the most when aligning the the project, so don't alienate them by listening to one group over the other.
Your job isn’t to get dragged into internal politics, it’s to help align the company and join these planning meetings.
To do this, you should consider having the head of sales, IT, marketing, and other internal departments being compulsorily involved in the first few calls, but also representatives of their departments too. This may require more resource on their side, but securing this buy-in up front will set the whole organisation up for success.
Next, once you have friendship and buy-in, you need to select and empower your champions. Humans get jealous and inquisitive very easily and with the process of creating a champion, you’re going to use this jealously positively. For example, there may be doubts in the wider sales team about the new CRM, but when they see Sarah from sales doubling her targets and leaving on time each day they will soon begin to wonder what’s going on. Soon the other staff will discover that Sarah was the Beta test user and she barely has to write emails anymore, she now just focusses on selling, empowered using the processes and technology you have implemented. Once they see this, they will all want to get their hands on the new stuff.
So how do you help happy users become loyal champions? There’s a common misconception that a “champion” is simply a user who is happy to advocate for something. And that’s part of it. But what you want to achieve from your champions is something a little less tangible. It’s not just someone who is using the new CRM well, it’s someone who is fully integrated and willing to stake their own reputation on the benefits of it.
These voices matter incredibly in creating validation and buy-in, particularly in the early stages when a company likely doesn’t have as much weight.
It’s not easy and it takes time. It requires you as the implementer to pair a short-term charm offensive with a long-term focus on understanding what those individuals care about. Next, you should be creating touch points and milestones that allow you to build a connection with your champion and allows them to advocate the brand. This could be bringing them into stakeholder meetings or catch-ups to ensure they are heard, giving them access to betas or processes before the rest of the team, or including them in any reports and asking for their feedback.
In the next part of the series, we will talk about how you can truly empower the users to enable self learning and ensure the long-term success of you implementation.