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October 10, 2019 Business Technologies

When it comes to CRM, f*ck the brand! It’s all about a plan. (Part II)

Jim Ward wearing a gray button-up shirt with his arms crossed.
By Jim Ward

 In the first part of this blog, we talked about all the reasons why planning and implementation – not brand or product – will determine the success of CRM adoption. As promised, we’ll now dive into a foolproof methodology you can use as a guide for planning out your CRM implementation.

It’s worth mentioning that this is not a methodology we developed from scratch. It was derived from numerous business research studies and post-mortem reports on both successful and unsuccessful CRM implementations, conducted by CSO Insights over the past decade. Experts and researchers continue to find that the most successful implementations work top-down through the ever-popular S.M.A.R.T. methodology. Unsuccessful implementations are often the result of skipping steps – more specifically, skipping to the step of choosing tools or technologies much too early in the process.

A Focused Approach to the S.M.A.R.T. Methodology

The classic S.M.A.R.T. methodology helps you define business goals with these five questions:

  • Is this goal Specific?
  • Is this goal Measurable?
  • Is this goal Attainable?
  • Is this goal Relevant?
  • Is this goal Time Based?

But this version of S.M.A.R.T. is a bit generic. Although identical in underlying philosophy, the S.M.A.R.T. version that BrainSell uses is specifically tailored to the goal of a successful software implementation and is therefore a little different.

We work with our clients to develop CRM plans that answer these key questions:

  • What Strategies should you adopt within your organization?

Strategies will be different depending on the nature of your organization and business challenges. Here are some examples of common CRM-related strategies:

      • Expanding into a new market
      • Introducing a new product
      • Improving customer lifetime value
      • Delivering better or more effective service to customers
      • Lowering cost of sale
  • How will you Measure the success of these new strategies?

Establish metrics for measuring success. Remember that these metrics are guidelines, not hard-and-fast goals. You may need to tweak them if you find they are too conservative or too ambitious. Examples:

      1. Strategy: Expanding into a new market
        • Metric: 25% YOY sales growth in a new market
      2. Strategy: Introducing a new product
        • Metric: $2,000 or more in sales per quarter

The key is to establish metrics that provide the insights needed to achieve success. Establishing metrics is a whole blog in itself, but here’s a good thought exercise to help solidify how metrics should work: imagine you are six months out after the launch of a new CRM. You are trying to determine if it was successful. What will you look for as evidence of success?

  • Are all parts of your organization Aligned to support these strategies?

The deeper question here is: do you have the right processes and people in place to support these strategies? You will need to:

      • Conduct a deep and thorough review of the current state of your organization’s processes and people
      • Assess whether your organization is ready to implement new strategies
  • Will you need to Re-engineer (or train) any of your processes or people to succeed?

This is the step that CRM publishers hate and is often where the real work begins. If you skip this step, you can create serious pitfalls or even pave cow paths. Example:

      1. Strategy: Expanding into a new market
        • Pitfall (if this step is skipped): Many CRMs have all kinds of lead generation and tracking tools that measure the sales results of new customer networks and new product launches. But if you don’t take the time to train your team on how to support customers from these new networks or how to sell these new products, there will be no sales results to measure in the first place.
  • And finally, which Technologies will support all the hard work ahead of you?

This is the fun part. The reason why this is the last step is because it’s much easier to configure your CRM after you develop a road map of what strategies, metrics, processes, and people your technologies should support.

You will need to select and then configure tools and technologies that will best enable you to follow through on these new strategies – so now you can finally get out behind our “f*ck the brand” mantra and explore product options.

But Before You Start Planning…

There are some additional success factors that you should consider with every CRM implementation:

And there you have it! Have any further questions or comments? Reach out and let’s talk about how we can help you achieve CRM success!


This blogpost was co-authored by Senior Solutions Architect Tony Berry. He has over 25 years of experience leading sales, consulting, and development teams. He is also a business analyst and technology consultant with expertise in developing technology solutions and implementing programs.

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Jim Ward

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Jim Ward wearing a gray button-up shirt with his arms crossed.

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