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September 13, 2019 Business Technologies

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

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By Jim Ward


CRM is one of the most difficult types of software to implement. We like to think of implementing CRM as partly art and partly science.  You will need to think creatively and analytically to develop a CRM success strategy.

After 25 years of working with CRM systems, we’ve learned that there’s only one hard-and-fast truth: it’s not the brand of CRM, but the roll-out plan for implementation that makes your CRM successful. Many CRM developers may not want you to believe this, but CRM adoption is about more than product. You could buy the most cutting edge and popular CRM tools out there, but if you don’t understand how to leverage the functionality or if it doesn’t compliment your business needs, it’s going to create even more challenges for you.

Think of it this way. If you want to look good for an important business meeting and you purchase a new blazer, you may still look bad even if you buy an expensive Armani suit.  Maybe Armani clothing isn’t cut in a way that compliments your body type. Maybe available colors clash with your skin tone or your shoe wardrobe. Maybe you look a million times better in a discounted suit from Sears. Going with a big brand isn’t always the best plan.

In today’s digital marketplace big brands dominate our feeds, and paid advertisements on media platforms. Some of the largest brands in the CRM space spend nearly 50% of their revenue on marketing and brand building. This means that some vendors are spending millions (sometimes billions) of dollars’ worth of marketing efforts to get and keep your attention. Many people are influenced by these expensive (and effective!) efforts. A product with a huge marketing reach does not always make for a successful implementation – but a solid success strategy always does.

Without a CRM success strategy for your implementation, you’re at high risk for:

  • Poor user adoption
  • Low ROI
  • Paving cow paths or automating ineffective business processes
  • Negatively impacting your career or losing your job

One of the reasons people focus more on brand than on a successful implementation strategy is the fear of risking their careers. They figure they can’t go wrong if they choose the most popular tool on the market. But here’s the thing: you can still fail even if you choose the most well-known tools on the market. Not to worry! You can create a personalized step-by-step success strategy for CRM implementation that matches your business goals.

In Part Two of this blogpost, we dive into a foolproof methodology – the S.M.A.R.T. approach – that you can use as a guide for planning out your CRM implementation strategy.

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Author Bio

Tony Berry

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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