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CRM Package Selection Issues

The most important success factor in the selection of a CRM package is the realization that customer relationship management is more than just a marketing activity, software package or one-off project. It's crucial that CRM is seen as a business strategy that affects the organization at all levels. Organizational aspects are therefore at least as important as the technical aspects in the selection phase.

Some points of attention highlighted

- The choice for customer relationship management as a competition strategy is made after thorough analyzes. The relationship management vision is translated into concrete objectives for revenue, profit, etc.

- Vision and business objectives are made 'tangible' by a realistic business case. The business case gives a realistic picture of the expected costs and benefits.

- The introduction of a relationship management package has consequences for the entire organization. This process is therefore 'controlled' by the top of the organization. The commitment must be large and visible.

- All parties involved (organization, customers, distribution partners) and specialists (marketing, sales, service, production, IT) draw up the plans that they must implement themselves.

- A step-by-step approach and 'learning by doing' is chosen. Every step includes a business issue (uniform customer profile, new product, new contact channel) and delivers immediate results.

- The line organization is responsible for implementing the customer relationship management strategy and achieving better performance. The program organization is only supportive.

- The company is prepared to invest (temporarily) in extra people, resources and expertise. The line organization is supported by program managers, project leaders and specialists.

- There is open and honest communication taking into account the individual interests of all parties involved. "What's in it for me?" is the central question here.

- There is a clear picture of the customer, his requirements, wishes and needs. Clients are closely involved in the preparation and implementation of the strategy.

- Entering customer relationship management is a difficult job. Not all promotions are a great success immediately. Keep vision and objectives in mind. Continue, evaluate, adjust course and continue!

- "Think before you begin" is certainly appropriate. A well-considered approach is the key to success. The first question to be answered is whether customer relationship management software is the right answer for your organization. CRM isn't a medicine for all ailments and certainly not the best solution in all situations. On the other hand, a CRM package can help you achieve your commercial objectives and may offer new opportunities that you have never thought of before.

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