The first step in any CRM implementation is not to take a strictly technological view of the solution. This is difficult because many of the vendors market their tools as software applications alone and promote technology as the only facet of a CRM implementation necessary for success. Its akin to a housewares vendor selling its customers pots and pans and claiming that theyll be great chefs simply by using them.
Implementing an effective CRM system changes every part of the business. IT managers must shift personnel around, sales assistants may become extraneous, everyone must become more adept at documenting calls, and employees may leave.
But there are positive aspects to all of this: As IT personnel get moved into new positions, new opportunities for success emerge. Those extraneous sales assistants, meanwhile, may effectively become sellers—that is, miniprofit centers instead of cost centers within an organization.
The trick is to anticipate and deal with these issues upfront and establish clear channels of communication. If management can mitigate the negative factors, a CRM system can provide vast benefits.
And there have been glorious successes. For example, The Limited Inc., including Victorias Secret and Lane Bryant, saw an increase in ROI of 400 percent when it implemented cross-selling opportunities using SAS Institute Inc.s analytical CRM software. Ford Motor Co. saw success with Siebel System Inc.s Call Center software and has plans to implement other Siebel technologies. Dow Jones Newswires has begun using Salesforce.com Inc. with at least some success and, by all indications, appears to be moving forward with new deployments.