2 BE or Not 2 BE That’s the CRM Process Question

In this blog ill walk you through process maps. Why you need them and things to consider.

Process mapping might sound boring…but by understanding how your current processes work, you’ll identify improvements and the work required to move it into CRM. There are hundreds of websites and books which go into detail about process/customer journey mapping, a good example is The Basics of Process Mapping by Robert Damelio. This overview of how to manage this part of your CRM development should be enough to get you thinking about how to include it in your deployment

In simple terms, you need to know exactly what needs to be recorded/monitored and reported, who’s involved and their role. Each map should start and end with the customer.

You’ll probably look at large processes when you start out but this can make implementation seem a monster task. It’s worth focusing on small processes or break down a large process into several manageable ones.

As is

Walk through every part of the process and use scenarios to test it in its current state. We all have policies and procedures to follow, now is the time to see if it happens. Be aware that processes can change over the years so make sure you speak to the people following them.

  • Where/when do they store the information they need to do the day job?
  • Are there any security issues?
  • Who’s involved in the process and how do they impact it?
  • Most importantly, work with customers.
  • What do they experience as they move through your process?
  • How long do they wait for replies, how do they get updates from colleagues?

It’s also worth considering other questions like…

  • How long does the process take?
  • What challenges do customers face?
  • What challenges do colleagues face?
  • What does the paper-trail look like?
  • What are the challenges of the process?
  • What reports are required at each stage of the process?

This is a good time to note any baseline stats. How long does the process take? How many systems/people does it involve? Your strategy will help guide the information you need to start collecting. For example, reducing the time it takes to complete the first part of a process by 50% means you’ll need to time how long it takes now. Get this piece right and you’ll be in a position to demonstrate what you’ve achieved and evidence where/how CRM has improved your business.

To be

This is the bit I enjoyed the most, identifying where we could make improvements to the process. We’re often told that blue-sky thinking is the way forward at this stage but, to be honest, I’d suggest a demo of CRM (if the team has never used it) at this point. It helps the project team visualise how the process will work and manages expectations.

It’s also worth looking at how customers interact at each part of the journey. How could you make the process work across different channels? This will help future-proof processes and make them as customer friendly as possible. As you make improvements, you’ll need to identify which fields/workflows could help automate the process without cluttering the screen with things you’ll never use. Users will compare your user interface to the big players (Google, Facebook etc.). Nailing this will be a huge help with training and user adoption.

What other things will you need to consider during the to be stage?

  • How does the process affect other systems?
  • What should the outcome of the process be?
  • Will it meet or enhance your reporting requirements?
  • How will it make the experience better/easier for customers?
  • How will it improve your baseline stats?
  • Other efficiencies or cost savings (less paper, better security etc.)?

Here’s a video with a bit more information on process mapping.

Process Mapping: Step by Step Guided Video + Mapping Tools

With process maps in place you’ll be in a much stronger position when planning your implementation. Just don’t spend weeks doing them, you’ll learn a lot more by getting a specification and then proof of concept up and running.


7 Key Roles For Your CRM Project Team

startup-photos.jpgYou’ve identified everyone’s needs/wants and the strategy CRM will be driven by…it’s now time to create the dream team! This blog explores the key roles you’ll need to get your system up and running and tips on building your team.

So how do you get the ball rolling? First you’ll need to Identify who needs to be involved and what skills/experience you need at the table. Id suggest these roles as a minimum;

  1. Senior manager/sponsor – Reports back at a strategic level and has overall responsibility for the project.
  2. Project manager – Responsible for delivering the project
  3. People from the team who’ll use CRM – You’ll need them to advise on the process, test the system and train users.
  4. Someone from departments affected by the new way of working
  5. A critical friend – This could be someone not linked with the project but part of the company, someone you met researching CRM or someone who’ll bring some great challenges to the table. Their job is to understand the changes and then identify better ways of working.
  6. Supplier – They’ll provide the support to get you off the ground and guide you through the process. However, it’s the PM’s job to keep the project focused.
  7. IT/Technology – Invite the key people in early; they’ll provide advice and guidance and will be key in the roll out of CRM.

The team should reflect how you’ll deliver CRM. If you’re rolling out a department at a time (something I’d suggest), you need to get people from that team involved. Provide cover for those colleagues so they can focus on the project.

Don’t forget to identify how touch points impact other teams/departments. It’s rare for one team to work in a silo. Consult everyone involved in the process or bring them into the main project team. Include them at go live or in a phase shortly after if they are a big part of what the initial team do. Involving ‘critical friends (colleagues not linked to the delivery of dynamics) will bring other view points and ways of working to the table making your CRM system stronger for it.

Here are a five golden rules for building a great team once you have them in place.

Want to find out how to get the best out of your new team? This bookThe Best Team Wins, The New Science of High Performance’ by Adrian Gostick, Chester Elton  may help, they studied more than 850,000 employee engagement surveys to develop their “Five Disciplines of Team Leaders”, explaining how to recognise and motivate different generations to enhance individual engagement; ways to promote healthy discord and spark innovation; and techniques to unify customer focus and build bridges across functions, cultures, and distance.


Hopefully this blog has given you a few things to consider before you put your team together. Spend time developing the team and you’ll be up and running with CRM before you know it. Now its over to you…

Leave a comment on this blog about your experiences of brilliant team leaders

11 Tips for delivering CRM to a team

A few tips for working with a team to deliver CRM

  1. Sit with them: Get a deep understanding of how they work and what they expect from CRM. This could be via process mapping or shadowing.
  2. Identify what they need to report: This will help show CRM has been a success
  3. Identify any improvements to the way they work: What out of the box technology could they use to make life easier? Dashboards, templates etc.
  4. Put the detail into a spec: Provides you/your supplier with clear guidelines
  5. Create a proof of concept: A visual will help engage the team. Use your sandbox environment, or excel to show how CRM will work.
  6. Tweak the proof of concept: Make amendments and take it back to the team to review. Use real-world scenarios to check that the concept works.
  7. Develop the product: The feedback from your proof of concept and spec will walk you/supplier through this part of the process.
  8. Test, test and test again: Test and resolve any problems, doing this shows the users you’re listening to feedback.
  9. Create a go live support plan for the first week: Sit with the team and deal with issues as they come up.
  10. Monitor use for the first 3 months: By this time CRM should be part of the job
  11. Listen & Act: Book any changes 2 months after go live. This helps identify if the changes are required or just part of the learning curve

CLICK HERE to get your copy of Delivering CRM – A short read designed to help non techies deliver a CRM system

Give your Dynamics users an APPetite for adoption

Over the years many users have asked me for crm forms that just show the fields they need. This is a reasonable request and something that can be done. However, it can involve some work behind the scenes and can be difficult to administer.

To help resolve this issue Dynamics 365, has apps.

What are apps?

They enable you to provide users with the fields and functionality for their role. It means they wont have to scroll through long forms to get to the fields they need.

Why have them?

An app provides access to the data users need when they need it. They can be used on mobiles and can be developed to suit different roles within the business. For example a user based in a warehouse or out in the field probably won’t need as much detail as someone based in the office.

How do they support user adoption?

Mobiles and apps are a part of our lives now. They provide the functionality we need without using cumbersome screens and help us get the information we need quickly. All this means that users will feel more comfortable with the apps rather than spending hours in a training room/

So how could I use them?

One of my favorites is the Outlook app. This video is a great overview

Want to know more?

Here’s a link to a good Surviving CRM blog by Jukka Niiranen

Just been given Dynamics to deliver? Then this is the short read for you.

Don’t forget to comment, like or share this…

14 Tips to Support Your CRM Go Live

I’ve put together a few tips to help go live run smoothly. It can be a daunting time, but if you start planning early you’ll keep everyone in the loop and manage any weird  and wonderful things that happen on the big day.

  1. When will you go live? Be realistic, you don’t want to be testing the product the day before you hit the button. If there’s time constraints then manage how you roll out CRM. Going live with 1000 users across 20 departments may be a bit ambitious.
  2. Who will go live? Establish this early and put an appointment in their calendar.
  3. What will they go live with? How will they use CRM, what functionality will they use and how will they interact with teams who don’t have access? They’ll need to know if they should use other systems for part of their process or will legacy systems disappear from day one?
  4. How will they get help? On the day, the first week/month etc. Think long term. Having a variety of ways to get support will help users. You could use YouTube videos, Word quick guides or super users. This variety will also help people with different learning styles
  5. How will you manage problems? I’d suggest adding these to an issues log and review it at the end of each day. Things that seem big problems in the moment often aren’t that bad. On the flip side if something serious does happen people need to know what action to take there and then.
  6. Put together a go live team. The team should be made up of project team members, the team going live and others who are impacted. IT and (depending on cost) your supplier will provide technical cover. This team will have a good understanding of CRM from the start and be able to manage any issues the users experience. These often range from knowing where to click to dealing with error messages.
  7. Develop a go live support plan. Work with the team to agree on the best way to manage user issues. Grade them from low (we’ll deal with that when the dust settles) to medium to high (pull the plug it’s all gone Pete tong). Doing this will give the team clarity on what’s expected. Put the plan place for the first week of go live
  8. Get the message out there. Tell users CRM is on the way and how they’ll get extra help (this makes the assumption users have been trained).

The big day – avoid Monday 

  1. On the day. The project lead should be visible but not dealing with all the little issues. You’ll need to look at the bigger picture to make sure everything is running smoothly
  2. Set up conference calls between the go live team. One in the morning, after lunch and at the end of the day to keep on top of issues and to let them know about any ongoing issues.
  3. Set up a Skype or Whatsapp group. This helps the lead manage issues and gives the team the opportunity to help each other, especially if they’re on different sites.
  4. Let people know how it’s gone. This goes for the team on the day, new users and senior managers.
  5. Have a drink and repeat 9 to 12 for the rest of the week.
  6. Finally give yourself a pat on the back. Getting CRM off the ground is hard work.

Now you’re live the fun really starts. Enjoy!!