What's the tutorial About?

This tutorial is a practical guide for business users on how to select and implement CRM tools successfully. Despite frequently repeated claims that CRM projects are more likely to fail than to succeed, I believe that well-thought out, well-run CRM projects do succeed, and I'm ready to share the techniques and approaches used by successful CRM project managers. The tutorial focuses on CRM tools but it's difficult to discuss the tools without considering the larger context of the business processes and the organizations that use the tools. In fact, limiting one's vision to the tools while neglecting the surrounding processes and the people who use the tools is a recipe for disaster, so there will be plenty of discussion of how to integrate the tools into the processes and into the organization. Here are the tasks you can expect to master by reading the tutorial:

  • Appreciate the relative roles of process, technology, and implementation in the success of CRM.
  • Audit the performance of your current CRM tool.
  • Create an appropriate plan for CRM selection and implementation with logical phases and sequencing.
  • Select an effective team for a CRM selection or implementation project.
  • Select a CRM system that fits your unique requirements by leveraging customizable checklists and following a systematic selection strategy.
  • Identify a solid good implementation partner by asking the right questions of the candidates and of the references.
  • Manage a CRM implementation project to a successful conclusion.
  • Measure success during and after implementation.

The tutorial focuses on mid-sized implementations for companies that have between $10 million and $500 million in revenues, although the same ideas can be applied to both smaller and larger organizations. Larger companies will typically require more in-depth process analysis than is described here, while smaller companies can make do with simple packages that require minimal customizations—unless of course they are planning a rapid expansion in which case they should proceed as mid-sized companies would. The tutorial focuses on what can be a very technical process, selecting and implementing CRM tools, but it's not a technical tutorial. Instead, it takes the point of view of a technically savvy business user. Technology is never discussed for technology's sake, but always in the context of how it can influence business results, whether in the positive or the negative. So, for example, it doesn't discuss how to create Java code, but it mentions when it's a good idea to ask the vendor about Java code. This is not about cool, leading-edge technology; it's about meeting your business goals. This tutorial is also useful for IT personnel who want to be a partner with the business users to deliver successful CRM implementation projects. It gives practical recommendations for creating a CRM team that unites the efforts of the business team and the IT team and for leveraging contributions from both sides throughout the project.