How Do I Use the Book?

You may choose to read the tutorial in a linear manner or focus on specific topics. Here is how the chapters are organized: , "What is CRM and Why Is It Important," sets the stage by inventorying the many components of CRM systems, listing the benefits of CRM, and answering many dilemmas about CRM implementations. Start there to get oriented to the field of CRM, especially if you are skeptical about whether CRM can benefit your organization. , "Auditing Your CRM System," is a great place to start if you already have a CRM system installed but you are not sure that it's as good as it can be. You'll find some practical tools to evaluate whether your system is up to par and whether issues may be stemming from other causes such as faulty processes. , "Overview of CRM Selection and Implementation," gives you an orientation to the entire process. Start there if you are just beginning to think about CRM and you need a general orientation to what it takes to implement a successful project. Also start there if you are involved in a CRM project that's in its infant stages. , "The CRM Team," describes the elements of a successful implementation team, including who should be on it, when it makes sense to hire help, and what technical and personal characteristics to look for in the various team members. In many ways the team makes or breaks the project, so don't skip this chapter. , "Requirements Definition," discusses the first phase of CRM projects. It contains a template of a detailed requirements checklist as well as a process for creating your own custom checklist. , "Shopping for CRM Systems," gives an alternative to the standard request-for-proposal (RFP) model. It contains advice on how to get enlightening demos from vendors and helps you avoid time-wasting standard sales presentations while getting more accurate answers to your evaluation questions. , "Buying CRM Systems," focuses on the negotiation phase of the project to get the best deal in the short and long-term. It includes tough questions to ask the vendors and the references, as well as a step-by-step guide to negotiating the terms and conditions of the contract and the price. , "Selecting an Integrator," describes how to find a solid integrator to implement the system. The best course of action is almost always to engage an outside party to assist with the tool implementation. This chapter discusses how to conduct the integrator selection concurrently with the tool selection and what to look for. , "Implementing CRM Systems," walks through a CRM implementation, demonstrating how to integrate rapid-development techniques and early customer acceptance. If you have already selected a tool, read this chapter before the start of the implementation phase. This is a chapter you will come back to again and again during the implementation phase. , "Measuring Success," is all about metrics. It discusses how to define metrics to measure both the success of the CRM project itself and the health of the business, leveraging the metrics capabilities of the tool to maximize the benefits you derive from it. This chapter is useful both during and after the implementation. , "Rescuing a Failing CRM Project," talks about handling a failing project. It gives a three-step process for deciding whether a project is worth saving and how to restart it so it can be successful. Start here if your project is not working well, or if you inherited a sick one. Most projects can be salvaged, but not without making appropriate changes. , "Resources," contains additional information sources, be they tutorials, web sites, conferences, and magazines. The CRM field is very dynamic so it's important to know where to find the current information, beyond this necessarily static tutorial. gives you a rich set of references to continue your education in the CRM field. The tutorial also includes a glossary of all the key words used in the tutorial for your reference.

About Express Versions

Your time is valuable. For all of you skimmers each chapter starts with an executive summary that gives you a one-page summary of the concepts covered in the chapter. If you'd like more details, just read the relevant parts of the chapter. Welcome to the occasionally puzzling but wonderful world of CRM. Happy trails!