A CRM implementation must be a comprehensive, cross-department process involving:
- Buy-in from all major stakeholders
- Customer-focused approach to needs analysis
- Great definition of user stories
- Strong project management
- Appropriate choice of technology
Though the above list is a useful guide as to what order of priority you should follow, addressing this list in reverse order here helps clarify some of the rationale as to why.
Open source CRMs arguably make this selection easier by removing one tier of cost while furnishing a range of options from enterprise-grade, cloud software such as Crust or Corteza, right back to still-healthy or cumbersome offshoots of the former SugarCRM community edition, abandoned some years ago.
Ultimately, in a comparison of CRM systems, a modern open source CRM will be strong marriage of business logic, communications and identity management capabilities. Crust and Corteza include a flexible low code platform for enabling digital transformation strategy and extending your CRM to wherever your business needs to go, integrated team messaging and video for your staff (and even for you customers!) and identity management capabilities that remove painful barriers to customer recruitment while delivering top-class security.
There’s no such thing as getting a CRM for free, but you can make sure you get one which enables you for more than just the next business cycle and delivers a constant customer-focused approach.
Strong Project Management
Many companies make the mistake of overlooking this key requirement. A customer management system is complex. Having someone in charge who has the authority to knock heads from different departments together is often key. Making sure that same individual can map requirements to technology, then document and manage the sequence in which everything must come together at specified milestones is the best way to guarantee success for your business.
Great Definition of User Stories
Because even basic CRMs tends to have a horizontal impact across businesses, it’s important to ask what is the CRM software going to be doing for each stakeholder? Do you understand in minute detail the user journeys that every role – be it staff, managers or customers – expect to experience? The right technology is a CRM suite that can be applied to all departments and all user roles. Building complete persona profiles and user stories not only helps the process of data entry and consultation, but also reporting in CRM.
Customer-Focused Approach to Needs Analysis
Closely related to user stories, but perhaps a little more elemental is having a disciplined, customer-focused approach to needs analysis. Your end goal is both recruiting new customers and maximising your return on investment from previous customer recruitment. Crust and Corteza deliver the features to tightly define customer personas, even to the point where one customer can inhabit several different roles simultaneously, depending, for example, on the spread of their relationship with your enterprise’s multi-channel marketing, sales, fulfillment and customer service activity.
Buy-in from all Major Stakeholders
You may not need Jira from Atlassian to co-ordinate your CRM project, but you will need buy-in from all your organisation’s major departmental stakeholders. Keeping a customer-focused approach as priority, ensuring you are given the time and willingness to generated great user stories, guaranteeing the doors and authority are open to best-practice project management and gaining acceptance for your choice of technology all depend on a common and determined sense of purpose. Implementing a CRM suite is often an example of digital transformation strategy in action. Crust CRM, the leading open source Salesforce alternative, might be the best tool, but it’s still only as good as the team that operates it 🙂