Before installing CRM systems, consult your org chart

By David Taber, CIO |  IT Management, CRM

Whether you're doing a greenfield system or a CRM conversion project, the first users to make happy are the folks manning the phones: telesales and customer support. In doing their jobs, they are at their desks and on their computers all day long, so it's easy for them to leverage automation in a way that fits naturally with how they do things anyway. Since these folks type data for a living, their usage can fill the system with high quality data in a hurry.

Commentary: How CRM Data Updates Lead to Data Corruption

Plus, it's that data that's key for starting the virtuous cycle of more data driving more users who put in more data. Nobody wants to pay taxes, so adoption won't be genuine unless the users are getting something out of using the system.

The exact sequence of user adoption will depend on your organizations processes and preferences, but it's usually something like this:

  • Telesales and customer support
  • Their immediate managers
  • Marketing
  • Sales engineers, support engineers or field engineers
  • Their immediate managers
  • Sales representatives
  • Sales operations
  • Financial and contracts personnel
  • Sales management
  • VPs of sales, marketing and customer service
  • CFO and VP of manufacturing/distribution
  • The entire executive suite

This evolution of user adoption can take more than a year. It all depends on how quickly the data in the CRM becomes meaningful to the business decisions that each department makes.

What Can Users Do Inside the CRM System?

There's one more question: "What should these people be allowed to do in the CRM?" The general answer: "As little as possible to achieve their business goals."

A classic problem in CRM is giving users too many powers. Users will whine that they can't do their jobs with curtailed privileges, but your CRM system is guaranteed to fail if more than a handful of people have full system administrator privileges.

Working out the details of who can do precisely what under exactly what set of circumstances is a serious chore, but it is job No. 1 for any CRM deployment. In really big organizations, you may have 1,000 rules or more-and every one of them has to be right. One particular area where we love to stir up controversy is limiting the conditions under which an Opportunity can be created or any record can be deleted.


Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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