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Key success factors for implementing a typical CRM system in a mid-sized company - a practical approach[Bearbeiten]

Introduction
[Bearbeiten]

In the last decade a change from the supplier's market to the buyer's market has been noticed. Many companies have to cope with growing customer requirements and increasing competition on a relatively saturated market. Under these circumstances CRM is taken as an approach to gain competitive advantage by putting the customer at the center of all thoughts.

In order to rely on an organized and long term oriented data base, companies avail of modern CRM software solutions that allow them to capture all customer data and optimize their customer relationships and other processes at the same time.

After a brief theoretical overview about CRM and current CRM systems this paper will highlight the challenges managers face during the implementation phase of a typical CRM system. Through the analysis of two case studies a check list will be derived with key success factors for implementation in order to facilitate decision making on a managerial scale. To finalise the case studies, first a questionnaire has been put together in order to make both case studies follow the same route of questions. Those questions have then been presented to three different persons each in the two companies, that have been chosen. The replies have been summarized and noted. Out of those replies, the main factors factors have been summarized to a list.

During the MBA course on the HWR it was realized that a short overview of potential obstacles and how to avoid or overcome these is of special interest to the diverse group of students. With the help of the summarized check list, concentrating on "soft" facts, managers or future managers should quickly be able to address issues when needed.

Nature of a Customer Relationship Management System
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CRM approach and the change in corporate management[Bearbeiten]

Despite an increasing amount of published material over the past decade, most of which is practitioner oriented, there is no general consensus as to the meaning of CRM and what it implies.

It was formerly narrowed to its technological aspects, as it originally emerged in the Information technology (IT), however it is now more often understood as a strategy concept or even management philosophy (Hippner, 2007). The following translated definition of Hippner (2007) includes two main aspects – client orientation and the use of integrated information technology (software solutions).

CRM is a holistic approach to direct the company's strategy towards the customer. The focus of this concept is on customer orientation. With the help of modern information technology the profitable relationship with the customer will be established and stabilized in the long term through customized marketing and sales concepts.

This customer-centric view can be seen in picture 1 (BCG, 2007) where IT supports all activities and is only a sub element of a holistic strategy which understands the customer and services accordingly.

Brasch et al. (2007) argue that the "age of the customer" has begun. The business environment, affected by modern technology, is changing rapidly. Facing a radical change in the economic and social development in the so called "information era", many companies put their main focus now on customer relationship management.

The main challenges companies' are facing can be summarized as follows:

  • Increasing competition in the market
  • Higher Transparency of market due to new media (Internet)
  • Shorter product life cycles
  • Products and services offered become more and more alike
  • Difficulty in positioning its core competencies
  • Need to offer the customer "added values" to gain competitive advantage

In addition the traditional customer behavior has changed. Customers become continuously disloyal. In a relatively saturated market they have more alternatives available with ease of access. Therefore products become more exchangeable. Furthermore there are growing requirements of the customers - they want the best product, the best service and the lowest price.

This development on the market and growing importance of intangible assets often require a reorientation of the corporate strategy; and this is where the CRM concept comes in. It is used to coordinate and develop all interactions with profitable customers though the right channels. Brendel (2002) argues that it is important to listen and respond to the wishes and requirements of the customers in order to survive on the market and gain competitive advantage.

Goals and tasks of CRM[Bearbeiten]

The aim is to achieve and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty and therefore enhance customer value and as a result shareholder value. The concept of customer value is therefore an important element of CRM. To achieve cost-effectiveness the company needs to structure and improve mainly the profitable customer relationships (Hippner, Wilde 2007).

A relationship is profitable if the customer has a high customer value and the resources needed for customer processing is appropriate in relation to the customer value and therefore efficiency.

The Return on Investment (ROI) is used to measure the results and shows the relation of the initial investment to the profit (CRM Ratgeber, 2012)

Maintaining a high level of customer knowledge is a basic requirement for effective customer relationship management. This knowledge can only be developed if the company efficiently stores and analyses the information derived at the customer touch points (email, phone, and internet, etc). The knowledge gained can be used to design the relationship with the customer. Storage and analysis of the information will be supported by communication systems (CRM systems).

The different tasks of CRM can be described and structured along the customer life cycle and the five phases that the customer could go through, as seen in figure 2 (Raab, Werner 2010).

  • Acquisition of new customers
First contact with company or product – first impression
Pre sales contact – consultation, information gathering, offer made
  • Development of relationship and retention
Sales contact – order made
After sales contact – service, problem solving
Resales contact – long term relationship

At each stage customer contact is marked by different intensity where management can convey and focus on different tasks, therefore enabling them to develop a suitable CRM strategy.

CRM systems[Bearbeiten]

An information and communication system is seen as a basic need to convert the strategy (Raab, Werner, 2007). CRM systems combine and integrate multiple single solutions from different company departments and therefore allow access to one single and logical portfolio/data base. They should mainly

  • Synchronize and support the central customer touch points (Marketing, Sales and Service)
  • Integrate all communication channels between customer and company
  • Analysis and consolidation of all information

Hippner (2007) further distinguishes between operational, analytical, communicative and collaborative CRM. However for the purpose of this paper it is not necessary to explain it in detail.

Table 1 below outlines an overview of available software solutions. For this purpose the market is comprised out of three segments. The main differentiation point is functionality, thus derived costs.

Enterprise CRM solutions Mid-market CRM solutions
Traits From ~1000 FTE1 / 1$ bn sales onwards

Extensive functionality in several modules
International installations
Large scalability

Up to ~1000 FTE / 1$ bn sales

Restricted functionality in limited number of modules
Less industry-specific solutions

Example solutions Chordiant Cx

mySAP CRM
Oracle E-Business CRM
Oracle Siebel CRM
Oracle Peoplesoft CRM
Onyx CRM
...

FrontRange GoldMine Corporate

Microsoft Dynamics CRM
Oracle’s Siebel CRM Professional
Oracle’s Siebel CRM On Demand
SageCRM
Salesforce.com
SugarCRM
...

Furthermore in figure 3 (BCG, 2007) it can be seen that the mid-market is not strongly differentiated. Across comparison dimensions and the competitive cluster are relatively close, whereas the leading software solutions on the market for mid-sized companies are marked in green.

Linked to the case studies in the following sections, which will show examples for the software SugarCRM, this standard software for mid-sized companies has been more closely analysed. Figure 4, shows a rating done by the Boston Consulting Group in 2007 on different aspects, which are seen as relevant when looking at a CRM (Rating 0 = Weak and 5 = Strong). It becomes obvious that Sugar CRM is very strong in the areas sales, cost and usability as well as in international aspects but is very week when it comes to special areas, such as e-commerce, field service and partner-channel management. Those aspects will have clearly to be taken into consideration when a company has to decide which CRM system they would like to implement.

CRM implementation and possible traps[Bearbeiten]

Typical implementation projects evolve in three phases. The first step is to formulate the strategy with a top level CRM vision as a result. The second step is the design of the CRM program with an evaluated infrastructure and at last the transformation phase with a detailed implementation plan. The IT activities are directly derived from the overall project progress. A detailed process description with the overall activities can be found in table 2 below.

Strategy Design Transformation
Overall Activities Identify opportunities

Analyze and prioritize opportunities
Find gaps

Develop CRM approach

Evaluate Infrastructure
Reprioritize Opportunities

Roadmap for program

Detail infrastructure
Pilot the program

Results Top level CRM vision Detailed CRM program Implementation plan
IT Activities Assessment of

Key user groups
existing systems
requirements

Deepen technical requirements

Design architecture

Application development and piloting

Integrate systems

Before or even during the implementation process of a CRM system it is important to be aware of the possible traps. Those are e. g. "boiling the ocean", this is when the team is trying to do everything at once. Or "technology-push", this is when IT systems are used as key drivers of the overall initiative. And very often there is not enough management support; managers easily delegate CRM tasks and take no leadership role.

According to BCG (2007) the potential risks to CRM can be split into implementation risks and overall CRM impact risks. Risk drivers can typically be:

Implementation risks

  • Too few resources dedicated to implementation
  • Slow decision making
  • Poor communication; low stakeholder engagement
  • Difficulty sourcing right candidates
  • IT expenditure overrun
  • Distraction from other activities / initiatives
  • Interdependencies not adequately managed

Overall risks

  • No holistic customer view available
  • Poor data accuracy
  • Low process compliance / coordination
  • No hard tradeoffs made for 'bank first' perspective
  • Improper hiring decisions for CRM staff
  • IT system too complex
  • Insufficiently trained employees
  • Lower cross / up-selling success than anticipated
  • Slower time to market with services and products
  • Increased friction between Sectors

The following two case studies show how two CRM implementations work or have worked. After that a conclusion about key success factors will be drawn.

Case examples - analysis of two mid-sized companies
(Dayana, Lisa)
[Bearbeiten]

Questionnaire[Bearbeiten]

In which business are you operating?
Are you operating in project business, retale business or in a repetitive business (warranty or long term contract)?
What is your route to market?
Who are your customers?
How many customers do you have?
Do you have one-time or repetitive customers?
In which country are your customers located?
Do you have just one contact person or more per customer?
Describe your flow from the first contact with the customer until the last contact with the customer in a usual project.
What would you think are musts in a CRM system for your business / company?
What are nice to haves?
How is your CRM linked to following processes, eg. order processing, shipping, invoicing?
Is there any feed-back into the CRM, eg. information about shipments, late payments from customers, complaints or returns?
If yes, why is that important for you? / If not, would you think that this is important and if yes, please explain why?
Are you happy with your current CRM? If not, what are you missing?

Case study 1 - Thomas & Betts Corporation (Dayana)[Bearbeiten]

Casestudy with Thomas & Betts Germany.
The following case study describes the status of the usage of a CRM system in a smaller sales group within a multinational company called Thomas & Betts. The goal is besides gathering some background information to identify key success factors for the implementation and the parameters of a CRM by using a preformed questionnaire. Three persons have been interviewed and the results are given as a summary. Thomas & Betts Corporation is a global leader in wire and cable management, cable protection systems, power connection and control, safety technology and others. The Thomas & Betts Electrical business unit focusses on the production and distribution of wire and cable management as well as cable protection systems. There is no production in Germany but a strong sales force, well known by everyone in the electrical wholesaler business.

Thomas & Betts exists in this form in Germany since the year 2000, there is a small back office with 5 employees who deals with pricing and customer requests and a sales team of 10 employees, active in Germany, Austria, Scandinavia and to a small extend as well in East Europe. There is a very close contact to the shipping and distribution center in La Louviere, Belgium, where all goods are shipped and invoiced from. The sales volume is approximately 15 million Euro per year.

Until now no real CRM has been used. Every sales person has its own contact management, usually via the email programme and excel-files. Most of the orders are entered by the customers themselves via EDI. A business risk has been identified when one sales representative left the company and data protection rules did not allow access to his contacts or emails, so all the contact addresses were lost. A new CRM system will be implemented, customized to Thomas & Betts but based on Sugar CRM.

Interview partners:
Michael Kemmerling, Director of distribution, EMEA
Simon Bradley, Director of Business Systems and Business Development, EMEA
Pirmin Henry, Sales representative, Germany

The answers have been summarized as below:

1. In which business are you operating?
Distribution of wire and cable management and cable protection systems
2. Are you operating in project business, retale business or in a repetitive business (warranty or long term contract)?
Repetitive Business, B2B
3. What is your route to market?
Through wholesalers to the end customers as well as OEM to direct industrial customers
4. Who are your customers?
Electrical wholesalers (60% of Sales), industrial customers (key accounts, 40%)5. How many customers do you have?
Approximately 40 wholesalers and 160 direct industrial customers
6. Do you have one-time or repetitive customers?
Mainly repetitive but sometimes for larger one-time projects it happens that they buy only once
7. In which country are your customers located?
Germany (85%), Austria, Scandinavia, East Europe
8. Do you have just one contact person or more per customer?
Usually more than one, at least the purchasing department and often also technical contacts and admin contacts, so average 3-5 with people changing also quite often
9. Describe your flow from the first contact with the customer until the last contact with the customer in a usual project.
At first we get an invitation (or we ask for an appointment) to present our product portfolio. If this is successful, there will be a technical meeting to support the customer with technical specifications and fine tuning. There might be a third meeting for price negotiations. With wholesalers there is a yearly bonus discussion. As soon as we are listed at a wholesaler, there is regular contact unfortunately due to wrong shiments, price differences, etc. as the shipped volumes with wholesalers are quite high. We also make a lot of visits and contacts with the stores, so the wholesalers customers, as this creates confidence and makes sure they buy our products. Those people are also considered as customers even if they don’t buy directly from us.
10. What would you think are musts in a CRM system for your business / company?
A good contact management system, where you can follow-up visits and calls, make notes and also send this as an email towards the customer. A database, where you can see immediately everything that has happened with a customer, linked to the Financial figures, the returns, complaints, etc. A follow-up possibility is a must.
11. What are nice to haves?
A history for persons, so to see where they worked before, etc. would be perfect.
An Email reminder of open action points and an integrated calender function.
12. Who in your company is using the CRM?
Several sales representatives in the other countries. For us it would be the sales representatives, the back office and also the customer service in Belgium.13. When did you introduce your CRM? The plan is to start in Q2/2013, but it might be postponed again…
14. How did get your CRM implemented?
Unfortunately not yet.
15. How was it before the CRM? How did you manage customer contacts?
By Email and contact management in the email programme, first with Novell Groupwise and now with Google mail, which is only offline and therefore not really working very well.
16. How is your CRM linked to following processes, eg. order processing, shipping, invoicing?
It will be linked to orders, but probably not to shipping and invoicing only on a larger scale, eg. sales by month.
17. Is there any feed-back into the CRM, eg. information about shipments, late payments from customers, complaints or returns?
That would be ideal.
18. If yes, why is that important for you? / If not, would you think that this is important and if yes, please explain why?
It gives you a better feeling when you talk to a customer and you can also address open problems from the other departments, eg. Finance, so that can be dealt with much faster and more direct.
19. Are you happy with your current CRM? If not, what are you missing
No, we simply miss a CRM in general. But with Sugar CRM on TNB base this looks like it could be a real improvement.

In addition, the mission statemtent for the T&B CRM, called T&B Marketplace has been provided and can be found below, including the logo: “This logo is symbolic of the journey necessary to be successful in any “CRM – Customer Relationship Management” endeavor. CRM involves working with people, places and things and is, by its very nature, a team activity that requires a collaborative effort on everyone’s part. People … the contacts we deal with each day as well as potential prospects that have expressed an interest in our products and/or services. Places… the companies we visit and call on whether they are our distributor partners or other direct accounts, plants and other institutions and facilities, key specifying companies or our end user customers. Things … we do – hold meetings, respond to inquiries, pursue projects, generate quotes, get on specifications, perform tasks, successfully close opportunities.

At T&B, our business opportunities and projects often transcend traditional geographical boundaries – districts, regions or even countries. Therefore, it is essential that we adopt business solutions that will enable T&B to complete successfully in a global marketplace. This CRM Sales Rep User’s Guide is intended to help guide us in our selling efforts” (T&B CRM Sales Rep User’s Guide, 2011).

Based on the results of the questionnaire, some key success factors for this CRM implementation can be identified:

  • The whole team needs to be involved in the definition process about what needs to be in the CRM and what need to be the basic functionalities. They should also be heard when it comes to “musts” and “nice to haves”, since they will be the key users. They will be more likely to accept and use the new system if they had a significant impact on the definition of the specifications of the CRM.
  • From a content point of view, it becomes clear that next to “basic functionalities” such as contact management, visit and call management as well as follow-up functions, one main wish is the interconnection with information from the other departments, mainly quality, finance and after sales service. This, in the eyes of the sales representatives, is essential for the success of the CRM. They will be more reluctant to use it and fill it with data, when they get as many information out of it as possible. They would like to see returns, quality issues, open payments and sales overviews, ideally by product group. Their goal is it to go prepared into any discussion with a customer, to keep customer satisfaction on a high level as much as possible. The interactive usage of a CRM not only by the sales team is also beneficial for the whole company, since it helps to reduce communication cost between the sales team, customer service, accounts receivables and the quality department.
  • A CRM needs attention from the upper management. This becomes clear when you look at T&Bs mission statement for the CRM system. However, it can be very critical to postpone such a project for such a long time as done here. The implementation was planned for early 2012 and is still not done. The reasons have obviously not even been explained to the sales representatives and they would really like to start with it, even though their belief in a successful go-life is meanwhile rather low.

The current status within T&B Germany is inefficient and linked to a business risk, in case someone leaves the company, since all customer contacts might be lost. The proposed CRM seems to be seen as a very good alternative and the sales representatives are waiting for it to be implemented. It however does not reflect one of the main wishes to combine actual information from other business systems such as accounting or quality with the CRM. This is something that should be worked at after the successful implementation of the CRM as it is now.

Case study 2 - Sourcefabric (Lisa)[Bearbeiten]

Casestudy with Sourcefabric.
Sourcefabric is an open-source software development firm with currently 53 employees, headquartered in Prague with branches in Berlin and Toronto, and representatives in Minsk, Guatemala, Warsaw, Belgrade and Cluj. The company as it operates now (it started life as CAMP in 1998, the new-media arm of the Media Development Investment Fund) got founded in 2010 and offers four different software products in a business to business (small to large companies) model.
Sourcefabric's products started out as being mainly targeted to journalists and are meant to support their work in online, print and radio. The vision of the three founders, Douglas Arellanes (Director of Innovation), Sava Tatić (Director of Development), Micz Floor (Head of Business) is to free independent journalists and enable them to deal with the pressure to produce more with less. The company and its products have received a number of awards, including Best Tech for Social Change Digital Innovation Award by The Guardian and the Future 12 Award at the International Journalism Festival 2012. Furthermore, the products are highly endorsed by O'Reilly, Forbes, Mozilla Foundation, Creative Commons and Wikimedia. Currently, the company has been financed by private anonymous donors, which will run out by the end of 2013. With this outlook, Sourcefabric has to face the reality of business and become profitable, focusing on profitable business plans, processes and products. Since early 2012, there have been made numerous attempts from different people within the company to introduce business plan processes – with more or less success (a few of these people have also left the company in the meantime). Another level of complexity adds the focus on open-source software. While the open-source community creates is a highly active, passionate and innovative environment, it always has struggled with producing profitable and viable business plans. The failures are countless – mainly based on the fact, that the software gets exploited by cooperates who build their systems on top of it and charge top dollar. An example is Eclipse.org which offers a Java IDE and a platform where to build commercial products. Eclipse was never profitable, but IBM has used it to build its commercial products and is highly profitable. However, there are also examples which prove the opposite: Wordpress and Drupal are just two of them.
Sourcefabric is now at the beginning of a long journey and has adapted the approach of a lot of young startups – move fast, scale high. Like SlideShare's CEO Rashmi Sinha said in an interview with INC. Magazine rather make mistakes than overthink” (Welch, 2012). One of these attempts was in early 2012 the implementation of a CRM system called SugarCMS which was supposed to manage the growing number of business contacts. One year later, the system got reviewed and the implementation of SugarCMS got declared as failure.

This case study is trying to identify the points of failure but also the key success factors which have been missed within Sourcefabric. Interview partners have been (besides the three founders) Fabienne Riener, COO, Gideon Lehmann, Head of Customer Projects, Josh McLain, Head of Customer Support.

In February 2012, a former employer of Sourcefabric introduced the CRM SugarCMS to the company. “He was in charge of it, installed it and gave us all logins. We didn't get any training or documentation” explained Josh McLain in the interview. As Head of Customer Support, Mr McLain is in direct contact with customers every day. In the beginning of the company, he was able to deal with day to day business with emails and google spreadsheets. As the company started to grow very rapidly after the launch of the third product, which received a lot of media attention and made the number of customers skyrocket, the team had to act very quickly to adopt to this rapid development. All of the sudden we where in a situation where everything become serious – we felt we had to act like 'big business' and we thought google spreadsheets would be too immature. So we searched for a 'professional' tool and we though SugarCMS would solve all our problems with customer data management”, explained Micz Floor. Sourcefabric went through a stage where a lot of startups going through once they manage to break into the market – all of the sudden the hard work pays off and the paying customers coming in in big numbers. However, the business management systems within weren't prepared for such a demand. The team had to move fast and due to time constraints they just picked a system which promised a great relief without conducting a lot of research. “We just hoped, once SugarCMS is implemented it will just – somehow magically – solve our problems”, remembers Josh McLain. However, during the interview he acknowledged, that the problem was within the workflow rather with the issue of gathering customer details.
To understand the situation in its whole, the workflow back in that time has to be looked at more closely.
Gideon Lehmann, Head of Customer Projects, explains the workflow from the first contact with the customer until the last contact with the customer in a usual project. “Our customers are usually professional content creators, mainly journalists in radio, print and web. They are located everywhere in the world, Latin-America, Canada, Europe, Africa, India and Asia. Our customers are mostly repetitive customers, as we specialize in long-term service contracts. Most of the time we look at two cases:
1. Contact through website
Customers find us through search engines, news or forums posts and land on our website. Each product has a pricing section and a contact form from where they usually get in touch with us. The first point of contact is then our customer support team which try to scoop the customers requirements and what we can offer. Once that is done, the CS team hands the customer over to our project managers.

2. Contract through mouth-to-mouth and/or personal recommendation/introduction
Whoever is in contact with the new potential client hands the contact over to the project managers. From there on the process is very similar: project managers meet with the client to define the scoop, timeline, price and contract. Once the contract is signed, the project managers plan resources with the developer team. Once the setup is done, the developers train the client to work with the new setup and provide them with manuals. From there on it can get on from project to project, upgrade to upgrade – or the customers leaves after a final training and handover of manuals and support material (which rarely happens).” The conversion rate of customers are also different. According to numbers provided by CO Fabienne Riener, 5 out of 10 customer requests through the website contact form end up as actual clients. The conversion rate through recommendations is higher, almost 4 out of 5 end up a long-term clients. However, in order to succeed these numbers, there is a lot of back-and-forth between the potential clients and Sourcefabric. This information, history and contacts have to be documented. That's where SugarCMS was implemented. In most of the cases, our direct contact to customers is represented by 1-3 people, explains Fabienne Riener. ”However, as our negotiations can sometimes take a long time and projects are long-term, these contacts change jobs or leave the company entirely.” The hope was, that SugarCMS would keep track of statues, contacts and decision points. “We hoped, that SugarCMS would make our work flow easier and faster and remove bottlenecks and give everyone who needs it access to contacts and history of clients”, explains Riener.
The first issue already accrued with the introduction. Josh McLain remembers “all of the sudden I got an email which said – here is the login, work with it. I never worked with systems like that before and I just was too busy to learn the details.” McLain also has to work with another system which is directly connected to the website and tracks the automatic sign ups of hosting and streaming contracts. This system is much easier to handle. The customer fills out the details in the sign up form and the information goes straight to our database. In order to maintain SugarCMS, I had to manually copy and paste the information – it just doubled my workload.” This is the point where all interview partner agree. The most important feature of a CRM system is the possibility to integrate it with already existing systems and enable to sync data automatically.
“I have the feeling that we never really managed to take advantage of all the features SugarCMS provided” summarizes Josh McLain. “We have a lot of reoccurring payments to manage (eg. server and streaming cost) which would be great to be able to keep track of, especially when payments fail”. There is a sense of frustration if it comes down to the question why the implementation of SugarCMS failed. “I'm not at all, to be honest”, explains Josh McLain. “A big minus is that we can't integrate it with our own systems and it is very tedious to maintain. If it would have been handed over to me with all the contacts I already had on my spreadsheet, it would have been easier”. Another point to recognize is, that the person who introduced SugarCMS left shortly after the launch. Even though Max. J. Pucher debated the point in his article BPM vs. BPMS: How to Think Big and Act Small” that “...an executive sponsor who will enforce the use of BPM” (Pucher, 2012) is needed, it occurred that this was exactly what was missing with Sourcefabric at this point. Furthermore, there was the lack of documentation and training – even more, the ability to explain why exactly this kind of system has to be used. And finally and mostly important, the reality of the day to day business took over. As a result of the inability of SugarCMS to interact with other, already existing systems and the lack of support, employees just dropped it.
At this point, Pucher's argument make sense: “to change business culture is a long term prospect and collides with short ROI time frames” (Pucher, 2012). Or as Micz Floor summarizes: “we made a mistake and we learned. We should have looked at our culture and people first before we gave them a system which forces them to do things in a way which hasn't been explained to them and is not logical to understand.

Key success factors for implementation
[Bearbeiten]

Looking back at the two case studies presented before and taking into consideration the different background of the companies as well as the limited view, since there were only two representatives out of many who have implemented a CRM system, we summarize the following key success factors, which need to be adjusted to the actual situation of every specific company.

  • Take into consideration the business model you are working with, put emphasis on what is important for your specific case, what is your route to market, who are your customers
  • Link the CRM system to the operational and financial system to allow a complete overview for the sales representatives and the back office as well as all other related department about where the customer stands, what is his value and what are the cost related to the value
  • Involve the people in the definition and specification for CRM who are in the end working with it. This will increase acceptance and the readiness to work with the system. It will also make it better as all needed elements are being taken into account
  • Make sure the upper management is aware of the project and gives its full support as well as attention and pressure to bring it to a stage where it will be implemented and finally used. A system like that is mostly quite expensive and it brings a benefit so it is crucial that once the decision has been made, the process of implementation will be followed up closely by the upper management
  • Provide the possibility to integrate the CRM system with already existing systems and enable to sync data automatically to avoid double entry or copy / paste operations
  • Provide intensive training to the users, the better they know the program, the easier it will be for them if it is easy it becomes more probable that they will use extensively
  • Make sure the people who have implemented the system are available for a longer period after the go life date, to make necessary changes and adjustments, to answer questions and to give further training

The company’s reputation and future are greatly dependent on the success of CRM implementation. Failure in the introduction of the CRM system can result in catastrophe for the whole organization.

This paper outlined key issues that must be addressed in order to ensure that a new CRM system is introduced in the best way possible in order to generate maximum return on investment without affecting current activity and with minimal risk. The checklist can be used as a starting point for a project plan on the implementation of a CRM system for any company with respect to the focus on the individual needs.

References[Bearbeiten]

Brasch et al.: Praxishandbuch Kundenmanagement:Wiley, 2007, Online in http://books.google.de/books?id=fkNsuov7cU8C&printsec=frontcover&hl=de&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
Brendel, Michael: CRM für den Mittelstand. Wiesbaden: Gabler, 2002.
CRM Ratgeber, 2012, Online in http://www.crmproject.de/basics/was_ist_crm.php.
Hippner, Hajo; Wilde, Klaus D.: Grundlagen des CRM. Wiesbaden: Gabler, 2007.
Raab, Werner: Customter Relationship Management: Windmühle, 2010.
Rageth, Hafner: CRM für KMU. Erfolgreiches CRM für einmal keine Frage der Größe, 2006.
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG): Developing a Winning CRM Strategy, 2011.
Thomas & Betts CRM Sales Rep User’s Guide, 2011.
Pucher: BPM vs. BPMS: How to Think Big and Act Small, 2012.
Welch: Rashmi Sinha of SlideShare. INC. Magazine, 2012.