What has two wheels and a saddle?
An extended metaphor in a blog post about CRM implementation might not have been the answer you were expecting.
This is another blog in our series for the Salesforce Foundation. Our first focused on CRM procurement – selecting a CRM system for small non profits. This time, we focus on implementing CRM.
We share some of our tips and tricks for making the journey into a smooth adventure involving bicycles and planning. Just because you need some kind of analogy ….
We wrote this post for Salesforce Foundation, but the advice is valid whatever CRM system or donor database you are considering.
Our five top tips include:
- Tip 1: Don’t start until you’ve clearly documented your project. At the minimum, you need terms of reference which includes the aims, scope and resources you need and will be using. Ideally you will also have identified what improvements the implementation will bring so you can evidence your success and measure return on investment. For those of us who like visual things, a timeline of what will happen, when and who will do it is also very helpful.
- Tip 2: Make sure your CRM decision and planning includes all teams and departments, and that everyone is included and consulted about what is happening, why, when, and the impact it will have on them. It’s helpful to undertake a signposting exercise, which identifies the best tools to use with your CRM. The joy of Salesforce is that so many tools are compatible and configurable, but if you are moving from working without a CRM to adding a CRM, you may need to take this opportunity to undertake a strategic digital review as well as choosing your CRM.
- Tip 3: Concentrate your time and resources on achieving the plan you agreed. Plan in regular review meetings with the key stakeholders from across the organisation. These meetings are a vital opportunity for everyone to share their progress (and any delays or potential hazards), and identify any changes that may need to be made as a result. Where opportunities to add new tasks, deliverables or developments exist, agree when, where and how they will be dealt with – perhaps a second phase when the primary project is finished? A single project leader is best to keep an overview of everyone’s different views, orchestrate the meetings and bring people into accord.
- Tip 4: Allow plenty of time for User Acceptance Testing. Don’t save it all for the end, do it as you go to help build familiarity with the new system and iron out any niggles along the way. Testing is a skill in itself, so you may want to call on specialist help to manage this for you.
- Tip 5: A clear project scope should lay out all your requirements and avoid underestimates. Regular project review meetings highlight risks like this ahead of time so you can manage them – and agree whether and how additional charges or time requirements can be accommodated. The scope should clearly layout what your training needs are – how many teams/days? You can’t skip this bit –it’s critical to your project being successful. A budget contingency will be vital if you are not entirely sure at the start what your exact requirements will be.
Of course, this doesn’t cover every step of the way (and you can extend a metaphor w-a-y too – so many puns waiting to be made), but we hope the top tips will help you think ahead a bit more and shape your plans.
CRM implementation is our ‘day job’, rather than a rather a challenging – sometimes scary – project that a smaller charity might be a bit reluctant to tackle alone and as a side focus of their main work. There’s more to our blog than just a nice analogy, and more to our work than we share here.