CRM platform governance is never a luxury for competitive businesses and their sales teams. Initiating and maintaining CRM governance isn’t about a long and overwrought CRM governance framework. Rather, CRM governance is about being iterative with governance to build a framework that best supports the sales cycle. Here are five CRM governance best practices you can initiate today...
1. Take an Agile Approach to CRM Implementation
Based on information from a Forester Analyst report, Information-Management.com cited a phased approach to CRM implementation as a CRM best practice. Such a phased approach means that you can roll out new and engaging CRM features, including analytics, mobile apps, and collaborative tools, as they become available. Your salespeople benefit because they can leverage the latest CRM features to improve their sales cycle. Your CRM system also becomes a dynamic system rather than a static platform, holding user interest.
2. Establish CRM Data Ownership Up Front
Sales is an inherently risky career choice, fraught with competition, burnout, and the challenging sales landscape across industries and markets. Setting out who “owns” what customer contacts can be important when you have salespeople who bring their own customer contacts with them from job to job. Although your CRM platform may hold a bounty of information about prospective and current customers, so could a senior sales executive’s personal smartphone or tablet. Establishing data ownership ensures that your customer contacts are safe; likewise, salespeople who bring their own clients can maintain ownership over their existing business relationships.
3. Keep CRM Governance a Team Sport
Keeping CRM governance a team exercise is advice I found in a 2011 Credera blog post entitled, Why Governance Is a Best Practice When Implementing an Enterprise-Wide CRM. I believe that this advice still holds true in 2015 because it’s something you can initiate on day one, when your CRM platform goes live to the sales team.
When you keep CRM governance a team sport, you have representation from sales management, sales, and the IT department from the beginning, so all points of view, experience, and knowledge are represented as part of your CRM governance.
4. Use Tough Love Where It Counts
Another CRM governance best practice you can initiate today comes from a post on the Cloud Sherpas blog entitled, Build a Salesforce Center of Excellence, which mentions that tough love pays when it comes to CRM governance. If you don’t set expectations with end users up front, you short-change any cloud platform implementation, especially CRM. Tough love pays not just with the center of excellence route the post espouses, either, because there will be situations where you have to get tough with CRM governance for budgetary and data integrity reasons.
5. Democratize CRM Data Access
Finally, be sure to open CRM data to multiple access channels—in particular, mobile devices. To get the maximum benefit from CRM, sales team users need real-time access anytime from anywhere. Democratizing CRM access makes updating customer data into a habit, not a chore reserved for Friday afternoons at the office.
CRM Governance Today... Not Tomorrow
Command and control of a CRM platform have no place in the sales organization of today, so adding CRM governance incrementally helps develop a governance framework equipped to maximize CRM productivity and help the sales team see your CRM platform as a strategic asset rather than a bureaucratic hurdle standing in the way of sales.
SOURCE: Inside CRM