Evaluate the Success of Your CRM

Evaluate the Success of Your CRM

05 Feb Evaluate the Success of Your CRM

CRM implementation projects often have multiple benefits, from staff morale to a very specific ROI for a particular business line.

Quantifying the success of a project is a worthwhile exercise because it enables you to assess parts that didn’t go so well and then look to rectify them in the future. It also helps the learning process so that next time a new CRM project starts you can be better equipped. Successful organizations take the time to distil these learnings in documentary form for future reference.

But how do you decide if the project has been a success?

There are a few ways to make this judgement. Below are three tried-and-tested strategies to evaluate the success of your CRM.

Increased capability

What can users do now that they couldn’t do before? This can be highlighted on a technical level, for example:

“The sales manager can now segment data by level of email engagement.”

“The information gleaned on credit risk can now be used by the sales team.”

You can go one step further and make more qualitative judgements by asking users what they can do on the new system. It’s also worth asking them if any capability has been removed. Conducting these interviews over the first six months following implementation will give you insight into how the changes are actually being used. Often users don’t use or even know about new capability so it’s a good exercise to get feedback, which can then inform training if necessary.

User satisfaction

A new CRM is often deployed because the old system is inefficient, damaging morale and wasting time. There may be technical reasons to implement the new CRM but often it is an emotional decision where employees need a boost – the negativity around a poor system needs to be expunged from the company.

I’ve seen some stunningly good implementation projects where staff members are so motivated by a modern CRM that they buy into the process, giving ideas on improvements and running seminars for other staff on useful ways to use the system.

So if morale was a key benefit, distributing questionnaires to assess the impact on morale should give an insight into how well it has worked. Implementing a CRM is such a delicate process that it can often have the opposite effect, or sometimes morale will dip whilst the user base is getting to grips with the system but then spike when they have gained some degree of mastery and see all of the ways it benefits them.

Improvements across KPIs

CRM KPIs will vary from company to company but could include:

  •         Increase in sales
  •         Increase in open rate for email campaigns
  •         Increase in turnover
  •         Decrease in debtor days.
  •         Decrease in delivery time.

There are normally a few critical business reasons why a new CRM has been implemented. Before the implementation project begins these should have been quantified and tracked. Then once the new system is in place it should be relatively straightforward to look at the new level of the KPI.

It is helpful to have a hypothesis:

“By setting up the CRM we will be able to have better real-time information on our debtors so our credit control team will be able to implement credit checks and credit control more effectively. This increased efficiency will reduce our debtor days from 45 to 35.”

Once the baseline has been tracked and the goal set the easy part should be tracking progress after the new CRM has been implemented. The mistake that many companies make is not having a specific and quantifiable plan so outcomes become vague.

These options are just the tip of the iceberg: whatever you do make sure that you can stand in a meeting after six months and quantify the success of the implementation. The best way to do that is to plan your goals from the outset.

Doug Haines has worked on a variety of CRM implementation projects and now writes on a wide range of topics. He is a regular contributor to Discover CRM