5 Tips for Finding Your CRM Champion

How to find your CRM champion

The biggest part of a successful CRM implementation firm is getting your team to actually use it. No matter how well designed and user friendly the CRM is, it still has to overcome the inertia of those workers who would rather do things the “old way.” Getting these employees up to speed on the new CRM can be a huge challenge, and failing to do so quickly and effectively can put the entire project in danger.

This is one reason why it’s essential to partner with a qualified CRM implementation firm. During those first few weeks of the rollout, your CRM partner can provide substantial assistance to boost user adoption, providing everything from training to user-experience upgrades and refinements. But what happens after the CRM rollout? Few companies have a CRM expert on staff, and it’s typical to just assign the responsibility for the project to an existing employee

Businesses often toss the job at the CTO or COO, as the CRM is a technology-driven tool. In some cases, the Director of Marketing or Sales may be assigned to the task, as CRMs are built around customer relationships. Another common choice for a CRM coordinator is a mid-level IT manager, as no one else in the organization has both the technical skills and the time to learn the software. In most cases, the person taking on the role of CRM subject-matter expert isn’t exactly a volunteer. They weren’t chosen because they have a passion for the CRM project, or even a background with similar systems. In fact, they’re often chosen simply because their superiors don’t want to take on the role themselves.

Not surprisingly, this often sets the newly appointed coordinator — and the CRM project itself — up for failure.

It doesn’t have to be this way. With a little planning, any company have have more than a reluctant CRM coordinator. Instead, they can have a true CRM Champion.

Here are 5 tips for finding your in-house CRM champion:

1. Ability to plan

Your in-house CRM advocate should have strong planning skills and be able to put data into actionable items. If a team member gets overwhelmed by planning and coordinating, then they are not going to excel at being your CRM champion.

Implementing a CRM requires a clear strategy. Having a general idea for the direction of the project just won’t cut it. Before taking that first step into a greater world, it’s important to have a plan.

Creating that plan means asking some deceptively simple-seeming questions:

  • What business pain points is the CRM trying to solve?
  • Who are the stakeholders, and what are their priorities?
  • What are the use cases, and which ones should have the highest priority?
  • Who are the users, and what features are important to them?
  • Does the scope of the CRM match the budget?

By knowing the answers to these questions, your CRM champion can plan your implementation strategy with essential information instead of shooting in the dark.

2. Has time

Without a guide, CRM planning feels like guesswork. Even in a mid-sized company, each department will have their own specific needs and wants from the CRM. Figuring out what everyone’s needs are and then implementing them for success takes time.

One common mistake when implementing a CRM system is to task an already busy employee with leading the charge. If your CRM advocate does not have the time to lead the project, how can they properly get the job done?

If you have a team member that perfectly fits all the other suggestions, then you may consider shifting their workload so you can take advantage of their skill set for CRM success!

3. Passionate about the project

Making the CRM implementation a success means learning how each of the system’s processes work, understanding how they fit together, and creating a new framework for adapting these uses. In most cases, the person tasked with running the CRM implementation will only have a limited knowledge of how the system works behind the scenes.To truly embrace the role of CRM Champion, they need both a passion to succeed and the curiosity to learn more about the system itself.

4. Understands technology

Even the most user-friendly CRM is still a highly complex machine under the hood. While a CRM champion generally doesn’t need to understand programming languages or make sense of debugging reports, they do need to have a firm grasp on the basic technology of the system. In most cases, this means understanding what data the CRM collects, how the system finds and sorts that data, and how (and why) it restricts access to certain parts of the system.

This is easier to accomplish than it may seem. CRM champions can work closely with the implementation firm during user testing, and be given additional training to help with support issues. This will allow them to troubleshoot smaller problems themselves, and serve as a liaison between the staff and the CRM provider.

5. Have strong communication skills

Beyond simply understanding technology, your CRM champion needs to have the ability to walk their coworkers through different parts of the CRM. This often means “translating” technical concepts into plain English, patiently explaining the CRM’s processes to users who may be frustrated to the breaking point. The CRM champion will be called upon to help people with wildly different levels of technical skill, helping users across the company with problems that are unique to their department’s CRM use case. It’s a job that calls for strong communication skills, and no shortage of patience.

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Filed Under:CRM