Many people often ask me, “what is the most important thing to think about when implementing CRM?”

Some might think that getting the right features in place or having the coolest colours is the most important thing or maybe to have it integrated with the ERP system. This is not my belief, I think it is all about making a system that your users love to use. This might sound a bit strange coming from a Tech junkie like myself but there is really sound logic behind it.

Many other systems, like ERP-system (Dynamics AX, SAP etc.) require their users to use them. If they don’t they cannot do their job. However, when working with CRM systems, this is usually not the case. There are usually other ways of recording customer information for your own purposes, like in Excel, Word, OneNote or in an old fashioned notebook with a pen.

The number of companies that have tried to force users to use the CRM system by pain or gain methods have almost always failed. If you tell your salespeople that if they don’t enter their won opportunities into the CRM system, they won’t get any bonuses, usually results in a system that has a huge rise in opporunties with really short start-to-end time and no lost opportunities. If you then try to figure out the ratio the the Company has between sent quotes and won quotes, you will get very strange numbers. The data in the CRM system will be very hard to use or unusable as it only represents a small portion of the real world data.

However, if you make the CRM system so good, that all the users, really see their own performance increase by using the system, not decrease their performance, they will want to use the CRM system for their own purposes, and let’s face it, people in general are a bit egocentric and salespeople are even more so.

As many people really like using Excel for their own productivity, keeping track of things, I like to put it to the point, the CRM system, has to make each user more productive than Excel, that is what we are combating. If we do not succeed, they will just go back to using Excel again, and the entire investment is lost.

And if you hadn’t thought about it, this has been the driving thought behind Microsoft Dynamics CRM since version 1.2 which has now been crystalized into making the users love CRM.

So, let’s spread the passion! CRM 2013 is soon here and it will blow your mind! (not to talk about the competition’s :))

Gustaf Westerlund
MVP, CEO and owner at CRM-konsulterna AB