The CRM Champion in your organization is the key to implementing a Customer Relationship Management solution and using it to build stronger customer relationships. This person, as described in Why You Need a CRM Champion, is a designated team member who takes on five vital roles as your organization goes through evaluation, implementation, and adoption of a CRM solution.
- The bridge between internal teams and an external vendor. The CRM Champion acts as a bridge between team members in your business and the CRM vendor. Your CRM impacts so many different roles and teams—executives, managers, sales, and customer service. Each constituency has different objectives and the CRM Champion acts as a liaison to the vendor, relating the concerns of each team and ensuring that their needs are heard (and met) during implementation. CRM is not just a technology solution; it is also a process solution. Any CRM implementation needs to help optimize your business processes, which means your CRM system needs to be in sync with your business. This requires an executive-level vision to coordinate, especially for large or complicated operations. It also requires someone who understands the needs of your sales and marketing teams, and how these integrate with top-down business objectives.
- The manager of expectations, timelines, and deliverables. Smooth CRM implementation takes careful planning and execution. The CRM Champion must balance long-term goals with realistic timelines. Crawl, walk, run is a proven approach to avoid an expensive mistake. On the other hand, you don’t want to move too slowly or you won’t see value as quickly as you could. A good CRM Champion helps strike a good balance between these needs. Having a CRM Champion means users can realize value of the CRM in as little as 7–10 days instead of 20–22 days.
- The problem-solver. No matter how good your plan is, something will go wrong. The CRM Champion is the point person for solving implementation problems, in conjunction with the CRM vendor’s Implementation Specialist. As a problem solver, the CRM Champion must understand various facets of the business, from sales to marketing to customer service.
- The internal advocate for the business value of CRM. Strong company-wide adoption and usage of CRM is integral to its success. However, some team members may be adverse to change or they may not see the immediate benefits to using it. Your CRM Champion is the ultimate cheerleader for buy-in. They understand the many benefits of CRM and can communicate them to each department, getting everyone excited about how much easier life will be with this new technology. The CRM Champion is the one who works with other team members in your organization to make sure that their needs are being met. If the Champion is successful in understanding and communicating these needs to a vendor, companies can see active user rates of 90 percent or greater. That’s well above the average active user rate for organizations adopting CRM without a Champion, which can be anywhere from 25 to 50 percent.
- The analyst of workflow and data. One of the main benefits of CRM is accurate reporting. To achieve that outcome, having consistent data capture workflows plays a critical role. If you’re migrating from a legacy system, you may have an existing database that will require you to collaborate strategically with stakeholders in order to incorporate into your new CRM. Existing workflows and reports may have been built around your legacy system, and you don’t want to retrofit a modern solution to the limitations of its predecessor. You want to accommodate lessons learned from previous system implementation in your project plan as well as taking advantage of new features of the new system. It’s never as simple as exporting and importing data from one system to another.
A CRM Champion will have quite a bit on their plate. They will understand the benefits of CRM and can get your team excited about the new technology by being a bridge, managing timelines and deliverables, and driving adoption. This will result in improved quality of customer information, and enable your business to increase sales. Finding someone in your company who will thrive in this role is a critical step in CRM success; make sure to empower and support them during the process.
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