When introducing CRM systems, one topic is often neglected: change management. The project stands and falls with the way the system is introduced in the company and the way the users are picked up and taken along on the journey. When introducing a CRM system, a large number of stakeholders have to be taken into account, because the CRM system influences business processes and thus has far-reaching effects on various business areas of the company. And it is precisely these stakeholders, and especially the users, who ultimately determine the success of the software.
But how does the introduction become a complete success and how do the users become real CRM fans?
First things first – what is change management anyway?
The word Change stands for change and transformation. Change management is therefore the planned organization of changes in organizations, which concerns aspects of implementation in order to accompany the adjustment processes in a targeted and strategic manner.
In the context of a CRM introduction, the aim is to successfully manage and accompany the change that the introduction entails for the most diverse departments and areas.
Challenges in the process of CRM implementation
Every company faces its own individual challenges. Nevertheless, we have noticed similarities in the numerous CRM projects we have already had the pleasure of supporting:
Since the CRM project usually involves several departments, many, different stakeholders are involved. Each individual has different expectations and requirements of the CRM system. This applies to general operation, access, evaluation options, device availability and special functionalities.
Of course, the digital affinity of users also plays a decisive role in the introduction of a new technology. It must be taken into account here that this digital affinity – depending on age, interests, educational background, etc. – can vary greatly. – can be very different.
Fears & Worries
It is not uncommon for the introduction of CRM to be accompanied by fears on the part of users. CRM is misunderstood as a supervisory body, there are fears of increased control, or concerns about being overtaxed in dealing with the software fuel fears.
More and more companies are operating internationally and this inevitably means that different cultures come together. Different cultures – different customs: The working methods and habits must be taken into account in any case during an international CRM implementation.
3 tips for successful change processes during CRM implementation
There are many starting points for getting to grips with the challenges. In the following, I would like to present three of many more tips.
#1: Targeting requirements at an early stage
Take on board the different requirements of the stakeholders at an early stage and, in the best case, involve them in the decision-making process. It is important to involve everyone, from supporters to critics. It is a good idea to “bring all stakeholders to the table” in a joint workshop. In discussions or using creative methods, such as design thinking, everyone can have their say and be allowed to present their perspective on things. Decisions as to why a functionality is not considered in the first phase, for example, should be communicated openly and honestly.
#2: Conduct internal project marketing
To ensure that the launch is a success, it is particularly important to conduct internal project marketing throughout the entire process. In addition to information about the software, suitable advertising materials, a project claim or a joint kick-off event, gamification approaches can also be used. All of these actions promote anticipation for the CRM and aim to completely convince even the critics.