CRM checklist.

Author:Covin, Janet S.
Position:Quality - Customer Relationship Management

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) entails making business more profitable by helping them be more responsive to customers. It uses technology to support three business processes--sales, service and marketing. But before you move ahead to implement a CRM solution, consider the following:

Have a CRM business strategy, before you implement CRM technology. CRM is both a business and technology strategy; identifying how your sales, service and marketing will be used to execute your business strategy is a key factor in realizing its value.

Determine how well defined your sales, service or marketing processes are and pick the CRM course of action that's right for your company now. Work towards improving your processes and raising your CRM level over time.

Understand why you're buying CRM technology. Don't buy technology because everyone says you have to have it to be competitive. Identify what you want the system to do for you--get input from management, sales, marketing, service and IT. Identify how you can use the power of CRM technology to achieve your business goals.

Determine how you'll measure return on investment. Use tangible criteria and establish benchmarks to measure the success of your CRM strategy in meeting these goals (increased sales, shorter sales cycles, increased customer satisfaction).

Talk to customers to make sure you know what their expectations are. Deploying a CRM solution that is inconsistent with your customer expectations defeats the whole purpose of CRM and can result in more than just lost time and effort.

Consider the human factor. Understand the reasons why employees might not want the system and identify strategies to deal with...

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