Why You Need a CRM Champion
6 big benefits to tapping a CRM champion
CRM offers tremendous opportunities for businesses to build better relationships with their prospects and customers. But CRM is not a magic wand. It requires a commitment to strong, cohesive business processes, as well as top-down buy-in to your CRM system.
Those commitments need to begin even before your CRM implementation does if that implementation is to go smoothly. And one of the best ways to ensure your CRM implementation does go smoothly is to tap a CRM champion.
What is a CRM champion?
A CRM champion is a member of your executive or management team who takes personal ownership of your CRM implementation. Your CRM champion sets expectations and timelines, ensures users are training on and using your new system, coordinates tech and troubleshooting issues with IT, and acts as a liaison between users, managers, executives, and/or partners throughout the project.
CRM champions need to be strategically-minded, patient, and effective organizers. They should also understand and communicate the benefits of the project across departments to ensure buy-in. And they should be enthusiastic about the project and ready to take on the challenges of CRM implementation.
And there will be challenges! CRM implementations are complex and sometimes daunting projects. But a CRM champion helps ensure your CRM project succeeds.
A good CRM champion will do all of the following:
1.) Keep your CRM project aligned with your business goals
CRM is not just a technology solution; it is also a process solution. Any CRM implementation needs to help you optimize your business processes, which means your CRM system needs to be in sync with your business.
This requires executive-level vision to coordinate, especially for large or complicated operations. But it also requires someone who understands the needs of your sales, marketing, and support teams. They are the people interacting with your customers, and they will use CRM the most.
Your CRM champion needs to know your business, its needs, and what your CRM system must do to meet those needs. Only then can they ensure the project delivers value throughout your organization.
Once your CRM champion knows what direction your project should take, they can…
2.) Set expectations and timelines
A smooth CRM implementation takes careful planning and execution. Your CRM champion must balance the long-term goals of your CRM project with a realistic timeline and strategy for achieving those goals.
At Azamba, we often call this the “crawl, walk, run” approach.
Trying to do too much too quickly is a lot like trying to run before you know how to crawl. You’re going to fall on your face, and it could be an expensive fall!
On the other hand, moving too slowly can seriously reduce the return on your CRM investment. This is especially true if you are relying on outside training or consulting.
A good CRM champion helps maintain the balance your project needs. They ensure your team is ready before everyone takes off running. In the meantime, they keep your project running without running over your users.
But your CRM champion doesn’t just work with end users! They also…
3.) Act as a liaison between different roles, departments, and organizations
Coordinating a CRM implementation is no easy task, especially given the different roles and goals involved.
Your CRM champion needs to understand, communicate with, demonstrate value to, and coordinate your team. They should also be the point of contact with any outside resources you are working with during your implementation.
Now that your CRM champion has everyone’s attention, they need to…
4.) Ensure access, buy-in, and training
A fancy new CRM system is no good to anyone if your team can’t access it, doesn’t know how to use it, or isn’t willing to use it.
Your CRM champion makes sure each team, role, and user has the logins and permissions they need.
Your champion also coordinates training efforts so that your team can get up-and-running on the new system quickly and effectively, and spearheads efforts to communicate value and increase buy-in.
Once everyone is ready to use CRM, it’s time to…
5.) Establish and maintain best practices
CRM is a powerful tool for keeping all your various team members on the same page. But it won’t work if they aren’t on the same page in the first place.
Your CRM champion establishes and communicates the processes your team will use in CRM. They then ensures those processes are followed and are producing the desired results.
If you aren’t seeing the results you expected, your CRM champion will be in a position to…
6.) Solve problems with the system or project
No matter how good the plan, something can still go wrong. Your CRM champion is the point person for solving implementation problems. Ideally, they will do so in conjunction with your technology partner.
The CRM champion’s knowledge of your new system and your organization means they will be able to fix many issues as they arise. A good CRM champion will also know when a problem is outside their expertise. In those instances, they should be in a position to seek outside assistance.
Who will stand with your CRM champion?
Your CRM champion will have a lot on their plate. CRM implementation can be a daunting task, and a lot of that responsibility falls on your champion. Finding someone in your organization who will thrive in the role of CRM champion is a big step towards CRM success.
But your CRM champion doesn’t have to stand alone!
When you sign up for our OnTrack CRM Success System, your CRM champion will work with an Azamba Success Coach. Our Success Coaches have years of experience coordinating successful CRM implementations and training!
At Azamba, we’ve maintained a 99% success rate across more than 300 implementation projects. Compare that to the 30-70% CRM failure rates found in study after study.
Plus, we back our OnTrack system with a 100% money-back guarantee!
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David Marincic is head of publishing at Azamba. He focuses on education and outreach, and manages and edits Azamba publications and social media channels.
David believes in the importance of good planning, sound practice, effective communication, and continued education in order to get the most from any technology solution.