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5 Tips for Energizing Your Sales Organization and Realizing Enterprise-wide
Value with On-demand CRM
is also known as :
On-demand Customer Relationship Management
Customer Relationship Management Strategies
On demand CRM
Customer Relationship Management Benefits,
Customer Relationship Management Software Selection,
CRM Decision Makers,
Core CRM Functions,
on Demand CRM,
Approaches to Implementing CRM,
CRM and ERP Applications,
Siebel CRM on Demand,
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on Demand CRM Solution,
Customer Relationship Management Vendors,
Choosing a CRM a System,
Sure, there are many solutions available for midsize companies with big company
CRM needs. And some can be rapidly deployed to quickly energize your sales
organization. But what happens after that first jolt? Here are 5 tips for making
sure your CRM choice continues to deliver ROI for the long run.
Oracle Accelerate is Oracle's approach to providing business software solutions
to midsize organizations. The program started as a way to quickly implement
industry-specific, on-premise ERP solutions by leveraging best practices, rapid
implementation tools, and local partner expertise. Accelerate now includes new
solutions for Oracle applications that automate specific business processes
including Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
Increasingly, midsize companies look to CRM to energize their sales
organizations and make the entire sales ecostystem more efficient. This briefing
provides tips for choosing a CRM a system that keeps on delivering value for the
long run—systems that satisfy a deeper, enterprise-wide thirst for Return on
Investment (ROI) across the entire IT platform.
Getting CRM projects approved under current economic conditions
In the current economic climate of guarded optimism, some midsize companies are
still focusing on updating their existing IT infrastructure and putting new
software projects on hold. But many organizations look to fill in process
automation gaps with software projects that can be completed under tightly
controlled conditions. Net new software project proposals with the most traction
are likely those that reduce costs by delivering greater operational
efficiencies and/or enhance top line growth within existing markets and product
Champions of these projects must be able to clearly articulate what the tangible
benefits will be and how soon those benefits will be realized. Plus they must
build confidence that the project's scope can be controlled and completed in a
short implementation timeline on budget.
Almost every executive at a midsize organization intuitively understands the
benefits of core CRM functions—such as sales organization automation and
marketing—to the sales ecosystem. Not so well understood is the enterprise-wide
value of a long range CRM strategy.
Sales executives pushing for CRM to gain immediate sales efficiencies need to
look beyond their realms and consider how the choice may impact all operational
areas. And they need to insure their choice complements—or may even
enhance—their company's overall IT infrastructure strategy.
Here are some tips for making that selection process easier
Tip 1: Plan on becoming the first power-user of your new CRM solution
Like any software, CRM can only deliver anticipated benefits if there is
widespread user adoption. CRM projects face perhaps the ultimate audience of
skeptics—sales people. That challenge is exacerbated if a company relies on
salespeople that are not direct employees.
With most other enterprise and process-specific applications, the executive
making the final selection won't be using the software extensively every day.
But CRM decision makers will likely become power users of the very system they
choose. Your implementation partner should work closely with you to create an
environment that is representative of your processes and provides an impressive
demonstration platform to show other stakeholders what to expect.
This proficiency should also allay any fears about system usability. Being the
first power user should not mean you will become the go-to resource because
others don't understand how to make the system work for them. By personally
test-driving the system you can validate that it's 'point and click' logical and
intuitive. As you test the user experience, verify that users with no technical
background must be able to configure the screens to the way they need them to
look and to create queries.
Ask your partner or vendor for a proven, documented training plan before
buying, including initial instruction as well as weekly refresher courses after
go-live to help make laggards proficient.
"It started before we signed the contract. We had an operating demonstration
from Oracle's partner, BizTech, and poked and prodded to provide input. Once
we'd made the purchase, we worked with BizTech to bring up an alpha system that
a select group of users played with for a month. We then provided a final list
of things that needed to be tweaked. As a result, we quickly experienced 100%
adoption of the solution when rolled out to the entire marketing and sales
--Mark Cieri, Director of
Marketing and Business
Tip 2: Decide up front—what does your integration "end game" look like?
Most midsize companies initially deploy CRM as a stand-alone solution but want
to eventually integrate some functions to their core ERP systems. All
integrations mean require additional investment and resources, factors that need
to be considered up front.
First, decide to what you want and need to integrate. Integration can be as
simple as updating basic customer and product records in CRM with the system of
record in core ERP. But many customers want more robust integration to avoid
duplicate records and enable both CRM and ERP applications to have access to all
customer and product information. Deeper still, you may eventually want CRM to
be the gateway to a seamless process that requires integration to quotes, sales
orders, and service and warranty management.
For anything but the simplest integration strategy you will want to know up
front if there are factorybuilt and maintained integrations between your CRM
choice and existing ERP.
Consider the long term cost and functional requirements needed to support
your integration "end game" so that you don't put an increased burden on your IT
Improving integration between applications, reducing IT costs are top goals for
SMB IT in 2009
In a recent Forrester report on SMB, 71% of respondents identified both
improving integration between applicatins and reducing IT costs as their top IT
priorities.—"The State Of SMB Software: 2009", Forrester, June 2009
Tip 3: Don't go it alone—seek project approval with a team effort
If you are a sales executives pushing hard for CRM, draw in stakeholders from
all aspects of the business that stand to benefit and those who will be impacted
on the cost side. Most CRM ROI business cases focus on direct and indirect
benefits specific to a company's sales and marketing ecosystem. Typical metrics
tracked include sales efficiency, pipeline size, and visibility of comprehensive
But the business case for CRM should identify value across the entire
organization. Examine your integration strategy to determine what parts of your
organization will be impacted. Finance resources can extend their visibility of
enterprise performance by extracting CRM data when using Business Intelligence
tools. If you plan to integrate CRM to core ERP and establish a single system of
record for core customer and product information, you won't need to manually
reconcile the two systems. Additional duplicate activities will eliminate with
deeper integration of that communicates sales order, quotes, and opportunities
information between CRM and ERP. Process owners across these activities will
realize both direct and indirect benefits from reduced administrative costs and
greater visibility. And if these integrations are factory built and maintained,
IT managers need not focus on maintaining custom integrations and
synchronization of data.
Share your integration plan with potential stakeholders and ask them to help you
quantify the benefits so that they have skin in the game. With four or five
process owners asking, a project is much more likely to get approved.
Consult your CRM vendor and implementation partner for assistance with
developing a clear and concise ROI analysis in a short period of time.
Tip 4: Show stakeholders the "before and after"—before the project starts
A picture may well be worth a thousand words but—when it comes to CRM—a few
screen shots could be worth thousands of dollars of funding. Companies that have
complex manual forecasting processes relying on spreadsheets, iterative rollups,
and intuition know how ugly forecasting can look.
Helping executive sponsors and other stakeholders see the value in CRM can be as
simple as showing them what their first month forecast will look like on an
automated system. As part of the discovery process, have your partner work with
you to produce a pilot system that can generate sample reports and dashboards
using your data and requirements. Hold a new pipeline forecast up next to
comparable existing report and let the images do the talking. The improved
view—with increased depth, clarity, and flexibility—is not the product of smoke
and mirrors. It is a reflection of what happens when you standardize processes
and eliminate intuition. It's simple to explain that, when a sales rep moves an
opportunity along the stages in the process, the system does the
calculations—there's no human intervention to manipulate the numbers. The result
is presentation of information in a consistent format that all will understand
with a short visual demonstration.
This same "show and tell" approach can be utilized to show value in process
areas outside of core CRM functions.
Tip 5: Pick the implementation plan that fits your needs and resources
Generally, there are three approaches to implementing CRM.
With a "big bang" approach, the entire CRM footprint is implemented in one
project. This strategy can be desirable if there is an immediate need for all
functionality and if the company can spare the necessary resources to take on a
big project. Most midsize companies do not have the resources and capital to
adopt this approach.
Phased implementation approaches are more popular among midsize companies with
limited resources. One such approach is to implement modules sequentially over a
one to two year period. Once the first module is up and running the project
moves on to the next. A third option is to implement one module first—for
example, sales organization automation—and refine the use of it over a six-month
period before implementing the next module. This approach allows the company to
retain focus on one area, tweaking it over time until it is a perfect fit for
the organization. In either phased approach, benefits are realized quickly
without placing an overbearing strain on an organization with limited IT
Expect your implementation partner to help you determine which approach is
appropriate for your organization. The right partner will leverage past project
experience and apply consultants that have "been-there- done-that" for your
industry and geography, blending what has worked for you in the past with
industry best practices.
Start by working with the partner to map out your current sales methodology. You
may not think you have one—but a good partner will have the experience to help
you document the process you are currently following no matter how informal it
may seem. This documentation will serve as the foundation for the new system.
"CRM is not something you just put in and then walk away from. With our
accelrated deployment model, we get the first module in quickly so that the
client can start realizing benefits—the executives see the new information
and understand better why they're making the investment." Pam Davis, CRM
Engagement Manager, CD Group
Each company's evolutionary path is unique but usually culminates with
integration to core ERP systems.
Oracle Accelerate for Midsize Companies and CRM
Oracle Accelerate provides a framework for partners to offer bundled solutions
of Oracle applications in fixed scope, rapid implementations. Now, Oracle
Accelerate solutions are available for Oracle Siebel CRM and On Demand CRM.
Leveraging their expertise, industry knowledge, and proven methodologies, Oracle
partners will enable you to realize benefits faster than with traditional
implementation approaches. And, with fixed scope project plans, you can have
confidence that your project will be completed on time and on budget.
To find an Oracle Accelerate solution for your industry and geography or learn
Click here to sign up for a Free 30-Day Trial subscription to Oracle CRM On
Pam Davis, CRM Engagement Manager, CD Group
Mike Hoskin, Director of CRM Consulting, CD Group
Stephen Frizzola, CRM Practice Director, BizTech
Author: Jim Lein, Marketing Director, Oracle Accelerate for Midsize Companies,