06/12/21Get the most out of your CRM with an continuous improvement process

It is finally done! After weeks of defining, configuring, testing, and training on your CRM solution, the Going Live phase concludes the successful implementation of your CRM project. During the implementation phase, we focused on the essential processes and task areas as well as quick wins. Now the further development and optimization of the CRM solution follows seamlessly.

CRM further broadenPhase three of the CAS methodical approach now begins with the steps of fine-tuning, continuous further development, training of additional employees on the system and integration of new business areas into the new CRM solution. To ensure that your project will keep being successful, the CAS CRM 6 golden rules to ensure long-term CRM project success will guide you along the way:

1. Increase your CRM benefit and simplify your daily business
After the project goes live, your project team can take a breath, get used to the new workflows, consciously complete the last milestone and celebrate the success. You are a good step closer to your goal of optimizing your business processes, service and customer relationships. Your daily routine and day-to-day business will now also be simpler. Now it is time to focus on the further potential of your CRM solution and use the initial project momentum to carry you through the next steps.

Ask yourself: What did we learn in the implementation phase? What are the next topics and processes we are tackling? How can our implementation partner best support our endeavours?
Again, as with the implementation: less is more; focus on a sole topic or just a few. Involve your project partner, their advice can prove invaluable, because a long-standing and experienced implementation partner is familiar with a broad range of business processes and they will know from practical experience how to best leverage the CRM solution to your advantage. Stick with it and take advantage of the opportunities that are available to you.


Are there other business areas that should now be included? Have workflows changed and do they need to be adapted? Bring in other stakeholders with their specific requirements. Check what could fit and focus on that. Follow the classic project steps: kick-off, requirements, steering committee approval, implementation, testing and going live. You are aiming for a continuous, and gradual improvement process which will help you to get more out of your CRM system.

2. Keep your project team strong and alive

Even after going live, the continuity of the project team with its individual roles is crucial for ongoing success. Experiencing highs and lows together makes the team stronger as they progress through the project. An essential task of the project team is to take away any concerns the participants might have and to replace them with acceptance and trust. Another task is to meet with the key users at regular intervals to review new requirements and checklists and to initiate new measures. The role cards and common rules from the implementation phase also provide good support in the subsequent phases and continue to accompany the change process.

3. Pay attention to participation and acceptance
As the project progresses, involve employees outside the project team in the optimization process. Keep the project alive by ensuring that all employees can contribute with their requirements, wishes and ideas. Everyone should know how important they are and that they can help shape the process and the CRM solution with their participation. This promotes acceptance and trust, and benefits the long-term success of the project. For example, develop a dedicated app in your CRM system that employees can use to submit requirements and ideas. The goal is to institutionalize a kind of suggestion system and thus create awareness that each individual is jointly responsible for how well the system supports everyday work.

4. Rely on understanding and trust
It is almost a given that things do not always run smoothly - this also applies to the operation and further development of the CRM solution. This is exactly where the strength of a well-functioning and stress-tested project team comes into play. Employees who are open and see conflict as an opportunity will be rewarded with a mature and strong team in the end. Mutual understanding of each other's concerns and the ability to seek a common solution are prerequisites. Build on cooperation that is based on mutual trust. It gives you the courage to try out new things and at the same time allows everyone involved to make mistakes. In this way, your CRM team will become stronger and stronger and not only work well together, but also enjoy long term success.

5. Use internal and external marketing for more visibility

Celebrating success together strengthens the "team" thus providing motivation from within the organization for the next steps. When going live, make sure you extend the celebrations across all departments, not just exclusively within the project team – everyone involved in the project will be happy to celebrate the milestone with you. These experiences can be used for internal communication or shared with all employees via in-house conferences. This helps to nurture growth, mutual trust and a sense of really making a difference, as well as the feeling of working in a modern innovative company.

Employees outside the project team now experience how seamlessly processes can run and how smoothly day-to-day business is handled. Talk to users regularly to find out what they think of the changes. The more actionable information you get from the actual users, the better. This will feed directly into the retrospective, which at this point would be a great time to schedule it. The positive results from the retrospective can then be presented internally to employees as successes and best practice.

Such projects can also have a great impact externally. For example, create a success story together with your software partner about the successful course of your project - these are welcome practical reports in the trade press to be published. Best practice presentations at events, in customer newsletters or social media posts not only make your employees and the project team proud, they also have an image-building effect for your company. It shows that you are an innovative company and have your finger on the pulse regarding digitalization.

6. Maintain personal contact and exchange ideas on an equal footing
Even after the implementation of your CRM project, the personal exchange between the implementation partner and the customer is the basis for long-term project success. Face-to-face discussions help you to stay on the ball and not lose sight of the goal defined at the very beginning. An annual meeting, a steering committee or a shoulder-to-shoulder meeting with your software partner are good ways to initiate further development. This creates new tasks and responsibilities and thus a guarantee that the project will continue and that the goals will remain in sight.

This also includes updating your software to the latest version. In addition to other sources of information, such as your software manufacturer's newsletter, your implementation partner also informs you of new versions as soon as they are available and provides you with service and support as needed. Thanks to this relationship of trust, it is easy to be kept up to date about additional solutions or new functions, interfaces or add-ons. This kind of ideas exchange on an equal footing basis is essential to the healthy further widen of your CRM project. If you want to grow in the long term, you need a relationship based on understanding, respect and trust.

Martin Kestner
You want to know more?
Contact the CAS CRM expert Martin Kestner by e-mail or phone (+49 721 9638-188) and get even more expert knowledge.

Picture: Martin Kestner, Head of Projects XRM solutions

Read also: CRM implementation - How to make your digitalization project a success

<< back