Write it down

Many CRM projects fail for a very simple reason: no one has defined what "success" looks like. If there are no

clearly defined goals for a CRM project, then one of two things can happen: (1) You actually achieve what you were trying for, but nobody knows it; or (2) The implementation goes off track and the final result is incomplete, incorrect, or both. The deceptively simple solution to this problem is clearly to define the goals of your CRM project � before you begin. The best goals are quantifiable rather than qualitative. For example, "we will decrease customer complaints from 12 per week to 2" is better than "we will deliver better customer service." Once you and your project team have determined the goals, WRITE THEM DOWN. Better yet, post them in a highly visible area of the office, along with timelines and responsibilities. Your CRM team must be accountable and responsible. It is impossible to complete a race that has no finish line. By establishing and displaying your goals, you create an endpoint for your project and ensure that the finish line won't be moved. A moving finish line is as bad as none at all. A moving line can move toward you and you will finish the project with less than the desired results. On the other hand, it can move away from you, and you will never complete the project. Constantly striving for a better solution is a good thing, but it is imperative to declare success for one phase of a project before embarking on additional improvements. Completed smaller steps are better than an incomplete overall journey. The CRM project team may require a defined goal more than other people in your company. Why? They are working on something that has not been well defined to date �in the industry and in your company. Clear objectives are a must -- and it begins with the written word. Stephen Brooks is vice president of marketing for MultiActive Software Corp., in Vancouver, B.C. The company (www.multiactive.com) publishes Maximizer, Entice and ecBuilder CRM and e-commerce software solutions.

This was first published in October 2000

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