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CRM leadership: Buying, managing and running a system

Last updated:March 2015

Editor's note

Running a successful CRM platform requires leadership and vision at all stages, from buying to implementation to managing ongoing business processes. While executive-level leaders make the final decisions related to CRM software, they should involve stakeholders and users at all levels of the organization. With the consumerization of IT giving workers higher expectations of the technology they use at the office, making a CRM purchase without the right CRM expertise could be disastrous.

For many, the CRM buying process is the biggest hurdle to overcome. Vendors vie for companies' attention, and it can be hard to cut through the noise and identify the system that is the right fit. But challenges also crop up after a company implements the software. Now that CRM systems are much more than data repositories, they need to bolster sales forces, provide high-quality data, integrate with legacy systems and assist in executing marketing strategies. Running successful CRM initiatives and ensuring long-term success takes vision, patience and a willingness to learn from people both inside and outside of your organization.

This essential guide examines CRM leadership at three stages in the journey: Buying the technology, managing it and running a business correctly to encourage prolonged value. Executives and employees alike can learn how to proceed based on the experiences of leaders who have been in their shoes.

1Tips and advice

Once a company decides on the CRM system that fits its needs, the challenge shifts to managing the system and maximizing its value. A well-designed and nurtured CRM system can do many things for an organization, including maintaining customer data quality, feeding marketing initiatives with worthwhile leads, helping sales departments reach their goals and enriching relationships with clientele. A good CRM system isn't worth anything if it isn't integrated with legacy data or other back-office systems, so companies need to consider the system's long-term management requirements.

2CRM leadership

Business leaders need to possess vision, patience and expertise in their fields. Those qualities are essential to running a CRM project and ensuring its long-term success, but they aren't learned overnight. Before embarking on a new project, learn from people who have used their skills to get the most out of their CRM systems and get a leg up on next-level CRM leadership.

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