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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is not about technology, it is about people and processes. A CRM solution offers tremendous opportunities for businesses to build better relationships with their customers, but it’s not a magic wand. Implementing a CRM requires a commitment to strong, cohesive business processes, as well as top-down, company-wide buy-in.

Your CRM expectations must align with your business objectives. While the CRM vendor and its Implementation Specialist can help with best practices, they don’t know your company intimately and cannot drive the implementation as effectively as an internal team member, commonly known as a CRM Champion.

Who is a CRM Champion?

A CRM Champion is an internal team member designated to spearhead your CRM efforts. The implementation of your CRM is more likely to succeed with a CRM Champion as they are involved in selecting a CRM solution, identifying stakeholders, leading the implementation, and providing ongoing end-user support. Having a CRM Champion means users can realize value in the CRM in as little as 7-10 days instead of the average 20 to 22 days.

Four core skills to help you designate the right team member

These four core skills are essential in a great CRM Champion:

  1. An excellent communicator: The CRM Champion should be able to communicate the business goals to the vendor as well as to the team. Therefore, he or she must be able to communicate concisely, knowledgeable about technology, persuasive, and influential. The CRM Champion is the ultimate advocate of your CRM.
  2. An analytical and strategic thinker: One of the CRM Champion’s roles is to ensure that the vision and mission of the business is executed operationally from within the CRM. The Champion has to define the specific problem(s) they want to solve then prioritize and connect the dots to assess the impact on other teams, and finally foresee the pros and cons of the applicable solution.
  3. A detail-oriented executer: The CRM impacts many areas of the business – marketing, sales, operations, etc. The CRM Champion needs to have a good understanding of all moving parts. They need to be able to break large projects into milestones, identify risks, and develop timelines.
  4. A techie: Even the most user-friendly CRM is highly complex. While the Champion doesn’t need to know programming languages, they need to have an understanding of how data is collected, stored, who should have access to certain features of the system based on their persona. CRM is a data-driven technological solution to many business problems, and the Champion must have a strong background in data and technology to appreciate how CRM can be applied in business.

Who should take the role of CRM Champion?

Though a CRM champion is one individual, driving the CRM initiative is never a one-person project. Your company needs to have committed executives and team members, as well as the right technology partner to ensure sustained success. Typically, in small to mid-size businesses, this role is undertaken by a Marketing or Sales Manager. Often, larger companies designate someone in their IT department who understands the business. What matters most is that the CRM Champion has a deep understanding of the business problems, and has the opportunity to solve these problems for the entire team by implementing a CRM solution.

This blog originally appeared on the ECi Software Solutions website.

Tolga CanatanTolga Canatan is the VP of Client Services for Lasso CRM. For more than a decade he has been helping buliders and he currently leads a team of Client Directors, Business Analysts, Education Specialists, and Client Support Reps. With a pragmatic understanding of both business and agile software development processes, he also serves as a key liaison between our frontline and software development teams. His thorough detailed approach to understanding user goals helped him build rapport and achieve their primary CRM goals. Tolga holds an engineering degree as well as a diploma in Information Technology Management. As a lifelong learner, he is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP®️), a Scrum Master (CSM), and an active member of the Project Management Institute (PMI), Mass Bay Chapter.

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