Applying CRM Best Practices to SharePoint

Written by Ron Charity. Posted in Business Solutions

If you are thinking about deploying CRM solution for your organization, there are many considerations - culture, processes, policies, people, and technology. If you read our latest review of SharePoint CRM by Lookout Software, you understand what it can do for you. SharePoint creates a great, flexible platform for deploying a fully-loaded CRM for your business users.

Here are some points to think about when developing your program:

  • Have a vision and strategy. It is important to have goals you want to accomplish with your CRM program. For example, you could aim to always facilitate and capture a certain set of processes, tasks, and activities throughout a client engagement process using a tool like SharePoint CRM. 
  • Understand the benefits and metrics for success. What specific outcomes are you looking for? Is it consistent engagement methodology across your sales force? Centralized location of all client related information? Better reporting? Improved insight into win/lose ratios? Simplified succession planning? Insight into cost of sales activity management? Decide which benefits are most important to your organization and clearly define the metrics for measuring the success of those benefits.
  • Align your CRM vision with key stakeholders. Once you have a vision and have clearly identified the benefits to be gained, your next task must be alignment of that vision with key stakeholders. As you develop your vision and benefits guidelines, speak with key stakeholders and get their feedback. If you’re not in a position to do so, find an executive-level coach that can help you. What you’re trying to prevent is roadblocks, poor user adoption, and other project-related risks.
  • Assess organizational readiness in your current culture, processes, policies, people, and technology. Meet with key stakeholders and conduct a Risk Workshop to assemble a plan for managing the risks.

Planning Your CRM Program

Planning your CRM program will involve addressing the key areas of the business that may need improving because they could ultimately have an impact on user adoption and the overall success of your CRM. Specifically, your plan must address the following areas:

  • Culture – What specific aspects of your culture will be impacted? What about attitudes and values?
  • Process – Which processes will be impacted? Do any processes need to be created or enforced through education and management? Specifically consider your processes for deciding which leads to pursue, sales calls, collecting information about clients, management reporting, post-sales engagement, data collection, and following up on leads provided by clients.
  • Policies – Which policies are impacted? Do any policies need to be created or enforced through education and management? Specifically consider your policies regarding the handling of client data and your code of ethics regarding what data is captured, stored, and utilized.
  • People – How will you inform people about CRM and incentivize them to adopt it? How will you motivate them to act and measure their adoption? Perhaps the best term from experience is influence. How will you influence culture?

As author Luc de Brabandere explains in his book “The Forgotten Half of Change: Achieving Greater Creativity through Changes in Perception” that change is a two-step process. Step one is realizing the change will help you, and Step two is making the change (in other words- people hate change, so it better be advantageous).

  • Technology – What can you leverage? What must you buy? What best aligns with your process or, better yet, what is configurable enough to fit your process with minimal customizations and cost.

Consider leveraging your existing SharePoint investment as the platform for deploying your chosen CRM product. Take a look at the various CRM vendors that can help with the out-of-the-box solution. Also, consider consulting with industry experts, especially those that have experience not only in SharePoint, but also in specific business processes, who can help you successfully launch your CRM.


Ron Charity
Author: Ron CharityWebsite:
Ron has worked with SharePoint since its Tahoe beginnings and has done a variety of work for clients in different industries and countries. Currently Ron works for a large US bank designing and deploying scalable and versatile SharePoint solutions.

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