CRM initiative shows there's no lasting change without buy-in

CRM initiative shows there's no lasting change without buy-in

Projects that sail along smoothly, with no resistance, are great. But it's the ones that throw lots of roadblocks in our way that end up teaching us things.

I prepared my material, scheduled the meeting and informed everyone that I would identify the pros and cons of CRM programs. In an effort to ensure attendance, I said that each manager would be expected to tell me what they thought CRM would mean for their part of the IT organization ? in other words, they would be asked to vote.

At the meeting, I began by saying that, whether we had a CRM program or not, we should view our IT service organization as a business and ourselves as its owners. While IT wasn't itself a profit center, the decisions we took affected the costs of our clients on the business side. We had to seriously consider that our clients viewed outside IT service firms as our competition.

"So, CRM will help us prove we're the best alternative?" one manager asked.

"It will," I said, "but I don't expect you to take my word for it. Let me show you instead." I then laid out what defined us now, as an IT service organization with no CRM program in place:

1. We don't have any formal marketing sense about our clients.

2. We don't know what services they use, what they're happy and unhappy with, what their measures of success are, what their billings are, who the IT decision-makers are, what their IT usage profile is (by line of business) or what our role is or is supposed to be in supporting their success and managing their risk.

3. Clients and even other parts of IT service don't know how to best obtain our services.

4. We don't have any repeatable way to make sure we have the resources needed and in place to honor every commitment we make. We tend to promise things and then try to figure out what's required later.

5. We don't have any cross-functional management or coordination capability – we react.

6. We lack a consistent notion of how to create and add value to each business we serve.

7. We don't manage the expectations of our clients with a comprehensive description of our services.

8. We don't appropriately capture revenue for all services, and our billing can be unpredictable.

9. We sometimes blame other parts of our own organization for a missed commitment, giving clients the impression that IT is a dysfunctional organization.

10. We don't share our direction and strategy with our clients or seek feedback on how we could be more responsive.

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