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Keeping the Big Picture in Focus

As desirable as the business goals discussed are, before you even think about an investment in a CRM system, you have to think through how you want your organization to change. Putting in an SFDC system without optimizing the sales, marketing, and support business processes means missing a huge opportunity to transform your business. Instead, you need to consider broader organizational, people, and process goals.

Change Management

Like business-level goals, business process changes must be prioritized because you can make only a few real changes during a year’s time. Business process changes have too many organizational repercussions if you overdo them—so don’t try to fix too much at once.

The first step for changing the business process is to perform triage:

  • Which two or three business processes will be replaced or rebuilt2 from the ground up?
  • Which business processes will be modified in small ways?
  • Which business processes (the vast majority) will be kept the same?

The next step is to make sure that the people below you and in different organizations are committed, before you begin, to making improvements to the two or three business processes that will be undergoing major surgery. Passive-aggressive resistance can destroy the chances of success, so deal with the political issues up front!

Next, establish baseline metrics of the business process’s performance in terms of both the things that basically work today (e.g., number of transactions or cost per transaction) and the areas that aren’t working well (e.g., error rate or number of executive escalations). Don’t skimp on these “as-is” metrics, as they become the baseline for your project’s return on investment. If you don’t know how much the broken process is costing your company, you can’t really know if some extra investment is a good business decision. See, your CFO isn’t crazy.3

Next, define achievable and meaningful metrics for how the business process needs to perform. State these “to-be” metrics in terms of both absolutes (e.g., 30 transactions per hour) and percentage improvement (e.g., 50% more transactions with existing staff), as each form dramatizes the required change in a different way.

Setting Metrics of SFDC Success

The metrics of success for your SFDC project will be a mixture of business process improvements and overall business performance. As a member of the executive team, you need to document these goals for the first year of the SFDC project before the project starts—and commit to not changing those goals:

  • Business performance: A list of three to four measurements, such as average deal size, customer retention rate, or cost per order.
  • Business process improvements: A list of perhaps three metrics for business processes that will be upgraded during the year.
  • New capability or system functionality: A short list of big-picture items to be added from a business (not technical) perspective, such as “95% of quotes to be reviewed and generated automatically” or “all orders conform to discounting rules.” Make the criteria as quantitative as possible.

Each of these goals should be envisioned as providing go/no-go criteria for the acceptance of the SFDC system. If the goals aren’t sufficiently clear, change the statement of metrics so they become black and white. Note that some goals may work against each other (high growth versus high profitability, profit of support versus customer satisfaction), so make sure that your goals aren’t self-contradictory.

It’s a best practice for the executive team to also set nongoals: things you want to avoid, as well as things that you acknowledge aren’t economically feasible in the short term. Nongoals will be surprisingly useful to the team—and to you—in project reviews months down the line.

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