There is the common, but false belief
that a successful CRM implementation is complete once users are up
and running and the technology replaces the manual tasks of
tracking prospect/customer information. That is certainly a
milestone, but not the end of the CRM implementation journey.
Invariably, real-world usage leads to requirements not foreseen in
initial CRM planning. Salesforce.com pioneered the
AppExchange™ and solved the challenge of the second
implementation. Thousands of apps, ready with tested business
logic, encompassing millions of lines of code can seamlessly plug
into Salesforce to complete the second implementation. Before the
AppExchange, companies would find themselves with a total
re-engineering effort or CRM failure. Well done Salesforce!
What is the Third Implementation?
Today, the focus now turns to the third implementation; and it
is all about data. Unless specifically addressed, every CRM has a
problem with dirty data. Regular de-duplication is NOT the
solution. De-duplication treats a symptom of the dirty data
disease; it does not cure the disease itself. To cure the
disease, you must stop dirty data from ever getting into the CRM.
Dirty data can enter a CRM via a user, application or the
system. Each source of data needs to be addressed.
Enter the CRM Data-Plan
A CRM Data-Plan is a single-point-of-truth for treating data
across an enterprise. It consists of a robust set of rules that
details standards for treating data. Amazingly, less than 3% of CRM
administrators have a CRM Data-Plan.
The challenge for CRM providers is that they cannot solve the
issue with a one-size-fits-all solution. The business requirements
of some companies call for verbose data, while others may prefer a
high usage of abbreviations.
A good CRM Data-Plan ensures that company names, titles and all
forms of CRM data are normalized to a single standard. With a
systematically applied Data-Plan, gone are the days of searching
for a company in your CRM five different ways. Multiple sales reps
no longer work on the same account listed under several different
company name formats. Marketing has the ability to segment
markets and get a stronger perspective on customers and
prospects. CRM data augmentation is no longer a
nightmare. With a strong CRM Data-Plan, you no longer have to
fear importing new data in your CRM and hearing the word "foobar"
from your CRM administrator. The efficiencies gained are