For each business requirement that a CRM system can be configured or customized to address, there is often a decision as to whether the requirement should be delivered tactically or as part of a broader CRM strategy.
In our opinion, a CRM strategy should be developed before a CRM subscription even begins. Once the subscription has started, there should be an ongoing commitment to a strategic approach to decisions as to what functionality to deliver to users.
Tactical Delivery = Less Expensive in the Short Run, Less Effective in the Long Run
Strategy Based Delivery = More Expensive in the Short Run, More Effective in the Long Run
In some cases, taking a tactical approach to delivering on a business requirement seems like it’s the only option. The budget simply isn’t there to support a strategic approach.
However, a tactical approach to a given deliverable often results in lower user adoption of new functionality than would be the case if a strategic approach was taken. If the budget is not available for taking a strategic approach, it should be questioned whether the new functionality should be introduced at all. Why invest in creating functionality that will be under-adopted or not adopted at all by end users? Why invest in functionality that will only produce clutter?
Examples of CRM Strategy vs. CRM Tactics
Taking the strategic path involves fully analyzing the business need, obtaining end user input and possibly weighing the pros and cons two or more delivery alternatives.
Tactic: Add a series of flat fields to an entity/object/table to capture more data points.
Strategy: Question why certain types of information need to be captured. Determine the reports that should be generated. Consider using a related entity/object/table to manage the new data capture requirements adding a set of new fields.
Tactic: Import poorly formatted data. Worry about cleaning records, deleting bad records and merging duplicates later.
Strategy: Determine the criteria for what data should end up in the CRM system. Cleanse the data source(s). De-duplicate the data against existing records before or during the import.
Tactic: Rely on the default user interface for functionality that requires navigating across multiple objects/entities/tables.
Strategy: Determine whether data entry requires users to spend too much time navigating from parent to child and back to parent objects/entities/tables. Consider creating a custom page that allows for inline record creation and editing when multiple levels are involved.
Tactic: Rely on users to manually add series of tasks that are common to a process such as new client onboarding
Strategy: Define key tasks, timing and responsibilities for a process such as new client onboarding. Create automation that will auto-populate a list with a set of tasks that are common to a specific business process. Develop rules that determine what happens when dates are missed.
Tactic: Purchase a third party application that turns out to be only a partial solution to a set of business requirements.
Strategy: Determine whether a third party app will address the requirement sufficiently. If necessary, develop the solution from the ground up using the CRM system’s development tools. Get a more complete solution and avoid an additional subscription cost.
The financial decision maker should be presented with the value of taking a strategic approach to certain CRM enhancements. For this to happen, stakeholders need to themselves be convinced of the value of an ongoing CRM strategy compared to a series of tactics.