A STORY OF ONE GLOBAL CRM
How does a global consulting firm transition from multiple CRMs to a single source of truth?
We helped stand up their first usage of salesforce.com for two of their largest divisions, leveraging a single instance, combined best practices and processes so Marketing could support the growth of the business.
The leadership of one of the world’s largest technology and consulting firms was at a crossroads. A few years previously they had decided that one global CRM system was a necessity, and subsequently built an inhouse custom platform.
The business case remained solid; however, user adoption was poor, functionality limited. The platform simply did not meet the user requirements and wasn’t sophisticated to handle the dynamic needs of each growing business unit.
Many business units were revolting and starting to implement systems that met their short-term needs which led to challenges from spamming, duplication and data security issues.
An urgent solution was required to address the rising unrest.
This was a massive shift for any organization to consider, let alone one of the world’s largest technology & consulting firms on an upward growth trajectory with many stakeholders, viewpoints, and internal politics.
They needed clarity on whether to further invest in the customized solution or move to external software product. They also wanted to ensure they learnt from the past mistakes of implantation and roll out.
To do that, they appointed ELEVATE as true end to end partners. A team capable of delivering clear insight, uncovering the commercial positives & negatives and the ability to bring a strategy to life that would meet the demands of the business.
How do you rapidly evaluate a sub-standard in-house platform to a best-in-class CRM system?
There was opportunity at numerous levels to realize the company’s vision of having one view of the customer.
A business case was needed to stay or move away from the home-grown strategy, by outlining the investment, timescales, risks, and opportunity costs of standing up one CRM for the business. The in-house platform, needed to be evaluated and compared against best-in-class industry alternatives, and model the business impact of the different alternatives whilst addressing the short-term needs of each business unit.
The objective was clear, they needed a robust and flexible CRM platform to fuel their growth, build trust with internal stakeholders & business leaders and ensure that marketing could be executed in an industrialized manner, globally with only one source of the truth.
We started by blending qualitative & quantitative research into marketing & sales needs and desired experiences to deliver a rigorous analysis of the user requirements and the commercial cost both short and long term.
A Tiger Team was created, as specialized cross-functional team comprising of senior-level subject-matter experts in sales, marketing, demand generation, legal and technology to look at each of the business needs and determine what was the best-in-class solutions were and what would it require for the existing platform to compete. This was also combined with gaining a deep understanding of what impacted user adoptions and acceptance of one global platform.
Evaluation of the in-house platform, compared against best-in-class industry alternatives quickly uncovered that the existing platform would never provide the functionality or continuous improvements that were necessary even if the economic factors were not considered.
Based on the facts presented, Salesforce.com was selected as the best-in-class solution and it was determined that a phased approach be taken by business unit. The largest business was chosen to be the foundational platform, followed by the most complex business group. These instances would then become the blueprint for the global system.
Pre-Implementation Consultation – Head Start Session
Prior to any system development or implementation process, ELEVATE met with key stakeholders, executive sponsors, and business users of the existing in-house CRM to understand their usage and needs, and how the system must support these different individuals in their daily roles.
A succession of in-depth discussions with the executive sponsor of the system and key stakeholders to understand the needs of the business, destination X and future state requirements.
A development and migration plan that minimized downtime was constructed so that business-as-usual would be minimally impacted.
Leveraging our commercial awareness, we carefully evaluated the business situation considering their current business needs to build a solution that would provide them with a platform that best supported their business case while saving on cost.
A business analysis demonstrated how the financial benefits of migrating to the salesforce platform would outweigh the high cost of building upon the existing inhouse tool with all its complexities that inhibited the necessary users from utilizing the tool.
A prototype was built that included the set-up of processes and custom objects. It was aligned to the business strategy, as was the data, and the governance that was set up around the data. The proper training was developed, and the platform was managed to be kept up to date and continually aligned to the business.
Several processes required reengineering to ensure that the business units were aligned and that they could all get on board and migrate away from SMT at the appropriate time.
Data Audit & Governance
Before commencing with system development or data preparation for the migration, ELEVATE conducted a data audit and “health check” using our Strategic Data Audit methodology to evaluate the existing data in the system and in any other data repositories. This audit highlighted inconsistencies and gaps in the data as well as the ways in which different fields and data points are currently being used by the team.
Simultaneously, we reviewed current record ownership and developed a Data Governance framework, to ensure clear ownership of accounts and contacts, including who had permission to communicate and who was responsible for staying on top of changes. This was developed, and battle-tested with both sales and marketing stakeholders to ensure simplicity, scalability, and functionality.
Configuration of the Standard Application and Customization to the Exact Business Needs and Futureproof Requirements
Following the pre-implementation consultancy stage, and with the critical knowledge gained from stakeholder conversations and from the data audit, ELEVATE designed the blueprint and customized the standard application from its out-of-box state to the client’s exact needs. We leveraged our two decades experience working with Sales and Marketing teams to ensure the go-to-market approach could be replicated through the CRM workflows
Set up of Roles, Profiles and Data Hierarchies
A key concern for our Executive Sponsor was to control through Salesforce data hierarchies who could see and communicate with certain contacts. Given their highly complex sales structure, and sensitive multi-million-dollar client relationships, getting this wrong could have catastrophic impacts.
Utilizing ELEVATE’s CRM Consulting framework, we consulted with the Project Co-ordinator and Executive Sponsor to understand and configure the various hierarchies of the different users and profiles.
Data Preparation, Manipulation and Mapping
The most critical element of a successful CRM system implementation and the optimum use of such a system depends on the health, completeness, and correct mapping of the data.
Using ELEVATE’s knowledge of their business, and experience in corporate global structures, we were able to swiftly prepare the account, contact, campaign data prior to migration to the new system, manipulating and correctly formatting it, and ensuring that every field maps correctly from the old home-grown system to the new one.
The data migration didn’t just need to minimize downtime for the business-as-usual, it also needed to adhere to complex data processing guidelines in multiple geographic markets with multiple languages. Serving a global operation, meant the migration needed to be well planned, and flawlessly executed.
User Training & Documentation
Once the system build was complete and the data correctly and completely migrated, user guidelines, process workflows and cheat sheets were documented for use both in the initial training stages and for ongoing user training and reference during their daily roles.
ELEVATE then led business & super administration users through in-person, scenario based, interactive training sessions across 3 continents: North America, Europe, and Asia. A training schedule was developed, and sessions were conducted, as different teams were onboarded which made for a seamless rollout. Post launch, a helpdesk was established to support users with hands-on real-time support with their day-to-day CRM activities for the first 6 months.
To avoid rogue customization, ELEVATE recommended and hosted a steering committee to be established to include key business stakeholders, marketing leaders and power users, with the objective to protect the investment in the technology and data, so technology decisions align to current and future business strategy.
A global-ready CRM platform was seamlessly developed and integrated into the martech stack, eliminating the previous homemade platform. Some parts of the system were built in local language – made possible by ELEVATE’s multi-cultural capabilities.
The firm experienced no down time to the business and benefited directly from 20,000 contact and 1000 company records being migrated and thousands of out-of-date records being archived.
“Standing up a new CRM system can be an overwhelming exercise, not just for the teams involved, but for the wider organization. With the strong business insights capabilities of ELEVATE, our leadership team experienced absolute confidence in the process every step of the way, and we are even more pleased to benefit from the business impact of this investment.” – CMO, Global Technology Firm
The project ran without any disruption to the day-to-day business. The instance of Salesforce became the blueprint for a global replication able to be used by all marketing divisions and sales teams.
The CRM enabled the divisional marketing team to be able to execute highly segmented and personalized email campaigns to all their key ABM targets, without overwhelming the customers with multiple emails in a week/day.
The marketing and sales team were able to gain a 360 view of the customer, the recent marketing interactions, and upcoming plans through an integrated campaign calendar.
Marketing was unified on the same instance as their sales team for the first time in their company history – leading to greater visibility, collaboration, and trust between the two functional teams. All of which led to increased customer experience of the clients receiving marketing content, contributing to continued revenue growth over the next few years.
As a result of the successful migration, Marketing was able to gain visibility of their campaign results, and demonstrate this impact to the Division’s leadership, in turn securing a larger marketing budget to scale in subsequent fiscal years.