The organizational guide to new CRM

Find your job title and see how you can impact the process

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Table of Contents:


Buying a new CRM is no easy task - trust me, I've been involved in countless decision-making processes over the past 10 years, and this guide unfortunately doesn't cover all the valuable advice and insights out there.

It serves as a guideline for what you should at least consider when you, in your role, become part of the team that is investing in a new CRM.

A common aspect for all of you is that you should begin by asking yourselves the following question: Have I ever been directly involved in successfully implementing a new CRM?

If the answer is "no" all around the table, then you should immediately seek help. It is not a desire to exempt you from the decision or make money from your ignorance, but simply because you are not equipped to ask the right questions.

For one reason alone: you don't know what you don't know.

That being said, it does not mean that you will never end up with a successful CRM implementation - it has certainly happened before. However, the likelihood of ending up with the wrong system is quite high. In the worst case scenario, you might end up purchasing a "safe" system - as the saying goes, no one has ever been fired for buying IBM.

The hierarchical responsibility

Of course, it's not possible to generalize everyone.

While it is important not to generalize all organizations, my experience has shown that there is often a distinction made between CRM systems and crucial systems.

In the battle between a new ERP and a new CRM, the ERP always emerges as the winner! However, the interesting part is that without sales, your business becomes completely irrelevant. Unfortunately, this project is often delegated to a project manager and a sales manager, lacking complete alignment at the top level of the organization.

I don't believe this is intentional, but my guess is that sales is a task delegated to a sales director or sales manager.

The top leadership simply wants to know how much of this or that is being sold, so that we can meet the budget. It is understandable that if we look at the CEO's primary role, they primarily serve a group of directors, a board, and investors. However, the major strategic responsibility also lies with top management:

- What products should we sell?

- Who are our customers?

- Where do we sell our products?

If the above tasks have been delegated to your sales department to figure out, then you have already made the first glaring mistake. In that case, my recommendation would be to seek the assistance of a proficient consulting firm to help devise a new strategy instead.

The interesting thing about this outcome is that without sales, your business becomes completely insignificant. That's why it often happens that this project is delegated to a project manager and a sales manager, lacking complete alignment at the top level of the organization.

I don't believe this is intentional, but my guess is that sales is a task assigned to a sales director or sales manager.

Top management simply wants to know how much of this or that is being sold, so that we can meet the budget. It is understandable that if we look at the CEO's primary role, they primarily serve a group of directors, a board, and investors. However, the major strategic responsibility also lies with top management:

- What products should we sell?

- Who are our customers?

- Where do we sell our products?

If the above tasks have been delegated to your sales department to figure out, then you have already made the first glaring mistake. In that case, my recommendation would be to seek the assistance of a proficient consulting firm to help devise a new strategy instead.

Why is HR not involved in buying a new CRM?

A new CRM system almost always brings about:

• New work processes

• New opportunities

• Altered objectives

• New management tools

It is extremely rare for HR to be included in the project, despite the fact that significant upheavals often occur and there is frequently extensive resistance to change, both among the sales team and in management.

There is nothing wrong with preferring the status quo. It is natural, and resistance to change often stems from a desire to protect the familiar, one's values, or routines. However, even though it is natural, change must occur, and it can be challenging.

At the same time, I often observe that sales leaders need to change their management style. Instead of simply "checking in," sales meetings become a space where ideas are developed, coaching takes place, and processes are followed up on.

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The deal with IT

It is not the IT department that should determine which system sales and potentially marketing should purchase.

I understand that I am venturing into shark-infested waters, but for years I have seen the implementation of commercial systems treated as software development or otherwise attempted to fit into a Microsoft/Salesforce/SAP strategy.

It is perfectly fine if the IT department can provide a comprehensive tool that can keep up with both the outside world and the requirement for efficiency. But that rarely happens, as IT's interests and skills are usually oriented towards risk minimization and security optimization - which is good!

But keeping up with the Martech area is a full-time job and it is completely unreasonable to expect that task to be carried out by IT. At the same time, IT's primary collaborators are IT vendors who primarily rely on selling licenses and consulting hours.

Therefore, it is quite important to make a good agreement with IT about the respective departments' and individuals' authorities, as well as the security requirements that the CRM system must meet.

Needs changes throughout the organization


• The board of directors needs to have assurance that the company is moving in the right direction.

• Shareholders want to know if their investment is driving results, and here, an accurate forecasts play a significant role.

• The management team needs to know whether the strategy is being executed.

• The sales management should be able to present an accurate forecast as it impacts both resource planning and the ability to achieve the strategy.

• Sales representatives want efficient tools that make their daily lives easier and optimize their opportunities to achieve KPIs and earn bonuses.

• And let's not forget about the customers - they want a personalized experience and to know that everyone in the organization is aware of their needs. After all, it's all about Customer Relationship Management.

It's important to uncover how the different layers of the organization have their needs met so that everyone can deliver the expected impact. I'll talk more about the impact in the upcoming sections.

Change Management

There are at least four important tasks in a transformation phase:


Leading a change happens in different ways. Some people need to be pushed, others willingly run, some need to be facilitated, while others need training. Throughout the process, the right support must be provided.

Some people find it extremely difficult to learn new habits, others think the system is foolish or poorly configured, and others are extremely enthusiastic. What they all have in common is the need to be accommodated. In a busy everyday life, it is sometimes easier to just criticize, but that rarely solves the problem. Many times, I have personally hit a wall where a strong culture has hindered rapid changes.

It is often said, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." However, it is important to remember that "Competition eats your company, and the only thing that beats competition is a strong strategy." It is crucial to allocate leadership capacity to handle people in change, and even more important to have the necessary organizational support for the project.



It is incredibly important to allocate leadership capacity to handle individuals going through change, and it is even more crucial to have the necessary organizational support for the project.

Scope creep

The cash register is open, and everyone needs to have their problem solved... has no one ever said...

The budget for a CRM project can quickly get out of hand, and therefore it is the project manager's task to estimate and balance how the budget can be optimally used, while ensuring that the business gets the most bang for its buck and achieves the desired impact.

If vital parts of the project are changed, it can easily go haywire - for example, when integrating systems. It may seem ridiculously expensive, but that's not necessarily the case when considering the impact.

Let's say each salesperson saves an hour a day on creating quotes because they don't have to search through five different systems or find an Excel sheet. That's 200 hours per year per person that can be used to sell more.

I understand that proving these calculations in reality can be difficult, as it may be that the salespeople take more time off, and then the whole thing falls apart - but in theory.

If a salesperson earns £6000 per month, it is approximately £37 per hour excluding social costs.

If you have five salespeople, that's a saving of £37500 per year. You can definitely get some integration for that.

So when scoping the project, it's important to take the time to create a solid business case. Something that few people actually do.

What the CEO should know

Your Responsibility

Yes, it is your responsibility because it is your business - not necessarily that you own it, but because you bear the overall responsibility.

A CRM system is the core of your business, regardless of whether you sell wind turbines, hydrogen plants, or consultancy services, because your customers are your ticket to play.

Without customers, you have no business.

Without products, you have no business.

Without cash flow, you have no business.

The essence of the business is your relationship with your customers, and it should be the CEO's primary task to ensure that your customers are loyal and love doing business with you.

"But I have a sales director who takes care of that," you may argue. No, I disagree.

Alongside the sales director, you and the rest of the management team have many important tasks, and of course, you don't need to know what each and every customer has purchased. But you should know why they buy, what they think of your service, who the competitors are, and how they operate in the market.

Because I can guarantee you that your competitors are not sleeping, and they spend all their time figuring out how they can steal... your customers.

Well, yes, and your skilled employees and maybe your trade secrets. But most of all, your customers. And the only place you can get a proper overview is in your CRM.

Your Expectations for Impact

If I were the CEO of a large organization and I had a meeting with potential new investors, I would like to be able to show them a dashboard with an accurate forecast for the next 3, 6, and 12 months.

I would like to show them a Net Promoter Score (NPS) as it tells a lot about your customers' level of loyalty.

Furthermore, I would like to know how many deals we lose because we are more expensive than the competitors, or because we don't have the right products on the shelves, or because we have terrible reviews.

Because potential investors already know a lot about these things if they have done their homework. They want to know if you have control of your business.

Therefore, your expectations for impact should be that you can:

• Get accurate figures at an overall level - pipeline size, churn rate, win rate segmented by segments, demographics, etc.

• Know how you perform compared to your competitors

• Know what your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and Life Time Value (LTV) are at any given time.

• Know what the expectations for your delivery apparatus are, whether you make drilling platforms or aircraft components.

• See how you meet the KPIs stated in your strategy. Your engagement in the project You should be on the committee overseeing the project, and at a minimum, your project manager should be able to report on:

How the project meets the impact KPIs you have set - increased efficiency, increased customer satisfaction, reduced churn, etc. • How they plan to involve users in the project

How the budget is progressing

How the system can evolve as you develop (and here, you can't plan too much more than 1-2 years ahead)

How the system fits into the rest of your tool stack

How security remains high

How your employees should be trained

How you contribute to a successful implementation process

Your role is extremely important as everyone "borrows" a bit of your organizational power.

A CRM system is an important and prioritized system that is the core of your business. If it becomes unimportant or if you avoid participating, why should others prioritize it?

The impact you agree on at the beginning must be achieved and preferably exceeded, and the responsibility lies on many shoulders, but ultimately on yours.

I'm not saying this to put additional pressure on your job, but I have seen countless examples of poorly implemented systems because the leadership didn't care.

Be present, try to listen to the expectations of your customers, understand your employees' struggles in making things work. Be part of the kick-off and feel free to demand that your colleagues in leadership be curious and interested. Everyone with commercial interests - that is, everyone in your organization who speaks with customers or interacts with them in any way - has a stake in a CRM.

It's NOT just for sales...

What the Sales Director must know

Your Responsibility

As the sales organization is your domain, a new CRM automatically lands on your plate. A sales director who doesn't care about their CRM is like a pilot who doesn't care if the tank is filled up. You'll crash...

Choosing the right CRM is undoubtedly a huge task, and if you haven't successfully implemented a CRM before or it has been a long time since you last did it, it's important to acknowledge that you don't know what you don't know. For example, platforms have drastically changed in terms of efficiency and insights.

Today, we can receive notifications about almost everything, and it has become incredibly easy to engage with customers. On the other hand, most customers are fed up with talking to salespeople. So now you have a potential problem, but also a potential paradigm shift.

With a new CRM and the new tools, you have the opportunity to lead your department in a different way. It's not new that salespeople need to call customers, hold meetings, write emails, and send proposals. But instead of having sales meetings about how things are going, sales meetings can be used to coach sales managers and representatives.

At an aggregated level, you need to know what's happening - whether your key customers are being prioritized, if you have the right competencies in the sales department, and if you're meeting your goals. Hopefully, this is not new, but the depth of information will be present.

Your expectations for impact

Your impact is to execute the strategy in the commercial areas:

Deliver revenue and profit in line with the budget

Penetrate the agreed-upon new markets, whether it's segments or geographies

Be able to provide accurate key performance indicators for production/delivery so you can deliver according to what has been promised or the service level agreement

Expand your relationships with partners and distributors

Maintain and expand relationships with important stakeholders at customer sites

Minimize the risk of churn

Find new business opportunities

Increase profitability by being more efficient

For example, as a sales director, I would like to know at any given time how the account development plans for our key customers are being executed.

And at a minimum, have an accurate forecast in weighted value that I can present to my colleagues on the board.

And I would like to know at any given time who is performing in my organization.

Your involvement in the project

Just as it is important for your CEO to be interested and engaged, your role is also crucial. You need to understand why you have the specific requirements for the system and you must know how your implementation team will be prepared for the task.

Ultimately, it is your salespeople who will be using the system in their everyday work, and this can be challenging because sales is difficult. The more complex your product is, the more complex the buyer group, and the longer the buying process.

A few of the pitfalls I often see when it comes to specification are:

- You may have seen a great demo but forget the details - how will your CRM actually look the same way?

- It's like wanting to buy a new Mercedes C-Class and the dealer takes you for a ride in the big AMG S63... It's super cool to drive an AMG, but it has nothing to do with the C-Class, except for the 4 wheels and a star. (Sorry, I love cars...)

- You want everything all at once.

- You want to future-proof yourself far into the future.

- Salespeople preferably should not change their behavior.

- It should not become harder for the salespeople, and you don't think they can handle more than they already do.

- You forget change management in your budget.

How you contribute to a successful implementation process

You need to allocate time to become knowledgeable about CRM systems in 2024 - who dominates the market and which systems are investing the most resources in expanding their platform? There is incredible progress happening in this area, and the systems that were dominant just 4-5 years ago have been surpassed.

Here's a pro-tip: Consider strongly avoiding asking on LinkedIn about which system to buy. You'll get a lot of answers that you probably won't find useful. Instead, join different groups with like-minded individuals and research the pros and cons.

Furthermore, you should consider the type of company you are and how your sales department is structured. Is there an opportunity to shake things up? For example, there may be divisions that no longer make sense. It will become very clear who is performing and who is not.

You need to choose a skilled project manager to lead the project, and you should choose to be part of the steering group.

You are the sponsor in the organization that the project relies on. You should also be the one fighting the battles at the management level.

Your project manager does not have the authority to, for example, fight with finance, procurement, IT, and anyone else who wants to have a say in the decision.

What the it-manager should know

The role of the IT department in the procurement of commercial platforms can vary greatly.

Some IT departments have their own developers and are generally well-versed in Martech developments, while others primarily have a sys-admin role focused on security and maintenance. It is important not to confuse the procurement of commercial systems with IT operations, which is a common misconception.

My point is that commercial systems and their utilization are just as crucial for competition as product development. If your competitors are quick off the mark, your company needs to be equally dynamic and forward-thinking.

It is important to clarify with the rest of the organization what your mandate and role are in the project. I often see IT departments becoming more of a challenger than a collaborator, as the procurement of IT and software typically falls under their jurisdiction. However, existing systems or those provided by IT service providers often cannot meet the needs of sales and marketing.

For example, neither Salesforce nor Microsoft provide a platform that can handle social media interactions. (Yes, I am aware that Salesforce has Social Studio, but it will be discontinued in November 2024, so it doesn't count...)

When it comes to CRM systems, the picture becomes somewhat diverse. Many IT departments prefer a platform strategy where they are familiar with the user interface and can develop what they desire. Now, it's no secret that I am a HubSpot partner, so we often encounter existing infrastructure conflicts. There is a huge difference between purchasing a platform like HubSpot and developing a system based on Microsoft or Salesforce or other solutions. My recommendation is to be curious.

Your engagement in the project

As the person responsible for IT, it is important to clarify early on in the project what role you will play. Are you primarily responsible for the project and selecting the solution? Is it a collaboration with other departments, or do you have a secondary role in ensuring that the system primarily meets security requirements?

Furthermore, it is important to be completely clear about the resources you have available. Decisions need to be made continuously, and access to various systems - email, calendar, meeting platforms, domains, etc. - must be granted.

How you contribute to a successful implementation process

First and foremost, understand the business value that you will bring along with the rest of the organization. Sales and marketing often have urgent needs that require solutions as soon as possible, preferably with newer and smarter approaches.

With SaaS platforms and cloud solutions, possibilities are evolving rapidly. In 2011, there were approximately 150 recognized platforms within sales/marketing - by 2023, there will be over 11,000!!

Depending on your skills, you need to contribute to making your commercial departments as agile and well-oiled as possible. If you have deep expertise in business development, bring it to the table.

If your primary role is managing servers and maintaining business applications, stick to that. Avoid building something yourself. You cannot continue delivering in the long run, and you make your company vulnerable.

What the Project Manager must know

Welcome to one of the wildest projects - a CRM project. You should know that it has the potential to be a huge disaster, as anything can go wrong. You could choose the wrong system, get run over by different managers, new managers may come in and change the agenda, you could end up working with incompetent consultants who sound knowledgeable but are actually terrible - in short, it's a fantastic project with all the challenges it entails!

Before you say yes to the task, make sure that there is management support for the project. You need a director/CEO/CSO, or someone with enough power, to back you up and legitimize the project. If you're mostly on your own and no one thinks it's particularly important, then it probably isn't, and you should do as Snoop Dogg says - Drop it like it's hot... I'm sorry to say, but it will be a lousy project.

However, if you do have support from management, everything will be fine.

In fact, this whole guide is primarily designed to help you establish roles and responsibilities. So I hope you've reached that point.

What your plan might look like:


Create what we call a supervisory committee consisting of all the stakeholders who have a say and decision-making power in the project. You need to have a complete understanding of the following for each stakeholder:

Who are they?

What is their interest in the project?

What are their goals for the project?

What impact do they expect when CRM is implemented?


Project lead (yourself) - responsible for driving the project forward

Sales enablement lead - responsible for incorporating sales processes and structures into the project

Technology specialist/IT lead - responsible for ensuring the technical aspects of the implementation are smooth, including DNS, access, security requirements, email integrations, calendar systems, web, login, etc.

Support specialist - the one who can make the structure run smoothly and set everything up.


Identify who has influence and who needs to be consulted and informed. For this purpose, I recommend what we call a "responsibility matrix".

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Ensure that you have a good understanding of GDPR and other regulations that may impact the project.


Assemble a pilot group of salespeople who will continuously test the system. Their input is crucial, as they will provide important observations throughout the project.


Create a comprehensive scope. What needs to be done and what should be excluded? Keep in mind that you can't know everything in advance. Therefore, it's essential to understand what is possible and what is not in the given CRM system. It is particularly important to know what functionalities are available out of the box and what may require integrations.


Break down the project into tasks, each with a responsible person and a deadline.


Conduct a risk assessment to identify potential issues, including deadlines, resources, support, and competencies.


Develop a communication plan, outlining what needs to be communicated, to whom, and when.


Create a realistic and comprehensive timeline for the project.


Prepare a playbook detailing what needs to be trained and how.


Establish a robust reporting framework to document the agreed-upon impact with key stakeholders.


Set a period for project evaluation, identifying what is going well and what challenges need to be addressed.


Create a problem matrix to address any issues that arise. Problems can be related to leadership, systems, competencies, or processes.

How You Contribute to a Successful Implementation Process

Ensure that the project is well-defined and that everyone agrees on its impact. It is also crucial to have strong support from senior management. Lastly, don't hesitate to seek advice from knowledgeable individuals.

What the Marketing Manager should know

If you haven't been invited into the project, then there is something fundamentally wrong with your organization. A new CRM is closely tied to the customer's commercial journey through your business. Lead generation can easily happen without marketing being on board.

Sales can also happen without marketing being involved. But if the customer is to have a good experience, it should not be random who influences them, and it doesn't work if there is absolutely no handover between marketing and sales.

Now, it must be mentioned that you may have good reasons for being organized the way you are... I obviously can't know that, but I can see a big difference in companies where sales and marketing work closely and well together and the opposite. So let's assume that you work well together in your company.

Your engagement in the project

It is quite important to have a handle on ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) and Buyer Personas.

Now, there are different opinions on how these two concepts should be understood and their value - so let me get straight to the point:

• ICP - Which companies are the right match for you in terms of different parameters?

• Buyer personas - who in the customer's organization participates in the buying group and what buying patterns do they have?

It doesn't matter at all what they are called, how old they are, or if they play golf.

What tasks do they have on their plate every day that you can help solve?

Next, it is important to have a clear agreement with sales on how you manage life cycle stages for leads.

Sales are immediately responsible for closing the sale, while marketing is responsible for preparing customers for a dialogue. But how do you ensure that there is a handover and that you can keep track of where the customer is in the buying process?

You can consider creating an SLA between sales and marketing that describes how marketing hands over leads, and how sales receives them.

As a specialist in marketing tactics, it is important that you provide input on what information about leads you can provide from marketing that salespeople can use for something meaningful. For example, I, as a salesperson, would appreciate information about the customer's previous buying journey in the digital system - interaction with the website, campaigns, webinars, etc.

How you contribute to a successful implementation process

Marketing is often ahead in terms of digital platforms and how they can be utilized. It is not always the case that the sales department is well-versed in tactics and tools, and that's where you can contribute your expertise. Additionally, it is also important that you collaborate on describing how sales can positively influence the buying center through content, campaigns, consistency, and design.

In most CRM systems, you can often design email templates and automate communication - sales rarely have experience with this, and there are points to be gained by creating part of the communication package for salespeople...

What you as a Member of the Board should know

As deeply involved in strategic decision-making, a CRM is one of those decisions. A well-implemented CRM can provide you with insight into the state of affairs on a daily basis.

Of course, it is not the board's normal role to have a daily overview, but typically, the management spends a lot of time gathering information - such as an accurate forecast for the next 3 months - a report that should be available at any time and not something that should be prepared.

A forecast should naturally be a solid estimate of the amount of revenue/profit the company can expect within a manageable time frame. Solid in the sense that salespeople can identify potential buying customers, where they are in the process, and the likelihood of closing the deal.

This has a significant impact on the decisions that the board must be involved in regarding production, inventory management, financing, funding, etc.

If a company plans to expand globally and wants to do so by either taking out loans or attracting new investors, it is now a premise that the company is digitized to a degree that makes the management's presentation credible.

Let's take a look at areas where investors often seek information:

Market opportunities - where will the revenue/profit come from?

Revenue model - how do we make money?

Existing customer base - how loyal are existing customers?

The company's competitive advantage over competitors - which deals do we lose/win and why?

Growth metrics - Monthly Recurring Revenue, Customer Acquisition Cost, Lifetime Value - derived from the deal's value.

Customer retention - which customers churn and why?

Scalability - can we sell more/different products to existing customers?

Account development - how do we develop the collaboration with existing customers?

Team composition - how do we ensure that everyone performs?

All of these points should be deducible from a good CRM...

Your engagement in the project

Your and the board's engagement in the project is 100% dependent on your group's skills.

I have held numerous lectures and workshops for boards over the years, and what I rarely see is the board being equipped to advise on a new CRM.

Many board members have a background in sales or related fields. But if you have been away from commercial digitization processes for 2-3 years, you are falling behind.

Sales has both not changed and completely changed in recent years. The fundamental principles of doing business with people we trust still apply. But the way we educate ourselves as customers, interact with digital assets such as content, webinars, podcasts, and other tools, has completely changed the game.

There is nothing wrong with seeking advice from specialists. When evaluating specialists, it is very important that their contribution supports the company's goals.

What would I like to know about potential specialists who will advise the company and the board?

Experience and expertise



Track record from similar industries or organizations

Communication skills

Problem-solving skills

Change management experience

Alignment of values.

How you contribute to a successful implementation process

Find out how best to support the company in its mission and goals.

I have previously written, "no one has been fired for buying IBM," which means that just because it is well-known and big, it is not necessarily the right system.

You must ensure that the company does not buy the fancy presentation but buys a feasible project, and the best thing is that you contribute to supporting the management.

In the best projects I have run, there has been what we call a clear line of sight between the company's strategic commercial efforts and the expected impact of CRM implementation.

This should be understood in a way that if the goal has been greater customer retention, we have measured the effort related to customer loyalty.

If the goal has been a larger basket size for A-customers, we have measured the sales efforts on A-customers compared to the deal size. So there are plenty of opportunities to have specific goals for the implementation, and it is one of your tasks to be both ambitious and realistic.

Enjoy your new CRM!

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