As I entered a local sandwich shop the other day, I was filled with the anticipation that only an illicit sandwich could bring. My wife insists I eat lunch at home, so I had to sneak to the shop under cover of a feigned haircutting appointment. She would never know. The aroma of freshly baked bread teased my taste buds as I ordered my favorite, very manly sandwich: the “Beef It Up.”
It was a masterpiece of crusty bread, succulent roast beef, aged cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce, mustard, pepper, and pickles. At least, it was supposed to be. The teenager who put it together was obviously new and had assembled it rather haphazardly. No matter; it would still taste the same. As I took my first bite, half the beef fell out the bottom. It landed on my plate, sprinkled with shredded lettuce and a lone pickle. I tucked the meat and lettuce back into the bread, unperturbed by the mishap. I hadn’t had a firm enough grasp on the sandwich; that was all.
I clutched the reconstructed sandwich and made a second attempt to bite into it. Mustard squirted out the sides, oozing between my fingers. At the same time, a tomato slice slipped from between the bread, landing squarely on the lone pickle abandoned on the plate from my first failure to lunch. I was less than amused with my sandwich’s repeated attempts to escape. Wiping mustard from my hands, I began reprimanding the sandwich sternly but desisted when I caught sight of two employees eyeing me warily. Instead, I glared menacingly at the jumbled sandwich ingredients, silently warning them not to try anything else.
I roughly shoved the tomato and pickle back onto the sandwich and bit into it savagely. It was no good. The juice from the tomatoes had seeped into the bread, rendering it soggy and useless. I discarded the soggy bread, gulped down the meat and cheese, and drove home dejectedly, the tangy scent of mustard still on my fingers. My sandwich sucked.
I have visited with many potential clients who have had similar experiences with their software. I ask, “Why are you implementing new CRM software?”
They respond, “MY SOFTWARE SUCKS!”
Upon hearing this, I explain that their problem lies, not in the software, but in its implementation. Just as my sandwich could have been satisfying if assembled correctly, so a client’s software can satisfy their requirements with proper implementation. Once I have directed the conversation to critical success factors of a software implementation, I explain the following list in this order:
1. Executive Support – True executive sponsorship through verbal and written communication with perceived support from the end users.
2. End User Adoption – The use of the software by the end user is the most important factor in any software implementation project.
3. Define Critical Success Factors – Understanding what your organization’s definition of success is will help drive a CRM implementation project.
Think of CRM implementation in terms of assembling a sandwich. Dumping bread, meat, and cheese onto a plate isn’t enough. Performing any of the above steps out of order is like building a sandwich with the meat and cheese on the outside of the bread. Who would buy a sandwich like that? No one. Which would you rather have? A properly assembled hero or a sad, soggy poor boy?
Composing your ingredients in precise order is what makes a perfect sandwich. This simple idea is the difference between delicious and disastrous.