Gill Walker – CRM Success Catalyst, Speaker, Educator, D365 Project Manager, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Functional Consultant, Solution Architect, Advisor, Trainer, MCT, MVP, DTM


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CRM Success is an art - says Gill Walker

The Art of Leading CRM Success - Strategies and Best Practices

In the fast-paced and competitive business landscape, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has become a cornerstone for any organisation striving to build lasting relationships with their customers. True CRM gives you an all-round picture of the entire relationship from prospect to customer to raving advocate, including information from marketing, sales, customer service, including their interactions in all of these areas. It also provides automation, to make your team members’ life easier, and reporting across all of the above so you can track progress and your successes.

true CRM

Successfully implementing and leading CRM initiatives requires a strategic approach and adherence to best practices. It should never be seen as project that can be delegated down to your IT department, handed off to external supplier or managed entirely by the business people of your organisation.

Before delving into strategies and best practices, it's essential to have a clear understanding of the business value that CRM offers. At its core, CRM is not just a technology solution; it's a comprehensive business strategy that revolves around managing interactions with customers, understanding their needs, and fostering long-term relationships – before, during and after the sale.

Strategies for CRM Success

The are four cornerstones of your successful CRM strategy:

  1. Define Clear Objectives
  2. Customer-Centric Culture
  3. Invest in Training
  4. Integration with Existing Systems

goals dart cr 700x150 

Define Clear Objectives

Begin by establishing clear and measurable objectives for your CRM project. Whether it's improving customer satisfaction, increasing sales, or enhancing marketing effectiveness, having well-defined goals will guide your CRM strategy and ensure alignment with overall business objectives. Establishing these project KPIs should be the first step of the scoping of your CRM project.

Customer-Centric Culture

Successful CRM implementation often requires a shift towards a customer-centric culture within the organisation. This involves fostering a mindset where every team member understands the importance of customer satisfaction and actively contributes to building positive customer experiences with the organisation as a whole. This usually requires sharing of data and a shift away from “Me, myself and I” to working as team in service of the customer.  It may also require modifying remuneration so there is more co-operation.

Customer Centric cr

The processes that you implement should emphasise working as team including how the customer data is managed and used. This does not mean a free-for-all. How your data is used and managed should be done from customer-first perspective, rather than a user-first perspective

Invest in Training

The effectiveness of any CRM system depends on how well your team can take advantage of the functionality that has been deployed. The biggest contributor to project failure or even project dissatisfaction is when users fail to adopt the solution. When we look at a project where user adoption is not as great as was hoped, there is nearly always a training issue.

training in CRM SuccessA summary of how inadequate leads to a failure in user adoption

End-user training is undoubtedly important. However, it is not the only training that should be considered. If the solution is to deliver on the goals set at the outset, it is highly likely that you will need to train your testers, your trainers and probably some of your technical team. While these do add a cost to the project, training is nearly always cheaper than cleaning up the mess that results from omitting the training!

Integration with Existing Systems

To maximize the value of your CRM, integrate it seamlessly with other existing business systems. Whether it's integrating with your marketing automation, ERP, a website or other tools, a well-connected ecosystem ensures a holistic view of customer interactions and data across the organisation.


Successful CRM aims for the WORM - write once, read many - paradigm


Best Practices for CRM Leadership

The four cornerstones of successful CRM leadership are:

  1. Executive Sponsorship
  2. Data Quality Management
  3. Performance Monitoring
  4. Agile Adaptation

Executive Sponsorship

Effective CRM leadership begins at the top. A strong executive sponsorship ensures that the CRM initiative is prioritised, adequately resourced, and aligned with the organisation's strategic goals. Your CRM Leaders must set an example and actively champion the CRM implementation, emphasising its significance to the entire team.

Data Quality Management

Accurate and up-to-date data is the lifeblood of any CRM system. Users must trust that the data that they are using is correct. Establishing robust data quality management practices, including dashboards to highlight data weaknesses, regular data audits, cleansing, and validation, is critical for maintaining the integrity of customer information and ensuring the success of your CRM initiative. Data Management needs to be the responsibility of the entire organisation.
Performance Monitoring

Agile Adaptation

The business landscape is dynamic, and customer expectations evolve - sometimes very quickly. Effective CRM leadership involves staying agile and adapting strategies to meet changing customer needs and market trends. Regularly review and update your CRM strategy to remain responsive and relevant.

However, implementing the solution using "agile" is not the complete solution. When I am asked whether a client should use an agile approach or a waterfall approach for a project, my answer will be "it depends". What is important that each release to users provides value.


Leading CRM success is indeed an art, requiring a strategic mindset, dedication to customer-centricity, and adherence to best practices. By defining clear objectives, fostering a customer-centric culture, investing in training, integrating systems to minimise data entry, and implementing best practices in leadership, organisations can unlock the full potential of their CRM initiatives, building lasting and profitable relationships with their customers. Tools, tips and techniques to help you achieve CRM Success are the subject of our masterclass “Five Must-have Tools for Leading CRM Success - a one-day masterclass

Gill Walker's showreel QR code

Opsis is an expert Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Power Platform and CRM strategy consulting company. Our focus is your CRM success, with Microsoft Dynamics 365 / Microsoft Power Platform or any CRM technology - not licence sales or billable hours. As Principal CRM Success Catalyst, Gill oversees all business operations, strategic planning and execution, yet she still believes in offering personal attention to each and every client, so as to understand their needs and offer tailored solutions.  We are based in Sydney, with clients in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and across Australia.  Gill is the creator of SuccessRM - your blueprint for CRM success.  We offer:

  • Strategy for your successful CRM
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform
    • scoping
    • implementation
    • technical support
    • training
    • consulting, advice and guidance
    • assistance with your centre of excellence
  • Mentoring for CIOs and other decision makers tasked with implementing CRM.