The introduction of a CRM is a complex endeavour which requires careful planning. This article presents a roadmap for CRM system implementation and explains who needs to be involved, what needs to be done before the implementation, and what steps the implementation process should include.

The introduction of a CRM system into the existing business context is a significant exercise for an organisation. Four key aspects should be considered, well planned and then executed to guarantee success:

  1. Organisational change should be well understood, planned and communicated to all affected personnel.
  2. Integration of the new component of the IT landscape should be planned and then well orchestrated to ensure seamless interaction with other solutions and systems.
  3. Quite often the organisation has its legacy tools to be replaced by the new CRM system. Data migration and transition of business processes to the new component should be a key element of the project plan.
  4. Well thought out and organised training should be provided to the users of the CRM system.
"People with goals succeed because they know where they're going." - Earl Nightingale

Implementation team structure

A CRM system is a complex component and its implementation should be carried out by a team which includes:

  • Business stakeholders with the knowledge of business needs and the existing processes;
  • Specialists able to customise out-of-the-box features to adjust the component to the business requirements;
  • Technical infrastructure personnel responsible for installation of the software package and its configuration within the organisational IT environment;
  • Project manager leading the implementation project and ensuring that all tasks are executed in the planned sequence.

Business as usual

The key steps before planning the implementation approach are:

  • State the business need
  • Describe the existing business processes
  • Describe step-by-step activities of the personnel within the identified business processes
  • Describe information captured and used in the identified activities
  • Capture rules governing data processing and workflows between the staff
  • Capture statuses of documents and activities throughout their lifecycles
  • Evaluate performance of the activities and their bottlenecks. Think of how the business processes could be streamlined to increase their performance. Make a decision about the processes which will stay manual
  • Document what tools are currently used to execute the business process
  • Think about transition requirements aimed to reduce impact on the business

These steps are the foundation for further steps.

Core elements to deploy

Once the previous step is complete, it’s time to allocate business processes to the business lifecycle: pre-sale, quotes, sales, invoicing, and customer support.

The identified activities should be mapped to the CRM components and the available functionality should be compared with the business requirements. The identified gaps should be addressed by means of the customisation process. Customisation can include user interface, workflows, reports and templates.

Focus on understanding the business requirements and reflect these requirements in settings and configuration of the CRM system.


The implementation project goes through five stages:

  1. Explore
  2. Plan
  3. Configure
  4. Train
  5. Deploy

The steps in each phase are presented in the poster:

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The sequence of phases is important to provide an accurately configured CRM component which delivers the expected business value. My practical advice is to focus on understanding the business requirements and reflect these requirements in settings and configuration of the CRM system.


This five step roadmap will help you to communicate with business executives and personnel to get their buy-in and support at each stage of the project. The roadmap takes into consideration the business needs and existing business environment to ensure smooth execution of other phases. Good luck!

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