How to assemble a CRM implementation team

Written by
Neal Venter

CRM implementation is a team effort and having the right people around you is essential if you want your implementation project to be a success. Your CRM implementation team will consist of a variety of people with different skill sets. However, there are two main teams that need to be in place:

  • The implementation team is directly working on the CRM implementation.
  • A supervisory committee consisting of all decision-making stakeholders.

These two teams will be directly involved in the planning and the overview of the implementation project. It’s important for them to be kept in the loop of the progress, challenges, and opportunities during the implementation of the CRM.

CRM Implementation team

The CRM implementation team is responsible for specific tasks. Some of these tasks may overlap with the supervisory committee. Five key roles need to be filled in the CRM implementation team.

CRM implementation team’s key roles:

  • Project manager
  • Sales enablement lead
  • Pilot team lead(s)
  • Technology specialist/IT lead
  • Support engineer/specialist

Each one of these implementation team members will be working closely with your business team to execute the project plan. They all report to the project manager who in turn reports back to the supervisory committee.

Project manager

A project manager makes sure all the stakeholders are working as a team and driving the project forward. They call the plays that are executed by the technology specialist, sales enablement lead, and other roles within the implementation team.

In the majority of cases, the project manager can take on an additional role — depending on the project manager's depth of experience (such as handling sales enablement for example). The project manager can also take on other responsibilities that would usually be handled by another professional — this can help to take pressure off the rest of the team. The scope of the project manager’s role depends on the business’ size and the project manager's own depth of experience.

Sales enablement

The sales enablement lead works with the staff and project manager to build content and training resources that support the sales teams’ migration into a new CRM. This individual leads all training and coaching efforts, so they need to be familiar with the CRM and how it works. The sales enablement lead also looks for scalable ways to upskill the team on the new product. Depending on the business’ size, you may have more than one individual in this role.

IT/technical lead

The IT lead/technical lead works with the project manager to integrate outside technologies with the CRM, build custom integrations when needed, create custom objects, resolve underlying technical architectural challenges, set up automation, and support technical needs voiced by the project manager on behalf of the business’ team members. Depending on the lead’s experience, they may take on additional responsibilities to guide the CRM implementation's technical and strategic direction.

Pilot team lead

Pilot team leads are successful salespeople who are trusted to test the new system and give constructive feedback. These team members document all system issues they encounter, process improvements that enhance selling, and also address other issues they think their colleagues will run into while using the new CRM. The pilot team works closely with the sales enablement lead to identify areas for education and communicates technical concerns to the project manager. This team’s feedback functions as a quality assurance mechanism too.

Support engineer

Through a ticketing system, support engineers help the technology lead with troubleshooting any issues with the new CRM. When a team member submits a support ticket, the support engineer will respond and resolve the issues. This individual works closely with the technical lead and project manager to make sure issues are documented in detail to identify underlying issues efficiently.

Supervisory committee

The supervisory committee and the team directly working on the implementation should be separate, even though a few team members may overlap. The function of the supervisory committee is to guide the project's overall direction, rather than determining all the specifics.

Three ways the supervisory committee can guide a successful CRM implementation:

  • Decision maker involvement — have a member of your business’ executive team voice support for the implementation project.
  • Accountability — hold the project manager accountable for the project’s success.
  • Responsibility — hold IT leaders responsible for technical decisions. 

Since executives will have to ultimately sign off on the project, it's best to keep them in the loop from the beginning. You may need approval from directors of departments impacted by your work, so you’ll need your executive sponsor’s support.

Pilot groups

It’s highly recommended that you use pilot groups during your CRM implementation process. Pilot groups are made up of a mix of between three and eight people within your organisation.

The team that has been selected for the pilot group needs to be analytical. The pilot group is responsible for providing feedback on the CRM. Based on this feedback, you can make adjustments to your CRM to tailor it to your business needs. It’s also important to find team members who have different roles and responsibilities within your organisation to get feedback on all fronts.

Weekly meetings

With your team in place and ready to take on the implementation project, it’s crucial for you to keep everyone in the loop on the progress of the project. With your planning in place, your team needs to set checklists and SMART goals for themselves. Deadlines need to be realistic and achievable, but they still need to meet the timeframe of the project as a whole to prevent the CRM implementation from being delayed.

The best way to keep your CRM implementation project on track is by having weekly meetings with your team members. These meetings should include an overview of how the project is progressing, this allows the entire team to visualise how far along the project it is and how long it will take until it’s completed.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to CRM implementation, it’s important to get the structure of your team right. Your team should consist of specialists who are able to use their skills and experience to get the best out of the CRM implementation process, thus ensuring that the project runs smoothly. If your team is set up correctly and you have frequent meetings to review your progress and make adjustments, you’re all set for a successful implementation program.

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