How to create a successful CRM implementation team

Most businesses don’t spend enough time putting together a team to implement a CRM project - and with an average cost of $30 per user per month, it’s a process that needs a crack team to implement professionally. The day-to-day realities of running a business often get in the way and this leads to a lack of focus and consideration.

Implementing a CRM is like building a house. You make early decisions that are hard to reverse – like a house layout. In a CRM there will be rules you write to format and sort data. Like a house layout, it can be changed but it’s much better to get it right at the start.

To build a great house you need architects and a range of construction specialists. In CRM implementation we often see builders, but architects and project managers are less common. In this article, we’re going to look at what people you need for your CRM implementation ‘A’ team.

Your team

To ace your project you are going to need a core group that includes the following:

  • Project manager
  • Application analyst
  • Application developer
  • QA test engineer

Let’s take a look at the role of each team member.

Project manager

The project manager sets the tone for the project and makes sure everything is done on time, within budget, and to a high standard. Even for a minor CRM implementation, the project manager should be on this full-time and driving toward the deadline. It often works well if the project manager has some technical knowledge but it’s not essential.

A good project manager will be able to get the job done by drawing on the expertise of others.

Application analyst

This person is responsible for data cleansing and migration – it is one of the most critical roles. They need to have a very clear understanding of the overall objective of the CRM so the data can be added correctly. Often this part isn’t given enough attention and the data is migrated but not optimally.

With data migration, there are always opportunities to optimize, and a good application analyst will spot these opportunities. For example, working out minor automation that captures a new subset of users that will enhance the marketing capability would be the type of outcome a proficient analyst would uncover.

Application developer

The developer will customize the system. This is an important role because modern CRMs are highly customizable with wide integration potential. A strong developer will be able to ensure your CRM implementation project takes advantage of different integrations and customizations.

A really strong application developer will be able to suggest integrations or web apps that provide value. Again, it helps if they understand what goals the CRM is helping the business attain. If the developer is fully briefed they will be able to make suggestions on how to implement objectives rather than just deliver instructions.

QA test engineer

This professional is tasked with looking at the effectiveness of the CRM before it goes live. Again you can get an average engineer who conducts an audit and ticks some boxes. Or you can use a test engineer who will look at the system, spot areas for optimization, and improve the CRM performance – rather than simply finding problems.


The key to a successful implementation is fully briefing the team, ensuring everyone knows the objective and has the autonomy to make suggestions and improvements. Like the plumber who looks at the plan and sees a way to improve water flow with a clever drain away, you need professionals who are capable and motivated to make your CRM implementation project a success.

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Doug Haines

About the author…

Doug Haines has worked on a variety of CRM implementation projects and now writes on a wide range of topics. He is a regular contributor to Discover CRM

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Doug Haines

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