CRM readiness – critical steps to ensure success

Is your organisation ready for a CRM adoption? You might feel ready, but are you really prepared? Are you fully prepared for a new CRM? There are critical steps to ensure CRM readiness.

The fact is a CRM adoption involves more than just a robust search. There are pre-requisite steps which must be completed in order to determine your readiness for a CRM adoption in the first place. In fact, putting many of these pieces in place prior to conducting a search may save you a headache (or two) down the road. The following should be considered:

  1. Leadership endorsement
  2. Investment
  3. Resourcing
  4. Processes
  5. User-readiness/User adoption

Let’s look at this one by one.

Requisite Steps

Leadership Endorsement

A CRM implementation will not be successful unless you have the full endorsement of your leadership team. Endorsement means the backing of your leadership team. Endorsement also means  your CEO, CFO, or another senior leader’s participation on your project steering committee. Leadership endorsement also means recognition of the investment required for the CRM.

In short, leadership needs to jump in with both feet or you should cease moving forward.


We have highlighted the need for leadership to fully fund the CRM, above. Investment in a CRM includes CRM licenses, the professional services to implement the CRM, and the ongoing costs to train staff and maintain the CRM in future years.


Resources for a CRM go beyond the costs to implement and the ongoing expenses. Resourcing includes staffing for a project and staff to manage the CRM post go-live. When thinking through staffing, ensure you have the appropriate staff to implement a CRM. An implementation requires dedication on the part of the supplier, as well as a commitment of the non-profit organisation. Consider engaging outside project management and other external resources. Also consider relieving current staff of job responsibilities in order to join the CRM project on a part-time or full-time basis.

Post go-live, you want to ensure your non-profit organisation has proper staffing to manage the CRM including ongoing support of end users. This, too, may be outsourced or may be managed from within.


A CRM adoption is the best time to turn every business process upside down. A CRM adoption offers the opportunity to question each and every process and to consider the chance to automate processes, reduce time and effort required to conduct your day to day business, and to eliminate redundant processes.

Organisations should document business processes in an online platform and make a commitment to keep this documentation up to date in the coming years.

User-Readiness/User Adoption

Your end users should be engaged throughout the transition from one CRM to another. Doing so is the best change management strategy possible.  Involve end users in design, configuration, user acceptance testing and, of course, training.

Non-profit organisations are quick to jump into a CRM transition project before ensuring the fundamentals are in place for a successful adoption. Taking weeks or months to put the above infrastructure in place prior to commencing the CMR adoption will ensure a successful outcome for everyone.