On Adoption: CEO & CRM

There are three initiatives that the CEO can undertake to make CRM a success for the business.

First Initiative - CEOs Lead the Technology Debate     

 CEOs can start by raising the Cloud conversation above the level of IT efficiencies, and lead a technology debate that’s centred on business opportunity and necessity – with a focus on superior returns on investment, rather than mere cost reduction. The CEOs behind the technology charge are getting better company innovation, faster adoption of new technologies and greater overall CRM adoption2.In a recent study conducted with small business owners found those CEOs, who were managing the sales performance of their business using reports and dashboards by integrating their sales processes using CRM, reported having the best CRM adoption and higher productivity rates among employees3.

In late 2011, McKinsey published a study4, they found that “CEOs who aren’t continually asking themselves and their organizations how they can harness trends such as these to change the game are likely to get blindsided.” CEOs can provoke the discussion by asking the question “how can the competition use this technology to gain market share?”


Second Initiative - CEOs Define New Measures of Business Value  

CRM adoption must not become a Trojan horse for even the slightest increase in IT complexity, with the CEO perhaps needing to rein in the enthusiasms of technology professionals by insisting that any non-value-adding complexity be eschewed.The CEO should forcefully focus the conversation on three measures of new business value:

First, embrace and use social CRM to better service and interact with your customers. Social CRM helps a business better extend and expand its reach into your customer base.

Second, run your business in real-time using Cloud computing CRM. Gone are the days of having employees prepare spreadsheets of sales performance data. Furthermore, busy CEOs can now use mobile functionality provided by Cloud computing CRM by receiving live updates on key sales and business metrics anytime, anywhere.

Third, use CRM to transform the business by either adding new services or developing them. CEOs that understand how CRM will either help solve a business problem or fit with the overall strategy of the organisation have greater adoption of the CRM system5.


Third Initiative - CEOs Become Net Promoters of CRM 

Many companies recognize the importance of using a Net Promoter Score as a measure of success and value by having their customers actively promoting the use of their products and services6.But how many CEOs have considered the importance of becoming a net promoter in their own organization by creating a cultural mandate for employees to use a CRM system? CEOs that enthusiastically promote and evangelize the use of the CRM system within their organizations have higher levels of CRM adoption and better employee satisfaction7.

Successful CEOs are acting as net promoters of CRM within their organizations, which can be accomplished in several easy steps. Start by accepting and using data within the CRM system. Only conduct meetings and business discussions using data from reports or dashboards created within the CRM system. Finally, enforce accountability with employees by articulating the benefits of using a CRM system will ensure buy-in and drive CRM adoption.


Research references

1McAfee, A. 2011, "What Every CEO Needs to Know About The Cloud", Harvard business review, vol. 89, no. 11, pp. 124-132.

2These results have been validated through independent research part of an in-depth business case study, see: How does the CEO affect CRM adoption for small businesses using cloud computing? (Bosch 2012)

3How does the CEO affect CRM adoption for small businesses using cloud computing? (Bosch 2012)

4Brown, B., Sikes, J. 2011, “How strategic is our technology agenda?”, McKinsey Quarterly, Oct 2011

5How does the CEO affect CRM adoption for small businesses using cloud computing? (Bosch 2012)

6Reichheld, F. 2003, “The One Number You Need to Grow, :Harvard Business Review; Dec2003, Vol. 81 Issue 12, p46-54,

7How does the CEO affect CRM adoption for small businesses using cloud computing? (Bosch 2012)

Please share.