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September 11, 2009

Taking Stock

After Labor Day Weekend it seems like things pick up. We all leave the beach and get back to work. I typically get pretty focused on the assortment of client projects that kick off just like the fall semester of school. Somehow things feel different for me this year. Things have picked up and the desire to be at the beach has diminished, mostly due to the change in temperature and the need to wipe frost from the boat windshield. But, there is a little distraction.

I suspect the difference this year has something to do with a few key happenings. First, I had a big milestone birthday, and right after that I shipped my first kid off to college. And now I have a second who is just starting the college shopping process – I see light up ahead shining on an empty nest. These things have really got my mind in motion. I am taking stock. Am I satisfied with what I am doing? Am I satisfied with where I live? Am I satisfied with what I have accomplished? Time is starting to become more of a factor. So, I guess it is time to consider these things.

Stepping back for a moment and taking stock of your CRM program is probably a good idea, but you don’t have to wait to hit a major milestone. It may be good to do this periodically. Are you accomplishing what you had intended? Have things changed and are there different requirements? Has the market changed and are there different priorities? Taking stock of your CRM program does not have to be a big deal or take a lot of time, but the small effort can have big payback.

I recommend starting with your program charter. You created a strategy at the outset of your CRM initiative and most likely it included some objectives and maybe some targeted business outcomes. The first question is to evaluate how you have done relative to those. If you have done well, make sure you communicate the successes. Then build out a new set of objectives and outcomes for your next stage of the program.

If you have not done as well against your original plan, it is worth asking why. What needs to be put in place to accomplish what is required? And, further, is your original direction still valid or do you need a course correction? With any luck, your steering committee is still intact and you can work through all of this with that guiding body. If not, assemble a new and improved steering committee, which alone can breathe some new life into a CRM program.

Taking stock gives us a chance to make the most of our investments and perhaps feel good about how well we have leveraged those investments so far. This does not have to be a somber navel gazing exercise. Keep it light and objective and don’t get too caught up in the blame game. A focus on how to be successful going forward will help you drive your program to the next level.

Good luck on the rest of the journey!

Jumbo Navel