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Blackbaud CRM™: 5 Common Implementation Mistakes

There are a lot of common mistakes organizations make when implementing or using Blackbaud CRM™. As more and more organizations make the move to Blackbaud CRM™, there are some common considerations you should be aware of:

1. Implementing "as-is"

When you decide it's time to move from one house to another (or from one CRM to another),

you should take time to evaluate what things you're moving, how they are going to fit into your new house and if there are better ways to build the house instead of recreating what you have today.

When you implement any CRM system, you should take the opportunity to reevaluate how you're setting it up, what business rules should change, what processes need an overhaul, and so forth. Don't bring your bad habits into your new system.

2. Sweep the GL under the rug (so to speak)

During your implementation of Blackbaud CRM™ it is important that you pay attention to the GL. While it might be my favorite topic, I understand not everyone feels the same way. If you don't have the expertise on your team, make sure you find someone (like a consultant) who can guide you in making the right decisions.

When you begin designing the GL, keep an open mind. The Blackbaud CRM™ General Ledger configuration is extremely detailed and therefore offers a lot of flexibility and complexity. You can easily over-engineer the GL design if you don't understand the options available. Keep your design simple and consider involving your accounting team in the design process.

Finally, once you've developed a GL design, make sure you test it using a variety of realistic scenarios.

3. Testing Only The Obvious

Don't just "kick the tires” on your new system and don't test with "standard" tests and processes. A client once said to me, "Stacey, this doesn't work." My first response was, "did you test it?" The answer I got was not all that surprising, "well, no, we didn't test this scenario, we only tested the standard processes the software vendor told us about." It’s great that you can add a mail package, but can you build a Marketing Effort that will replicate your current mailings? Keep in mind, the vendor doesn't know the intricacies of your processes and operations.

As soon as your business processes have been designed, you should start testing your processes in the system. If you test the standard process for "add a gift" to out-of-the-box software, it's going to pass. Until you test the process with your data and your process, you won't know if it really works or not.

Test everything and then do it again, and again, and again, and again.

4. Avoid Dirty Data

Ensure your database has been cleaned before you introduce a new CRM solution into production. All entries should be standardized and any discrepancies you come across should be dealt with. This could include things like: removing double entries, cleaning missing fields, globally updating data and making changes to key records. Remember – a CRM system is only as good as the data that's in it. There are tools available that will help you with your analysis of your data and the cleanup. If you’d like more information about these tools, please contact us!

5. Expect The Unexpected

An organization can change overnight; it may reorganize departments, a department may be outsourced or a key stakeholder may be replaced. An organization implementing a CRM system needs to take potential organizational changes into account so you have the right budget, schedule and contingency plan in place. Don't be surprised when a change threatens to derail your project.

If you would like more information about any of these items, or to discuss your software implementation, please connect with us! We're here to help.

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