Phoenix rises from the flames for the FIA’s membership CRM
The rescue of a partially built Dynamics CRM system, designed to replace Integra, then consolidate it as platform on which to base future business strategy:
In 2012 the FIA had a hard decision to make about their Microsoft Dynamics CRM system. Michael Gregg, Sales Manager, and Becky Reid, Marketing Manager, were leading the project to replace their existing Integra system but when it was at the three-quarter stage the supplier doing the customisation pulled out of the market.
The FIA’s dilemma was to start again or find a firm who could pick up the incomplete software and continue the work. Luckily, they were introduced to smartimpact.
smartimpact quickly highlighted the options and costs so the FIA could make an informed choice. The decision taken was to get the system stable and live as soon as possible and then to make a longer term strategic plan thereafter.
Michael explains, “This analysis really helped us – we’d convinced ourselves we were a few weeks from go live but smartimpact explained exactly what needed doing and how long that would really take.”
The new CRM was needed urgently as the old system was preventing the FIA from moving along their strategic direction to drive membership to new levels of interaction with a wider range of quality services. Becky outlined this, “We had multiple databases, each with overlapping and often conflicting member information. Integra wasn’t being used properly and didn’t do a lot that we wanted. In addition, it had been poorly maintained, was out of date and it couldn’t be upgraded. A new system giving a single view of the member was vital to us.”
The FIA’s project team was under great pressure to deliver and had lost a lot of confidence because of what had happened. We deliberately sought to build a very close working relationship with the team. “We worked together a lot,” says Michael. “They would come to us or I would often go to smartimpact to sort out bits or to do testing. They were very flexible.”
There were many issues in the incomplete system. “Some of the ways we found round problems were ingenious; I was really pleased with what we did. A big issue was the original data migration plan; smartimpact did a good job on that by throwing it away and starting again.”
One of the key aims of the new system had been to make it easy to use. Becky explains, “Part of the problem was that Integra had been developed from the wrong point of view; it only focused on one audience. Also, we hadn’t considered what we were going to do with the data, so we didn’t optimise how we stored it or how we would retrieve.”
This led to difficulties; often data was duplicated simply to make it easier to use the system, which in turn led to poor data quality and so the old system could not be relied on. It was key to avoid that second time round.“
It is really important that smartimpact pushes back and questions why you want to do something; whether you can do it in a different way; and whether it is worth it in the first place.”
Michael says, “We’re now expanding use. Our technical team is using the leads functionality to progress and solve cases so they can provide management information up the chain.”
In late 2014 smartimpact went on to upgrade the FIA’s Dynamics platform from 2011 to 2015, including working with their website agency to fully two-way integrate their CMS & CRM systems. In addition smartimpact worked closely with dotmailer to achieve a closer integration with the FIA’s email platform, allowing them to better target their member email communications. The system went live in March 2015.
We asked Michael to sum up his experience of working with smartimpact. After explaining how important it is to find a supplier who understands who the FIA is and what they do he summarises, ”Staff availability is very good, and they are easy to understand. They speak plain English and there is no technical chat."