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6 keys to an effective CRM implementation strategy

May 17, 2023
By: Sara Circosta

CRM solutions are an integral part of any financial institution’s digital strategy and evolution, but the implementation process can be complex. If your institution wants to realize the potentially exponential benefits of a CRM, you’ll need to focus on planning, preparation and organizational alignment.

Here are six key factors you’ll need to consider for an effective CRM implementation strategy:

1. Clearly defined goals and objectives

CRM selection and implementation failures frequently result from the misconception that merely having a CRM system to check off a box is sufficient. Not having clear goals and success metrics based on experience-based objectives will cause you and your organization to feel like you have missed the mark after an implementation.

For customers, your financial institution can consider priorities such as:

  • Improving customer retention.
  • Increasing wallet share through cross-selling opportunities.
  • Providing streamlined communication with customers.

Within the organization, ensure that you’ve created personas and stakeholder journey maps to help assess pain points and targeted future states.

2. Strategic road map alignment

Your CRM goals and objectives should be aligned with your strategic plan. This helps ensure you have the correct prioritization and sequencing to guide your implementation efforts.

Proper alignment can make it easier for your financial institution to:

  • Budget.
  • Establish success measurements and KPIs.
  • Define roles and responsibilities.

Alignment with your strategic plan will also provide you with visibility and leadership awareness.

3. Leadership alignment and buy-in

A successful CRM implementation requires buy-in from all stakeholders. Ensure all stakeholders are aware of the benefits of CRM goals and objectives. You will need the cooperation of every team to make sure what you implement does not find a spot on the shelf before it goes live.

4. CRM data awareness

Before implementing a CRM, conduct a data review. This step is crucial for financial institutions, given the industry’s strict data governance regulations and the fact that customer data is often spread across multiple systems.

Collaborating with your data and analytics stakeholders can help you understand your data capabilities, governance practices, ease of accessibility and readiness. This will help you identify any data strategy considerations and avoid ownership and access conflicts.

Having this foresight will help validate your overall plans and aid with your strategic partner and CRM selection.

5. Strategic partners

Bidding out just for implementation services is often used to maximize spend and align with budgets. It’s a valid part of the process; however, shopping by price is often a failed strategy and could cost more in the long run.

Look for strategic partners who do more than just implement. They should have a deep understanding of the unique challenges and regulatory requirements faced by your institution. They also should be able to help you with your planning, data and team alignment prior to CRM selection.

CRM solutions are growing increasingly easy to turn on from a technical standpoint, but it takes diverse experience and industry perspectives to help you succeed in the long term.

6. CRM vendor selection

Choosing a tech solution should always happen in the last stage of your planning process.

Look for a system that aligns with your goals and strategic objectives, has a proven track record for success and is flexible enough to meet the specific needs and nuances of your institution. The selection process should be guided by all the prior steps listed above and be easier and more informed because of them.

How Wipfli can help

Wipfli’s digital strategy and accelerated CRM implementation services can help your financial institution get results faster. In as little as eight to 10 weeks, we can help you plan for and implement the solutions you need and prepare your organization for the change. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you transform your customer experience.

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Sara Circosta
Manager, Business Development
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