Getting the board on board

You’ve identified the need for a change project, be that the implementation of a new CRM or digital solution, and you know the benefits it can bring. But how do get investment for the project?

Building a strong business case is essential – it underpins all change projects. However, it is not enough to focus only on the technical information on the options, budgets, timescales. Only focusing on these aspects results in only 3 out of 5 business cases becoming a project. So, technical aspects aside, how do you get the board, and all key stakeholders, on board with the project? Here are some of our top tips.

Talk their language

The board and all key stakeholders need to be shown how the project will directly benefit the organisation. It’s important to talk their language and be able to describe how it will add value to your organisation and your members and beneficiaries. They do not necessarily need or want to understand the specific features and functionality of the digital solution.

Don’t presume they have the same priorities

It is not safe to presume that all directors and board members have the same priorities. Remember they are viewing the project, and the investment, from different angles of the organisation. Therefore, it is important to understand their perspective, values, and motivations as this will allow you to draw strong links between the project, company goals and directors values and motivations resulting in the increased likelihood of buy-in.

Set and manage expectations

It is vital to set expectations with your board members about the nature of change. Set realistic expectations around the chances of success as well as failure. Inform them on the disruptive effect the project will have during its lifetime and the impact it will have on the organisation once the project has gone live. 

Be honest about the details

It’s easy to paint a picture of all the benefits of the project and the value it will bring to your organisation, but it is important to be clear on any hurdles and risk factors. By identifying these risks, you can identify how to overcome them. This will ensure that the board feel like they have the full picture before embarking on the project and enable them t feel that they are able to make an informed decision.

Establish trust and maintain communication

Ensure you establish a trustworthy relationship with your stakeholders. The key to this is communication. Create open and regular channels of communication with your stakeholders. Allow them the opportunity to be heard and share any important issues. This allows for timely resolutions of any issues.

Address the emotions

Any change can stir up a whole host of emotions from frustration, fear, scepticism and feeling threatened. These are often triggered by a lack of information. Don’t restrict yourself from communicating the change through facts and figures, let them know you understand how they feel. This will encourage acceptance and openness to new opportunities.


For further information and expert guidance on building a successful business case, book your free place on our upcoming webinar Modernising your tech and driving your organisation’s strategy

How to determine the ROI of CRM Implementation

According to Nucleus Research, every dollar spent on CRM implementation generates an $8.71 return on investment in sales revenue.  

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a set of tools and technology to better manage all your company’s relationships and interactions with clients, and potential customers. To grow and scale your business, having a CRM solution is extremely crucial in today’s evolving business environment.  

All businesses have concerns about their bottom line and overhead costs. It doesn’t matter how much money you make if your overhead costs are cutting into your profits. It’s essential to make sure that your business investments bring you an optimum ROI.  

Measuring CRM Return on Investment

Without any historical data, calculating the ROI of CRM can be challenging. When calculating CRM ROI, factor in the pricing and licensing of software, training and maintenance costs, the cost of migration, and the time it takes your development team to get the system up and running. 

If you want to determine whether or not your performance has improved, examine how much time it saves your team to update the system, look for improvements in sales, factor in customer satisfaction metrics and marketing campaign performance.  

Compare your performance indicators and overhead costs before and after deploying the CRM to see if you’re getting a good return on your investment.  

Additional Features that can Increase CRM ROI

If you want to get the most out of your CRM investment, consider a multi-purpose CRM solution that combines accounting and project management capabilities. By being able to manage all facets of your business from a single solution, you’ll be able to save a lot of money on other business applications, while also increasing productivity. 

CRM system is extremely beneficial since it can be easily integrated into any business and applied to any aspect of the firm. The underlying reason is that CRM service providers know how complex business activities can be and they tailor the solution to be as user-friendly and efficient as possible. 

How to calculate the ROI

The same fundamental method can be used to calculate the return on any investment. The benefits from the investment are first quantified, then the costs are subtracted, and the result is divided by the cost and multiplied by 100.  

The tricky part is determining the true return on investment—after all, you may be working on other initiatives as well to enhance your company’s bottom line, such as employing new salespeople, expanding into a new market, or launching a new product line.  

Taking into account multiple metrics can assist you in making informed business decisions. Consider indicators like higher sales, customer retention, and other sales productivity KPIs to measure the value of your investment. Calculate your CRM’s return on investment using the formula below: 

ROI = (Net return on Investment/ Cost of Investment) * 100 

What Return on Investment should Businesses expect from CRM?

A modern, robust CRM solution is an excellent tool for enhancing sales and securely managing data. The cost of a CRM typically scales with the size of your company. While there are many costs to factor in, experienced business leaders are aware that if a CRM is implemented successfully, those costs will pay for themselves many times over. 

CRMs were shown to increase conversion rates by 300 percent, revenue by 29%, and sales team productivity by 34%. Actual outcomes can differ depending on the type of business, industry, and implementation stage. 

Organizations that use robust CRM solutions like Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM realize a significant increase in annual revenue, customer retention, and improved cost savings. Even the most successful sales teams can benefit significantly from a CRM’s increased efficiency, automation, collaboration, and transparency. 

Top CRM Features that boost Return on Investment

While this is just a small part of what all you can achieve with a CRM solution, here are some of the top features that can help you get the most out of your investment:  

  1. Automated order fulfillment: When a customer places an order, the CRM automatically triggers the fulfillment process, involving external vendors as well as your team.  
  2. Customer service: There is no doubt that CRM enhances customer support and service. All the data (data from mails, chat, phone) is stored centrally at one location and is easily accessible. 
  3. Cross-selling: Enhanced cross-selling is possible, thanks to data and customer insights. 
  4. Upselling: CRM can detect upsell opportunities at higher service levels in addition to cross-selling features.  
  5. Quote delivery: You can create and deliver a quote within the CRM for complex deals. If the customer wishes to make modifications or accept something, they can do so through the system. 
  6. Web-to-lead forms: Web-to-lead forms functionality is the key to close more deals quickly.  Make sure your sales staff is ready to capture and capitalize on leads as soon as they arrive. 
  7. Automatic renewal: Don’t forget about your customers’ renewal dates. CRMs can automatically handle payments or send out invoices when it’s time to renew.  
  8. Sales forecasting: Features like sales forecasting help you prepare for staffing and costs without going overboard. 
  9. Customer portal: Customers can log in, examine their information, change payment methods, download contracts, request customer assistance, and place orders using a web-based customer portal. 
  10. Commission pay management: Automated commission systems save your accounting staff and managers time. Salespeople can log in to see real-time information about their quota and upcoming commission payout. Spending less time on payroll allows you to spend more time on customers while saving money. 

Non-Profit CRM

Nonprofits can utilize the power of CRM to better organize data, manage supporter relationships, and conduct more efficient and successful fundraising in general. 

Since CRMs consolidate data, all sources can share information to provide non-profits with a complete picture of their donor relationships. 

In-Depth Donor Profiles 

A CRM system for nonprofits can track everything from donors’ names and addresses to their previous interactions with the organization.  

List Segmentation  

CRM have list segmentation features in order to send meaningful and compelling communications to your donors. You can approach donors more accurately and efficiently by segmenting your constituent list. 

Reporting Capabilities  

Your CRM not only records and organizes data that you directly input but it also records and organizes data that is funnelled in from your various campaigns, emails, and contribution pages.  

Modern business intelligence tools use dashboards and reports to present data in a visual, easy-to-understand format. Depending on whatever metrics you care about the most, the system will offer alternatives for configuring the layout. 

You can use reports to study whatever data you choose, including: 

  • Donations and funds. 
  • A list of attendees or the total amount raised. 
  • Messages to your donor base, detailing the results of each campaign.  

Donation Processing and Management 

By automating some aspects of donation processing, your team can take a breather as they are no longer responsible for manually processing each donation. 

This saves time and lowers the rate of human error, which is all but inevitable when dealing with numbers all day. 

Accepting and processing donor management is no longer a pain, from pledges to honorarium gifts, memorial gifts, gifts-in-kind, and recurring donations. You won’t have to wait as long for the funds to settle after shortening the donation processing period, with the use of a robust CRM solution.  

Grow your Business with the Right CRM

A customer relationship management system (CRM) is an essential tool for small businesses, enterprises and nonprofits, but not all CRM solutions are created equal. CRM platforms that are robust and scalable connect seamlessly with ERP and business intelligence tools. This ensures business processes are streamlined across the board, leading to increased business productivity.  

When you implement a CRM solution, you are investing in the future of your company. However, like with any large investment, it’s critical to understand the financial impact and gain, as well as to evaluate the investment’s efficacy regularly. 


Author Bio: Scarlett Jonathon is the head of marketing at DynamicsSmartz. She is a Microsoft Dynamics enthusiast with rich experience in integrated business solutions. She has a special knack for Dynamics 365 Business Central and Microsoft CRM solutions. She always tries to work on new ways of improving the entire concept of custom business solutions by providing truly user-oriented services. 

Why sorting your data is critical to the success of your new CRM implementation

Driven by the need to improve engagement with donors and supporters, services for members, and their own internal effectiveness, non-profits across the UK are routinely looking for new digital systems. Now facing the constraints of pandemic-hit funding and the recession which may well be on the horizon, many need new systems to enable them to meet the demands to “do more with less”.

Whilst it’s not always easy to know where to start, for many the imperative is to implement a modern CRM to bring their people and processes together, to connect up and be the home of their data, and to become the power behind their effective operations.

The third sector is all about relationships, so having a CRM solution at the heart of your digital engagement strategy is a must-have for any modern non-profit which wants to prosper. Moreover, it needs to function as the hub of your integrated digital solutions suite.

Having a CRM solution at the heart of your digital engagement strategy is simply a must-have for an effective modern non-profit

I’m certainly not suggesting having a well-designed and implemented CRM is the panacea for everything we face right now, and if you’re reading this and thinking “yes that’s where I’m at right now, we’re going to need to find and implement a new CRM” then I have many questions to ask, but can I start by asking you whether you’ve got full knowledge and governance over your data? If not, have you initiated a project to get your data in order?

That’s right, you haven’t even made the business case for a strategic investment in a change programme driven by new technology, let alone define the series (and sequence) of the projects which will form your digital transformation programme, and I’m asking whether you’ve made a start on your data migration!

Seriously, isn’t data a dull backwater we’ll just sort out when we need to?

Not at all is the answer there. Your data is fundamental to your ultimate success. Your future engagement strategy and related investment in new technology are based on being able to leverage your data, as information which informs your priorities, your plans, your actions.

So having good clean data you can access, mine and use is a key goal which means you need to know what you’ve got, understand its value, keep the information which will help you and ditch that which won’t.

Hark back to GDPR principles, catalogue your data, justify holding it, appoint guardians and owners, and get to work on it. Yes, I know you’re still writing your business case but time is of the essence here and we see way too many CRM implementation projects take far longer than they should – than they needed to – just because the data isn’t ready. Honestly, it’s a really expensive mistake to make.

Now start to plan the migration. To get an appropriate amount of data out of old, disparate, disconnected systems and into a new highly-functional, connected CRM you’ll need to consolidate and rationalise, you need to clean and de-dupe, and to document what you’re going to want in your new solution.

I’ll write more about the actual data migration strand of your project in the next weeks but will stop here for now, noting that none of the tasks and activities I’ve recommended you get started on is reliant on you knowing what technology you’re going to implement. So you don’t have to wait for the business case to be agreed upon, requirements gathering, or a tendering exercise to take place, you can make a start now.

Hey, even if you don’t end up initiating a change programme and a CRM replacement project for months or even years yet, this will be a valuable piece of work. You’ll have cleaner data and a better understanding of it so you can then put it to work!


Are you looking to get started on your digital transformation journey?

Get in touch to find out how we can help you achieve your digital ambitions 

10 key tips when you’re selecting new technology

Selecting new technology is never easy, but it’s something we’ve guided hundreds of clients through successfully.

From the wealth of knowledge we have gathered, here are some of our tips on how to get the best out of the process:

  1. Prepare for the selection process
    • Agree a set of key decision-making criteria prior to circulation of the ITT, on which to frame discussions during and in conclusion of the process.
  2. Allow the Technology Partners to ask questions that might seem obvious from the ITT
    •  They will have only had the ITT a short time, and may have interpreted certain aspects incorrectly. Keep the discussion points on topic, and don’t get too focused on the details in a given area.
  3. Attend all technical demonstrations
    • Ensure that the whole selection panel attend all of the demonstrations, and that they understand that this is not the final solution they’re seeing, but an example of what’s possible.
  4. Note your responses
    • Read all the submissions and note any concerns, questions and thoughts, plus any major areas aspects which should be covered during the Final Presentations.
  5. Prepare for final presentations
    • Pre-meet as a team to review the written responses and plan what you need to hear at final presentation, avoiding the temptation to make final decisions or influence others’ opinions at this stage.
  6. Refer to your checklist
    • Listen to what the partners have to say and refer to your checklist to ensure any concerns or questions you prepared are addressed and clarified.
  7. Conduct reference checks
    • Conduct the same number of reference calls for each candidate Partner, to ensure balance, and draw up a list of agenda items/talking points which will be covered to ensure consistency.
  8. Due diligence
    • Review the information provided and raise any questions with the Technology Partner, discussing any concerns openly; there will be context to much of the written information which may not initially be obvious.
  9. Understand partner models
    • Take time to understand the model under which the partners operate, responsibilities across all parties, and that most partners will use standard, well-established contractual master terms and conditions.
  10. Review and reassess
    • Review and reassess each of the Partners against the original decision-making criteria, while appreciating that you will have learnt a lot along the way about what really matters to you, so you don’t have to be wedded to the criteria you agreed a few months prior.

For more insights into how to run successful partner selections, join our Training Programme on delivering successful projects, which is free for all non-profits.


I’ve changed, you’ve changed, can we talk?

Re-evaluating system requirements in the Covid-19 context

In everything we have faced in the past twelve months let’s simply say the Covid-19 impact on our working lives represents a massive paradigm shift.

Now, systems are systems. The heart of what you do will not have been knocked out of its natural rhythm. Even if it has, it is our sincere hope you are returning it to a manageable resting heartrate!

There is a simple point here though: it is ok and indeed necessary to recognise some needs have been disrupted and thus your system requirements have changed.

Now, we would all be forgiven for an onset of panic, especially if you are in or entering any of the following project stages right now:

  • Starting your requirements gathering exercise, autonomously or with Hart Square.
  • Working with staff and others to refine your list of requirements for a tender process.
  • Engaging with potential partners to help you deliver a set of requirements.
  • Managing a project against requirements defined last year, or even pre-Covid 19.

Against these tremors, help is at hand.

Below are simple tips to recover a greater sense of security about what your organisation needs from a system, and how it gets what it needs in relationship with your technology partners.

The simple advice here is to use all available communication and negotiation channels to openly discuss with your partner what has changed and how best to respond together.

Not just relevant to systems, that one!

Here are some additional tips to help you manage this process of re-evaluation:

  • In an internal leadership team, plan how you will engage with your staff and stakeholders on the organisation’s approach to requirements affected by Covid-19:
    • “We acknowledge we are more online than ever now. We must also focus on practical requirements that ensure we can fully support our move to online working this year.”
  • Before and then within your facilitated workshops with staff and stakeholders gathering requirements, set out a brief which includes them in the process of re-evaluation:
    • “Given how much our working patterns have changed, what are the top priority needs you think the organisation has now? How best may we work online safely and more easily?”
  • State the obvious with staff and stakeholders to target areas of improvement long in dire need of change:
    • “We cannot keep information in cabinets and on local network drives, not now we have a desire and need to share information online and work more from home.”
    • “What are the requirements that will help us put any end to heavy paper processing and unreliable processes once and for all now?”
  • Within your outgoing tender document, consider framing a narrative overview of any key areas of potential risk or opportunity within your requirements:
    • “X and Y areas need greater engagement and discussion during the selection process.”
  • When meeting potential technology partners for selection, directly ask what Covid-19 impact has taught them and what better support they can offer now.
    • “What way are you supporting clients right now with online collaboration tools, use of personal devices at home, greater risks to data security, higher web traffic than before?”
  • If your project is in progress, discuss with partners how Waterfall or Agile delivery can help you:
    • A Waterfall delivery may still expect upfront signoff of a full Specification, yet a sound assumption around change request budgets in high-risk areas is worth discussing.
    • An Agile delivery may offer more time to define User Story Details after initial signoff of Epics and Features. Again, if agreed change control is in place, this is an option.

From here? The world is your oyster!

Technology roadmaps and strategies are being re-considered and revolutionised right now. Across the sector, we have been catapulted into full remote working and are in mid-air still working it out.

This moment of change will keep you and your partner in busy discourse for many moons to come.

Simply uphold the principles that keep these relationships healthy: honesty, trust, candour, respect, positive challenge, creativity, responsibility, discipline, partnership, and reciprocity…

We are still talking about systems, right?!


For more insight into how to deliver successful projects, join our 6-part Training Programme on that very subject. The programme is free to attend for non-profits.

Top 7 CRM Trends to Look for in 2021

Today, providing the best products and services is just not enough. Building meaningful relationships with customers to foster loyalty and retention is equally important. Customer Relationship Management plays a pivotal role for each and every business, and staying ahead of CRM trends can provide you with a competitive advantage.

In the past few years, the Customer Relationship Management system has grown well beyond just being a contact management mechanism to a holistic business solution. It offers something for everyone and adds a lot of value to your organization.

Brands around the world are choosing CRM to support their customers with a more conversational approach. It is expected that the global CRM market will grow to an impressive $81.9 billion by 2025. CRM is emerging as a one-stop solution helping organizations make data-driven decisions to drive hyper sales growth and boost revenue.

As we progress into this new decade, the industry as we know it has shaken up by key CRM trends. In this article, we’ve gathered the top CRM trends that you should know for 2021 and beyond. Here are some of our top CRM predictions, including increased use of CRM from new markets, strong features and integrations, and the effect of wider tech trends on CRM.

1. AI is becoming a central part of CRM

There’s a ton of noise around Artificial Intelligence these days, and CRM is not going to be excluded from this trend. According to Gartner’s 2019 CIO Agenda survey, 14% of global CIOs have already deployed AI, and it is estimated that AI associated with CRM activities will boost global business revenue by $1.1 trillion by the end of 2021.

To allow personalization of customer interactions, CRM analyses vast amounts of data. Different CRM tools provide organizations with access to information from multiple touchpoints across various departments and channels, such as sales, marketing, and contact centers, to build effective business strategies. Businesses can expect AI-powered CRM platforms to shed light on real-time consumer behaviors and provide insights into purchase trends to facilitate potential conversions.

AI will assist CRM to simplify laborious and repetitive manual activities, thereby enhancing employee productivity. AI and Machine Learning (ML) will boost the conversational options currently available with CRM platforms. CRM chatbots backed by AI will soon be able to anticipate future customer queries and provide additional information that might be required. AI-powered CRM will deliver quicker and better solutions, eliminating the incidence of human errors.

2. CRM will join hands with IoT

IoT is emerging as the biggest game-changer in almost every industry vertical. The integration of CRM and IoT will be witnessed this year on a larger scale. CRM and IoT combined offers numerous advantages, such as an advanced level of customization, increased customer loyalty, improved customer retention, and helps deliver personalized marketing campaigns.

According to experts, IoT will continue to make substantial changes in the manner in which CRM is done. According to research, IoT devices will increase to 39 billion by 2025. By adding connections to IoT feeds from devices, advanced CRM systems are taking advantage of this trend. These smart devices provide a treasure trove of insights into customer behaviour and enable businesses to use these insights not only to provide enhanced customer support but also to deliver more personalized marketing strategies.

3. Voice Technology and Conversational User Interface (UI)

Voice technology plays a fundamental role in the advancement of SaaS solutions. According to an Adobe study on voice technology, around 94% of users consider voice technology easy to use and believe that it saves more time and enhances their quality of life. Voice assistants help sales staff monitor customer data faster. Leading CRM solution providers have embraced voice technology and more CRM solution providers are expected to follow suit.

4. Customer Experience will take centre stage

Usability has always been a challenge for CRM platforms, but the most popular CRM systems in the future will have an interface that focuses on ease of use. User experience will always be at the heart of CRM. Experts have predicted that CRM systems will soon grow to be easy to use, making it easier to access and evaluate information. We might also see advanced CRM functionality that will make it easier for sales and customer service agents to initiate contact with customers.

With the ease of use in CRM, businesses can be expected to provide enhanced and personalized customer service. CRM systems will be able to deliver information that addresses the needs of consumers reliably and guide them further into the marketing funnel.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a powerful, scalable CRM solution. With a familiar and intuitive user interface, it ranks among the highest in user adoption. With great functionality, value, and flexibility, it is not easy to lose sight of the advantages that Dynamics 365 CRM can bring to an organization that wants minimal configuration and ease of use to optimize business operations and provide a fast return on investment.

5. Mobile CRM will pave the way

The advent of smartphones has transformed the way businesses manage their operations. To keep up with the ever-evolving trends in the digital world, CRM technology has evolved as well. With ‘work from home’ being the standard of the day, all concerned stakeholders need to access CRM resources. This requires compact CRM tools with easy, interchangeable online-offline capabilities. More mobile compatible CRM features are expected to enter the market to meet the increasing connectivity needs of the end-users.

6. Social CRM will be on the rise

Social CRM can be defined as the integration of social media networks into CRM platforms. When social media and CRM come together, businesses get to derive more powerful insights from social media and get a greater understanding of brand awareness. By delivering timely and insightful responses to comments posted, businesses can utilize social CRM to create stronger relationships with customers, both current and prospective. CRM is expected to dive deeper into social networking helping businesses to better understand how consumers view their goods and services and provide quick responses to their queries. Adopting social CRM will help companies generate more leads, win more customers and retain them in the long run.

7. Integration of CRM with Other Processes

In order to work, CRM systems use data from as many as 12 sources. Advanced integration with multiple data sources and other third-party applications will certainly become a prerequisite for future CRM platforms to gain more insights into customers while enhancing their software functionality. Integration with marketing automation and analytical tools, for instance, will help CRM systems monitor and analyze external customer interactions. Similarly, the incorporation of different accounting tools will help organizations streamline their billing processes and better implement customer segmentation.


Today, a large share of the software industry is dominated by CRM, and it is only going to get bigger in the years to come. Getting ahead of these trends will help you find out which functions to look for in a CRM platform for your business.

Author Bio: Scarlett Jonathon is the head of marketing at DynamicsSmartz. She is a Microsoft Dynamics enthusiast with rich experience in integrated business solutions. She has a special knack for Dynamics 365 Business Central and Microsoft CRM solutions. She always tries to work on new ways of improving the entire concept of custom business solutions by providing truly user-oriented services.

How GDPR-led analysis should drive your CRM data migration plan

Last month I wrote a piece using the analogy of a house move for your organisation’s data migration. Whilst describing the expected migration stages it was admittedly a little light on GDPR factors.

At Hart Square, we continue to see great progress and much ongoing work on GDPR compliance. This is especially true where a project migration becomes another catalyst for increased compliance actions.

We find our discussions about “urgent GDPR action” have normalised into newer discussions on data strategy and governance: how best to plan and do the ongoing data “chores”.

Returning to the house analogy – as it has some depth – what happens when:

  • You sit down to sort through all those data drawers as part of a house move and realise there’s more sorting to be done than you thought,
  • You find several items stacked on shelves still reading: “why have you kept me?!”

The good news is that you can and must use all activity conducted before and after 25th May 2018 to double down on your GDPR efforts during a migration – it is the perfect time to take further action.

Quick tips for blending GDPR and migration approaches for best outcomes:

  1. Source data analysis/GDPR compliance checks
    • When identifying and analysing data for migration, you naturally go back to GDPR principles:
      • What have we got and where is it?
      • Upon what lawful bases do we hold it?
      • How well is it protected and what are its retention rules?
  2. Decision making
    • GDPR-led analysis is a perfect path to the right decisions about what to migrate or not.
    • Responsible proactivity like: “we do not run that function any more so let’s not keep the data”, or “we must migrate that data. We hold it under legitimate interests”.
  3. Exclusion/Inclusion rules
    • To help with the classic dilemma – “how far back should we keep?”
    • A clear set of GDPR retention rules sets certain migration rules for you, e.g. “seven years data back for contacts’ order records as we must retain an audit trail for HMRC”.
  4. Risk management
    • These processes help with the reality if certain data sets are being retained or processed in a way that presents risk to your organisation and data subjects.
    • You may simply enforce a GDPR recommendation previously made yet not fully actioned.
  5. Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIAs)
    • It is ICO guidance and music to Hart Square ears to hear clients are conducting DPIAs for all new projects now where personal data will be affected.
    • And remember, a migration itself can be subject to its own discrete DPIA.
  6. Consent opt ins, preferences
    • Lest we miss the startlingly obvious: your migration must assure how preference centre management continues GDPR compliance in the new system and how preference data is accordingly mapped, loaded, then managed day to day.
  7. Marketing tools
    • A lot of implementation projects we see “put in” a replacement marketing tool.
    • Become the expert on how your preference data securely flows to and from all new systems
    • Know the exact points where someone may update their preferences with you

Remember – data still exists even if held in archive so do consider what constitutes data deletion, or anonymisation where deletion is not an option in migrating your data.

There is a huge payoff here regarding investment value if you focus on aligning all decision makers on the true value of the data to your organisation and your data subjects.

You can achieve both goals: abide with ICO GDPR principles, and hold highly valuable data.

One last dig for victory into the analogy then:

Doing this work well, you should reach a point in your project where you pejoratively slam the doors shut on the data van and say, as you see it sweeping off to your new home.

“I’m glad we spent the time on that. We only packed what we really need in the new place!”


Successful implementation

To learn more about system implementation management, join our training programme “How to deliver successful projects“. The whole course is invaluable and module 5 focusses on “Delivering a Successful System Implementation” including Data Migration

12 reasons CRM projects succeed

There are studies, statistics, articles, reviews and infographics galore to tell us how many projects / IT projects / CRM projects fail every year.

They may not all have a shared definition of failure or agree on the actual numbers, but the accepted narrative is certainly that a large number of technology projects fail.

You’ve probably heard all this before, and, to be honest, these grim facts aren’t very inspiring or very helpful. So, let’s turn it on its head. Yes, many projects fail, but a whole heap of them succeed!

At Hart Square, we specialise in supporting non-profits adapt to the digital age, which will often involve the initiation of projects to implement new technology.

We want to share the knowledge and expertise gained through our involvement in numerous successful projects, to help others to succeed, so have put together our “12 Reasons CRM Projects Succeed” eBook.

Please complete the short form to receive a copy of the eBook.

For more insight into how to run successful projects, sign up for our free Training Programme on that very topic!

Has your faithful old CRM finally had its day? Part Three

In our previous articles on the subject we recommended now is the time for you to start to talk to your staff about the technology they need to support them for the future. We also explore some of the considerations you need to have in mind when planning next steps.

Deep(er!) Dive

Let’s take a slightly more detailed look at a few of the specific areas in which your CRM supports your organisation and how they are impacted upon and potentially restricted by older technology.

Supporter and Member Communications

For most, if not all organisations, the ability to record and retrieve all communications with contacts is critical and any CRM system should support this as the most basic of functions as this is the core function of any CRM after all.

However, if the ability of your CRM is limited in this area due to its age and the technology on which it is built, this is an absolutely critical area to investigate further.

What is the usual means of communication and what interface is used? Does it integrate seamlessly with your email client of choice? Does it support communication via social media platforms? In what other ways do you communicate with your members, donors, volunteers etc? Can these various means of contact be seamlessly captured, stored and managed from within your CRM?

Transactional Processing

You may find that your current CRM is highly capable, robust and able to process high volumes of data. This is of course critical and alongside communication recording is the most basic of requirements.

It should not be overlooked that “older” CRMs have not fallen behind the newer offerings in this regard. High volume data processing is the bread and butter of such systems and they do it very, very well. In fact, some would argue that the newer model of cloud-based processing introduces risks and challenges that are not present with the older systems.

I tend to agree in all fairness and would strongly recommend that any potential replacement system proves itself capable of handling at least the same volume and complexity of transactional data that your current solution does. Do not assume it is a “given” that any replacement system will be able to process the volumes of data you currently do and in exactly the same way as your current system does.


Many organisations have highly complex requirements for handling their Membership offerings and the processing of data related to this area of the system.

Often Membership systems have functionality built upon over many years, providing a highly flexible and functionally capable membership solution. Any potential replacement should provide a similar level of functionality to match that currently available.

However, as is the case for most areas of operation, regardless of the power or functionality provided “behind the scenes”, many older systems will inevitably suffer from limitations of interface usability and flexibility as discussed earlier.

Event Processing

As for membership processing, many older systems have highly functional solutions to support the setup and management of events.

However often there is no standard integration with external Event processing services, such as Eventbrite for example and again due to the technology used, the solution may experience the same limitations of interface flexibility where customisation is required.

Process Automation & Work Flow

Many older systems have limited or no in-built support for Automation and Workflow.

This is now a key requirement for many organisations, allowing business logic to be defined based upon customised criteria which when met will automatically trigger specified actions. These could for example be displaying a form, sending a renewal email to a member or creating a task and assigning it to a colleague.

More modern solutions often have built-in support for automation or offer powerful integration with external cloud-based automation and work-flow processing solutions.


Here at Mast we have worked within the NFP Sector supporting organisations with their CRMs and related systems for many years, some of us going all the way back to the early 90s!

In that time we have seen many developments in both the requirements and expectations of NFP organisations and the technology available to support their needs.

There is no doubt that this is a very exciting time and that the level of technology options now available to NFP organisations are capable of transforming the way in which an organisation functions in a highly cost-effective manner.

Although your existing CRM may be robust, has been a reliable workhorse that has supported your organisation for a long time, it may be that the limitations of the product are now likely to hamper the ability of your organisation to adopt a programme of modernisation and digital transformation.

If your CRM is based upon old technology, if it is not cloud-based, if it is not easy to integrate and does not provide the ease and flexibility of use offered by many systems available today, I would suggest that you should be beginning to review your options, if indeed you already haven’t started this process.

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High-level CRM principles to adopt

We often get asked by clients for some high-level principles they need to adopt to ensure they get the most out of the new CRM solution they intend to implement.

The purpose of sharing them is usually to ensure that they can stay focused, maximise the benefit to be achieved from the product and solution, and keep within scope of the project.

In no particular order, some of the key points we make are

  • CRM is not a technology, it’s a strategy and a culture
  • Automate where appropriate, not just because you can
    • Prioritise standard processes where you’re looking to build in efficiency for staff and consistency for members / audiences
    • The biggest wins are the heavy lifting of base administration, with no real value add, examples being
      • Welcome letters
      • Renewal reminders
      • Nurture programmes
      • Event joining instructions
      • Surveys
  • Adopt best practice where possible, from the technologies and from the partners
    • There will be areas which are very specific to you, but not too many. You’re unique because of what you do and the cause you serve, not because of how you do it
  • Give everyone access to the system, it is not for the chosen few
    • Lead from the top, your CEO must have an account, use it and talk about it
  • Capture all interaction with all audiences
    • Categorise and classify as much as possible, minimise free text entry
  • Use Case Management to handle multiple scenarios, it’s a really powerful for collating tasks around processes where tracking and visibility are important and multiple people may be involved
    • Start with basic inbound enquiry management using task queues & workflows
  • Give suitable priority to search / query / find / reports / dashboards
    • Staff will value the system most if it’s easy to find the information they need to perform their jobs
  • You need Champions, ongoing beyond just the project
    • This is not a status or hierarchy role, you need influencers, a mix of supporters and doubters, who will be engaged
  • Set out to enhance incrementally but continually
    • With changes managed and gatekept
    • Suggestions sought, pipeline shared transparently
  • Training documents, user manuals are vital, written by the business teams, and maintained by them
    • Short videos are a great format for these
  • Data, data, data
    • Be strict on what you migrate, think GDPR minimalism
    • It is the first visible sign of success or failure for staff
    • It must be governed on an ongoing to maintain integrity, as an active activity with responsibilities across teams for the data they use

These have evolved over the years of course but our clients have found them useful, I hope you do too. Do use the Comments to add your thoughts, we’re always keen to hear from you!