How Cadence Drives Accountability and Successful CRM Initiatives

Published August 23 2017 by Patrick Lewis
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In recent articles, I’ve talked about who we are trying to help our customers become (organizations with successful CRM initiatives!), and touched on the two models that we use to try and help them get there.

  1. The High Performing Organization (HPO), which is a framework that includes three components (organizing structure, training system and cadence of accountability).
  2. The Business Outcomes Framework, which is a method for capturing goals and objectives that drives change through the organization if the HPO model has been integrated into the company.

Today, we're going to hit on that third building block of HPO. That is, cadence. Cadence is the rhythm that you establish to keep your initiative moving forward. There's an old quote by Peter Drucker that says, "What gets measured, gets managed." Over time, that quote has morphed into, "What gets measured, gets done." Either version is as true today as it was then.

However, High Performing Organizations add a step to that because they think about scheduling in the exact same way. They know that if they don't set aside time to focus specifically on their initiative, it will get lost in the whirlwind of everything else that it takes to keep their business running from day to day. So what kinds of meetings are they having? There's two basic types – tactical and strategic.

Tactical Meetings

The first is a more tactical meeting, that meeting includes the CRM admin or admins and the core team, the subject matter experts. They usually meet at least monthly, but sometimes, especially right after a release it may be more frequent, perhaps weekly until things stabilize.

In these meetings, they hit on a few topics regularly including:

  • Overall user adoption of the system. How are we doing overall as an organization?
  • Then they drill into the tactics, how is the organization doing against the tactics that were defined, the things that we're trying to do, to change, to move the organization.
  • They also hit on any technical issues that need to be addressed, or user feedback that they're getting.

Strategic Meetings

The second type of meeting is a more strategic meeting. This involves the leadership or executive team. They meet less frequently, usually once or twice a year, in most cases. They key point here is that the meeting is specifically about the CRM initiative; it is not a bullet point or add on to some other meeting.  The meeting focus is on business outcomes. They ask:

  • How are we doing against the outcomes we defined?
  • Are we moving in the right direction?
  • Do we do more, less, or something altogether different?

They also talk about CRM related investments including upcoming projects, or any equipment they might need to buy and upgrades that need to happen.

They also talk about communication. Remember, leadership is responsible for reinforcement and communication of their vision throughout the organization.

Movement. Accountability. Progress.

The purpose behind all of this meeting is to accomplish two objectives;

  1. Develop momentum and keep things moving forward. For every topic, there are associated tasks.  Each task should be owned by someone on the team, and it should include a planned completion date.
  2. The meeting structure allows team members to hold each other accountable for progress. We have all been to great meetings with lively discussion and lots of agreement but no follow through.  The goal is not to meet – it is to make progress week over week.

An initiative is an ongoing process.  It doesn’t end at Go Live; that is really just the beginning.  The cadence you establish will determine how much focus your initiative gets and ultimately how successful you will be.  Lack of cadence leads to lack of focus.  An initiative with no focus is doomed to failure.

Looking for more? Download our free guide: 3 Keys to Successful CRM Adoption here.  


As the Director of Business Outcomes and CRM Success, Patrick has more than 25 years in customer relationship management. He’s worked across Manufacturing, Professional Services, Sports, and Financial Services industries. Patrick’s primary areas of focus are organizational change management, and business process.

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