Cross 8 led the implementation of a CRM covering the full customer lifecycle for a retail conglomerate with businesses across a number of industries. The system needed to provide back office customer management functionality integrated to an Oracle financials backend, and a front-end loyalty programme.

The solution needed to be implemented as quickly as possible, while maintaining
customer and employee confidence.


Cross 8 shaped and led the programme to deliver the end to end CRM system implementation. This included managing key services such as customer data segmentation to enable effective marketing, selection of the appropriate tool, CRM platform integration, designing the rollout, stakeholder management, and developing the internal and external communication strategy.


  • End to end CRM system, process and organisational design covering full lifecycle from lead to cash
  • The importance of good customer data to enable segmentation and drive propensity based marketing
  • CRM system implementation
  • Management of pilots and rollouts
    to prove capabilities and mitigate risks
  • Improving customer loyalty


A multi-industry conglomerate with a retail focus based on a membership model.


Our client had seen a period of declining financial results and flagging membership numbers. Following a significant financial and organisational restructuring, they identified three main goals:

1. Increase overall revenue
2. Encourage customer movement across different brand segments/business entities
3. Increase conversion rates from customers to members

The organisation decided that the best solution to these goals was a revitalised customer loyalty scheme supported by a holistic CRM system implementation, integrated into their Oracle back-end, which would support the full customer lifecycle from lead to cash and drive a comprehensive view of customers across business entities.


From the beginning, the client was clear that speed was of the essence, however, this had led to an early misstep.

At the point at which we became involved, discussions had already begun with a software vendor. Unfortunately, the requirements were not understood at this stage and it quickly became apparent that the vendor’s software was not well aligned with the business strategy.

Our first step was therefore to intervene, help the business clarify its goals and elicit key top level requirements. Once this rapid intervention was complete it was possible to relaunch a targeted procurement event to identify vendors with solutions that were a better fit to the goals.

Cross 8 then led the overall programme, shaping it into a number of workstreams, all of which were focused on delivering the strategy. Alongside traditional system implementation workstreams, such as procurement, and organisational and system design, two were core to the success of this programme … and any CRM implementation:

• Customer Data
• Customer Journey and Process Design

Customer Data

As the client had previously run the business as a series of separate verticals, there was no end to end view of the customer.

Accurate and complete customer data is an essential input to any effective CRM platform, so mapping, connecting and cleansing the customer data was identified as a foundational step. But given how important shifting customer behaviour was to achieving the client’s goals, the programme also made data enrichment and segmentation key priorities.

In a workstream run by the client’s internal marketing function, the programme developed a Propensity Model to categorise customers into ten segments.

The knowledge and insight this segmentation provided was used by the marketing department to tailor their marketing messages and improve lead generation, but also by the programme to refine the implementation plan.

Customer Journey and Process Design

Cross 8 have found that almost all implementations benefit from a customer
led approach, and that was certainly true in this case.

In parallel to the system development, a dedicated workstream designed the ideal customer experience. Customer Journey maps were then used to inform the functional processes that the business would need to follow, and the organisational structure that would support it.

All three were then played against the system functionality (both out-of-the-box and planned configurations) and a series of iterations were run to determine how to optimise the overall operating model design.

To ensure that the Customer Journey was paramount, we combined the Customer Journey and Process teams into a single workstream.

Putting the customer at heart of the design process in this way ensured that the final product would stand the best chance of meeting their needs. This was particularly important in the later phases of the implementation.


In order to release value as quickly as possible, while controlling the risk to the business from a bad customer experience, we developed an implementation plan that was phased in two separate ways.

We used a repeatable, two dimensional phasing approach which can be applied on most rollouts to achieve the same level of speed and control:

First, the functionality was grouped into releases based on how essential it was to the customer journey and how complex it was. This allowed us to prioritise development and configuration, and identify a minimal viable product which could be given to customers and still provide value to them.

Second, each functional phase was deployed in a series of rollouts that targeted escalating groups of customers and internal stakeholders. In the first instance, each phase was released to the live environment but deployed to a small number of programme staff, designed to prove the functionality in a series of planned live tests.

Once these tests were passed, the functionality was released to a wider
team of “super-friendly” customers, genuine customers with a connection to the company, who were asked to use it as they normally would.

At the same time, the back-end functionality was being released in similar phases to the internal teams. These two stages were both managed as a Pilot, with daily calls, issue logging, and root cause analysis/resolution by the programme team.

Clear criteria were set to move from one stage to the next, and only once the stage gate was passed was the functionality released to the next segment of customers.

In this manner, issues were captured and the impact reduced. Phasing the implementation by the two measures – functionality and customers / users – meant that we could get functionality out to the widest group as quickly as possible, without sacrificing control.


Cross 8’s accelerated approach to delivery meant that the first internal users were live on the CRM in approximately 6 months and the first external customers in 8.

The phased implementation allowed for careful testing, learning, and refinement, and minimised any risk of issues becoming unmanageable or leading to reputational damage.

The CRM system enabled a comprehensive view of customer preferences, driving more targeted communications and maximising sales. Above all, all three primary business goals were achieved.

At the launch of Phase 2 there had been:
1. c.5% revenue increase
2. Cross brand customer loyalty increased to >40%
3. c. 10% increase in membership



  • The Start with the problem, not a technological solution
  • Focus on quality data
  • Rollout in a controlled fashioned
  • Set criteria to scale up
  • Develop a concrete view of what success looks like at the outset

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