Fixing your CRM system and the sales and marketing organization will take some real time, and should be done in stages. Further, in both CRM and \n\nsales there's a serious talent shortage. Sure, there are \n\npeople on the street \u2014 but just try to find a truly great salesperson or SFDC wizard in New York or San Francisco. So you should grab the \n\nemployees and consultants whenever you can find them, and expect to fix the software and organizational issues in parallel.Of course there are going to be interdependencies and policy issues that affect both the CRM system and its users. But a lot can be done to \n\nde-couple those dependencies and make it easier to rework and reconfigure asynchronously.What Can be Done Immediately in the CRM SystemNo matter what the sales and marketing organization will eventually look like, there is a lot of foundational work that can be started on \n\nimmediately. The first order of business is an assessment of the purely system issues, such as: \n\n\u2022 how has the object model been modified\n\u2022 where have custom fields and tables been put in, and what are they meant to achieve\n\u2022 what custom functionality has been added (through custom code or plug-ins), and is it working as intended\n\u2022 what are the data semantics (particularly for custom fields)\n\u2022 how many dupes are in the system, and what's the data quality\n\u2022 are the system integrations working properly\n\u2022 what are the biggest usability issues\n\nThe list above can be the basis for a range of fix-it projects that can keep the CRM team busy for weeks.What Can Be Done Immediately in MarketingEven if there is going to be significant change in the marketing organization, there is critical background work that is almost always required for a \n\nhighly effective marketing function. An objective assessment needs to be made about such things as:\u2022 The number, priority, and quality of marketing campaigns. Typically, these need to be reorganized and renamed to fit the current marketing \n\nspend and lead generation targets. \u2022 The e-mail marketing and lead nurturing system, and the content that drives it. As I've written before, marketing automation systems are \n\ncontent management systems in disguise \u2014 so if your content is out of date, off-target, or simply ugly, you need to bring it all up to snuff.\u2022 Lead scoring and routing. As simple as these sound, they are too often done wrong and too slowly, leading to low conversion rates. \n\nLook to automate this entire process.\u2022 Web forms and landing pages. You wouldn't believe how much difference the design of these pages can make, and there's no way to "tune" \n\nthem unless you do split testing with your target audience. Start developing the infrastructure and processes for that testing now.Fixing these issues can take many weeks indeed, and they'll be needed no matter what other changes may occur. What Can Be Done in SalesWhen upgrading a sales organization, there can be policy changes that blow away a lot of the status quo \u2014 particularly if there's a change \n\nin channel or vertical-market strategy. Even so, the sales folks can be helping build the future while waiting for the new boss:\u2022 Helping the CRM team understand the semantics of custom fields, picklist values, and workflow states.\u2022 Helping the CRM team understand (or, heaven forbid, document) business processes and policies at the start and end of the sales cycle, \n\nparticularly those that involve channel partners.\u2022 Helping the CRM team understand the usability issues, particularly items that slow reps down or degrade system credibility.\u2022 Cleaning up Account and Opportunity data, particularly the stuff that only they know.And What Has to WaitThere are certain issues that simply cannot be progressed in the CRM system until the sales and marketing organization has solidified its \n\nleadership. The list below may look simple, but each item has ramifications all across the CRM system:\n\n\u2022 Security model and access: how much should reps see?\n\u2022 Lead, account, and opportunity distribution: how is ownership of these key objects determined? What happens if a rep has let one of these \n\nassets go stale?\n\u2022 Territory definition, particularly when there are territory overlays\n\u2022 Use of the named account vs lead generation model\n\u2022 Sales and support teams\n\u2022 Rules of engagement for channel partners, inside sales, and outside sales\n\u2022 Quotas and forecasting model; comp plan and incentive structure\n\u2022 Price list SKUs, number of price lists, and discount schedules\n\u2022 Standard terms and conditions, and related internal approval processes\n\nAs I've written endlessly, CRM systems aren't like the rest of enterprise software. To be effective, CRM systems must closely match the policies, \n\nprocesses, and people in the sales and marketing organizations. Even so, when there's change ahead for those teams, there's no excuse for \n\ndelaying the start of CRM work. As always, an Agile methodology is the most effective way to cope with concurrent efforts and ongoing policy or \n\norganizational change.David Taber is the author of the new Prentice Hall book, "Salesforce.com Secrets of \n\nSuccess" and is the CEO of SalesLogistix, a certified Salesforce.com consultancy \n\nfocused on business process improvement through use of CRM systems. SalesLogistix clients are in North America, Europe, Israel, and India, and \n\nDavid has over 25 years experience in high tech, including 10 years at the VP level or above.Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline.