Most CRM systems fail because upper management, IT, marketing, sales, customer service, and others who use the software do not establish clear, well-defined, measurable goals. Consequently, it can be difficult or impossible to determine the effectiveness of a CRM system.
This happens because CRM is often thought of as a technology solution for a company's business; however, CRM is a really a business solution.
Even if when your company deployed CRM you did not have defined measurable goals or had ill-defined goals, you can “mend" a failed CRM, in four simple steps.
Most customers who have, or are looking to purchase a CRM system are looking to achieve basic results which boil down to two frequently stated objectives: retain current customers and acquire new customers to power growth. Both of these objectives rely on extensive understanding of customer relationships grounded in business data such as account details, sales history, end use information, industry assessment, response to campaigns, etc. If the business does not win through the transformation of time-sensitive management of this data to systems that provide not more data, but useful information and insights, they will lose to competition who are leading in this strategic approach. If your customers are not moving to this new business reality, then they are falling behind.
How many opportunities in your world today are decided by a single decision-maker? I suggest that many are not. It also is highly likely that the sales process of your clients is running the same as they work to build a trusting relationship with multiple decision-makers or decision influencers. A recent study found that there are 6.8 people involved in the average B2B buying decision, yet a LinkedIn study reported that 78% of sales professional are connected to either only one person or not connected at all into accounts they’re trying to close. Are account managers communicating with the other 5+ people in the decision-making process? Are they helping all the people involved get the background information they need to help make an informed decision?
Most software ROI calculations are built off of two tenets: sell more or cut cost. The problem that most organizations run into is that they have no solid numbers to address either; “sell how much more”, or “save how much time” are elusive concepts.
I suggest that there are three fundamental business objectives that sales, marketing and service must focus on: find more customers like our best ones, keep the ones we want, and increase profitable transactions. The way to justify a CRM system is to start by asking: "What is the cost of inaction in effectively supporting and measuring progress associated with these three fundamental business objectives?"
The most fundamental requirement for growing a business is having sound sales processes that can be tracked, measured, and audited. Such processes must be written down and followed closely, not shared through word-of-mouth like an urban legend. A documented sales processes allow your clients to create a repeatable blueprint for success.
So where do they keep such data and monitor their results?
Today's CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is better than yesterday's because: (a) CRM systems can now deliver greater productivity returns and (b) vendors' software usability is much improved. These advancements (and others) mean less time and lower costs to implement a CRM system. And the more people in a given company who use a CRM system translates to more benefits and a higher ROI on a CRM investment. Research notes that for every dollar a company invests in a CRM system, it earns $5.60.
But not everyone who has a CRM system is experiencing the expected return and, thus, some are CRM haters. It may depend on how you choose and implement your CRM system. To help you get the most from your CRM, here are some common mistakes and ways to avoid them.
Leads can come in many ways; website, referral, trade show, direct mail, email drip and even an account rep prospecting. But if we don’t know the sales return from each or the cost of each, how do we evaluate where to invest a limited marketing budget?
Some B2B companies run their sales and marketing activities with Excel because it is easy to use and well known by employees. However, to more efficiently manage and profitably use data, other B2Bs use a relational-based CRM (Customer Relationship Management). A CRM consists of a database and a user-interface with which you can easily create, update, manage, process, share, and report data across the organization.
While Excel spreadsheets are great calculators, they are not good as a shareable database. That is because, in part, Excel has no relational tables and limited interface capabilities. Excel becomes cumbersome and difficult to manage with thousands of items.
I am often asked by managers how to improve the user acceptance of their CRM system. In the eyes of the questioner, the answer lies in how to encourage, or even make, users use the platform more, in order for the organization to achieve their established expected benefits of investing in CRM. That’s the wrong focus. The issue is not how do we get the user to use CRM, but rather, is the CRM itself designed to be useful to the user so that they want to use it. Although the difference is subtle it should not be overlooked.
I was reminded this week of how much fun this business can be working with clients. As I met with three different clients on their Dynamics Roadmap for the next few quarters, it reminded me of why I am in this business of strengthening customer engagement.
Each of the clients has been with us for some time and each understand the value of CRM to the organization’s profitability and growth. However, it was good to hear that they also view CRM as a tool to strengthen a deeper relationship with their clients for all the various touch points that they have with the client. CRM is a tool to guide existing and new users in their behaviors while getting everyone in marketing, sales and customer service on the same page with the client needs.
It’s not hard to see why your CRM data, made up of customers, prospects and influencers is your most important marketing asset. After all, how can a marketer be successful without the right data? And how can a marketer discover or fine tune a message without insight into behaviors and their service needs? But, keeping this data organized, current, and easily accessible for every relevant team member, throughout an organization, can still be a massive challenge.
I have written before regarding the sales growth value of getting your sales and marketing teams on the same page. This is an effort that can’t be left up to sales or marketing alone, it is too important to the organization and must be monitored at the CEO level.
InsideView does an excellence job in the following infographic to highlight what current leaders are doing to get things right. Point number 6 – “Align on Pipeline” is the element I like the most. By emphasizing the sales pipeline you should expect alignment on lead and nurturing campaigns throughout the sales process. This approach will help drive greater cohesion between both team leaders, as well as provide account reps with advanced insight into the contribution of the marketing team.
Many companies don’t appreciate the value of a CRM system until they understand its pivotal role in closing more sales. CRM’s virtues are not always apparent unless one is intimate with the ins and outs of how business gets done in the organization.
Volumes have been written about customer engagement, which is an increasingly vital part of boosting sales, increasing membership, and satisfying both customers and prospects. While successful customer engagement requires a multi-level strategy, it doesn’t have to be complex... just thoughtful and complete.
You’ve seen the ads. The CRM software is free, forever or on a trial basis. Installation takes seconds. Learning takes minutes. Enter some contacts, play around with reports, and voilà! Within hours, everyone is tracking leads, analyzing pipelines, and monitoring customer interaction.
CRM can provide significant benefits to any sales-driven organization that’s focused on customer service. And it can have a profoundly positive impact on internal processes and performance, both individually and organizationally. Despite CRM’s inherent ability to boost profits and deliver insights, there are some things that CRM simply can’t do on its own.