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.