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.
A well-executed CRM deployment will change the way you do business by transforming your relationships with prospects and customers, and by refining and revamping internal processes. But for CRM to achieve its full potential, it must be embraced and actively used by all stakeholders.
Resisting change and clinging to what’s familiar are part of human nature, even when such resistance works against us. What can you do to improve user adoption and ensure CRM success? Use value selling techniques to convey CRM’s worth to employees, just like you do with prospects and customers!
A Tiered Approach to CRM
Another way of looking at the issue of overhauling your CRM is a three-tiered approach. The first tier is technical. How well is CRM actually working in your technical environment? This is often the lowest tier because with most well established CRM systems the technical side is a non-issue overall. However, one spot of concern at this level does linger. How well is CRM aligned, technically speaking, with your mobile strategy? Do you have a mobile strategy? Or are your users beating you up to make CRM work with their tablet or cell phone du jour?
Marketing Automation's False Start
At first sight, marketing automation is a very tempting and enticing tool. A platform that gives you the ability to reach your best prospects with the right message, at the right time, without manually having to kill yourself to do it! Seems like a no-brainer, so you sign up. However, once the system gets installed and after a few email blasts are sent, a landing page is built, and the results come back mixed (and they often do), one of two things usually happens: