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.
Time and again, CRM fails because organizations think implementing the software is all that’s needed to effect the changes they seek. That’s not how it works. CRM and its ability to automate processes can never replace human effort. CRM is a tool – and a very important one, but if the entire organization does not actively embrace CRM, its anticipated results simply cannot manifest.
Whether you’re implementing a new CRM system or trying to fix CRM that hasn’t lived up to its promise, it may be helpful to step back and look at the interplay between the technology and the people using it. It’s important to manage everyone’s expectations up front, and clearly understand what’s required to make CRM a success.
Prepare for Success
Besides having a realistic perspective of what CRM does and what your teams must do, there are a few more criteria that are essential for CRM success.
CRM includes functionality and data structures that can – and should – be modified to support how you do business. An out-of-the-box implementation with no personalization will likely lead to abandonment because it doesn’t meet your needs. Be sure you work with a strategic consulting partner that understands the nexus between business and technology, and has the resources to deliver a CRM system that’s “just right” for your organization.
On the people side, training should be a top priority. Not just operational training, which is how to run this and do that, but value-based training, which emphasizes how they will benefit from CRM. When each type of user understands how their investment in CRM pays off for them, they are more inclined to embrace its changes and reap its rewards. And be sure to follow up with advanced training. The deeper users go into CRM, the greater its value to the organization.
Ongoing operational and strategic support is another key consideration. Users should be free to ask questions that maintain productivity and resolve any issues that arise. For executives, having a vision and strategic roadmap for optimizing CRM is essential. It allows you and your technology partner to continuously refine CRM and integrate other applications to meet evolving needs.
Done right, CRM can be a game-changing solution that significantly improves sales, profits, customer satisfaction, and productivity. It takes effort to realize its benefits, before, during and after implementation, but it yields ongoing dividends far into the future. Call me at 330-929-1353, extension 224, to discuss your goals for CRM success.