Customer relationship management (CRM) has evolved from basic contact management to a full-functioning contact and marketing strategy. Businesses use CRM software to improve their customer satisfaction, streamline marketing initiatives, and measure their marketing success. The benefits of CRM are many; however, many companies have been led to believe that CRM software is the sole reason for these improved customer satisfaction rates and cost/time savings. This is simply not true.
While the technology itself is certainly beneficial (and even necessary) for businesses to have, companies cannot rely on the technology alone to improve their customer relationships. CRM is about the people, not the technology. Investing thousands of dollars into a solution may seem like a good idea, but if you don’t have the processes in place to actually foster your customer relationships, CRM will be a waste of your time and money. If you are looking to upgrade your current CRM software to the latest and greatest version (or solution) to solve your CRM problems, you will only be dissatisfied. Instead, focus on improving your current business processes, spend time training your employees on the software, and develop new CRM strategies.
One of the biggest mistakes companies make when implementing CRM is to look at it as a one-time project rather than a journey. In order to obtain real business value out of the solution, you need to develop a detailed road map to help you achieve the goals you’ve determined for your customer relationship management strategy. This can be as simple as setting up procedures to train your staff on the solution, developing business processes to ensure that you’re fostering your relationships appropriately, and planning system customizations to help you achieve your CRM goals. Without a plan, your CRM journey has no direction and your chances of you being dissatisfied with your solution are likely.
We’ve provided three guidelines to help you protect your CRM software investment. Keep the following tips in mind as you consider whether or not your CRM solution is providing real business value to your CRM efforts:
- Determine what you are hoping to accomplish through CRM. Before you even begin considering investing in CRM software, you should have developed a list of goals your company hopes to achieve as a results of your CRM investment. Make sure all key stakeholders agree upon these goals and the plan to carry them out. Once you have purchased a CRM solution, measure your success based on your ability to meet these goals.
- Select key leaders to keep your project on-track. Every project needs a leader committed to keeping the project on track and succeeding. These leaders will need to clearly communicate their plans with business executives, managers and end users, as well as take everyone’s suggestions into consideration. These leaders should also understand the dynamics of the company and be willing to involve employees who are resistant to new technology. Awareness of your company’s response to the project and proactive measures will set your company up for lasting CRM success.
- Have a plan. All software implementations require extensive planning to be successful. Even if you are implementing a Cloud-based CRM solution, your team needs to sit down and create an extensive plan for the implementation phase. While you’re at it, develop a plan of best practices to pass on to the software’s end users so they can make the most out of the software solution. Remember, it’s not the technology that makes the difference – it’s the plans you have in place and the users you have using it.
In order for CRM to work, everyone has to be using it. Make sure your employees are on the same page as to the value of CRM tools and implement best practices to help them improve their customer relationship management efforts. When your employees know how to use the system properly, your customers will benefit directly.
Are you using CRM software to further your customer relationship management efforts? If not, contact us today to learn how our customer relationship management options can help you improve your customer satisfaction and develop more mutually beneficial relationships. We’d be happy to discuss your current situation with you and guide you to the right solution for your company.