CRM (Customer Relationship Management) can be an incredible boon to a company. Moreover, for any enterprise operating in today’s lightning-fast world of digital commerce, adequate and effective CRM is a vital necessity.
But CRM can and often does become almost more of a hindrance than a workable solution. Why does this occur, and what can be done about it?
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) Priority
Within a company’s overall budget, automation is very often given a low (or at least a lower) priority. While the reasons for this can be and are the subject of endless debate, the net effect is that adequate automation is not provided for areas of the company that truly need it. This is probably most critical for sales and marketing, due to their relationship to company success—which of course leads us right into the subject of CRM (Customer Relationship Management).
This can of course mean that an adequate customer relationship management system may not be purchased due to price, but it can also mean adequate hardware or system requirements are not available for the CRM to operate properly. It can also mean that CRM is not a priority for IT to fully support. In any event, the net effect is a CRM that doesn’t back up sales and the company.
The solution is for a company to first fully evaluate what it needs in terms of automation and CRM system to fully achieve its goals, without consideration of budgetary constraints. Then find a way to meet those needs within or more closely within the company’s budget.
Input from All Affected Departments
Another reason a CRM can fail is that input is not obtained from the personnel in the company most closely connected with it. At the very least, anyone charged with purchasing and implementing a CRM—customer relationship management—should spend a considerable amount of time right in the sales department, watching salespeople work, noting the pitfalls they encounter, and talking with them at length.
Sales, by no means, should be the only sector of the company consulted. Sales managers should be interviewed regarding their requirements for analyzing and forecasting sales. Executives and finance officers should be asked for their specific needs as well. Marketing—most often left out of the loop—should be consulted for their needs as to implementing campaigns, analyzing promotion results, creating lead generation and more.
Where the above is not done, the CRM solution implementation can come off, to quote an overused phrase, like a square peg being forced in a round hole. In the end, it simply wastes very valuable time, morale, and resources.
Not Reflective of Real World
Another key reason a CRM can fall short of expectations is when it doesn’t reflect actual sales operations. Even if an actual sales process is not formally established, salespeople always have patterns they follow in qualifying leads, making contact with the prospect company, obtaining their requirements, providing needed information or demonstrations, and closing sales. A CRM that does not follow these patterns or at least take them into account is useless to sales reps as well as other CRM users throughout the company.
The result is a considerable expenditure with no return. Sales reps spend valuable sales time inputting information that cannot be properly used. Analysis and forecasts will be inaccurate.
The solution is to fully evaluate your sales pipeline before deciding on a CRM solution.
It would well behoove any company that finds itself with ineffective CRM (customer relationship management) to take steps to reverse the problem, using the above as a loose guideline—and find its way to true prosperity.
Watch for more upcoming articles on CRM (customer relationship management) issues and their solutions.