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The smarter way to think about CRM

26 Oct, 2017
6 Min Read Dan Ward

The smarter way to think about CRM

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Ever been involved in a CRM implementation that didn’t deliver the expected outcomes? With research showing that between30 and 60 percent of CRM projects don’t achieve return on investment, you’re not alone.

Failed CRM implementations aren’t just costly and time-consuming. They also put your organisation at a disadvantage, such as by widening the gap between strong and average performers. For example, effective organisations are 81 percent more likely to consistently use CRM systems than those that are less effective.

High achievers aside, where are organisations going wrong when it comes to CRM? In my experience, the problems start when decision makers assume that investing in a new CRM will solve all their business problems.

If only it were that simple.

The hard truth is that organisations need to look beyond CRM products to realise benefits like improved customer intimacy and growth. They must also:

  • Start thinking about CRM as part of a broader digital strategy
  • Be prepared to change the way they work
  • Focus on outcomes rather than specific technology products

Let’s take a closer look at how to achieve strong results from your next CRM implementation.

View your CRM platform as more than just a database Whether you end up choosing Salesforce or another CRM platform, chances are you’ll use it for one or more of the following applications:

  • Transactional:As an online portal for people to pay bills, renew licences and complete other transactions.
  • Operational:As a measurement tool to improve operations, such as tracking sales against opportunities and targets in real time.
  • To drive customer engagement:Recording information about customers to develop knowledge of their individual needs, and learn how to service them better.

I’ve noticed that many organisations are only interested in using CRM platforms for transactional and operational purposes. They don’t realise that CRMs can also be used to drive engagement - such as through personalisation and automation.

For example, if a sales representative can see that a customer is agitated due to an unresolved complaint with the customer service team, he or she can adjust their approach. In doing so, they increase customer satisfaction and improve the likelihood of future sales. Connect data points

CRM platforms need to integrate with a range of business systems to provide the most benefits. When organisations implement a CRM as a standalone solution, the results are predictably lacklustre.

If your marketing team doesn’t know what a customer has ordered because they don’t have access to purchase records in the CRM, for example, they can’t present tailored offerings. In the era of personalisation, this is a missed opportunity to meet customer needs.

Your implementation partner should help you identify which data sources to connect to your CRM to maximise speed, performance and the value of existing data.

Rethink your business processes

When a CRM fails to meet expectations, it’s rarely because of software or technical limitations. Most of the time, it’s because the organisation hasn’t adapted its processes and behaviours to get value from the new system.

When you introduce game-changing technology, you also have to rethink your business processes. If you try to retrofit old ways of working to a new platform, you’re unlikely to see return on investment.

Let me explain. Imagine that you splash out on a new car. After a few months, the clutch wears out from overuse. Would you replace the car? Or would you recognise that your habits need to change?

Writing off an entire product just because it doesn’t support old ways of working does not make sense.

It’s the same when it comes to your CRM. Organisations need to change their habits and processes in ways that leverage the capabilities of CRM in order to be successful.

For example, sales representatives may need to switch from tracking customer details in notepads to creating digital records. The good news is that when a few team members start changing, companies often find that it spurs others to get on board. When sales representatives can see their peers regularly updating customer information and closing deals in Salesforce, it tends to trigger a competitive gamification effect. In turn, this drives good habits. Remember, digital transformation takes time. Allow change to happen organically, giving staff time to see the benefits of change to their roles and to adapt behaviours accordingly.

Choose the right partner

Engaging a skilled and experienced technical partner to assist with your CRM implementation is a no brainer. At RXP, we focus on solving business problems. That means we design our implementation based on each business’ needs to ensure it achieves the right outcome. Importantly, we don’t believe in capturing every possible data point for the sake of it. Rather, we work out what information matters, establish the best way to capture it and configure analytics to interpret that data.

A partner that knows what outcome the business needs and that understands where a business is in their digital journey will go a long way towards shaping a successful solution.

What do you wish you knew before embarking on your most recent CRM implementation? To find out more about how CRM can help to build customer intimacy, download our white paper below.

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