Want to make your CRM implementations smoother, employees more productive and business more profitable?
Then resolve to do CRM right. As we move into 2013, here are five resolutions to help businesses get the most from their CRM investments:
1. Begin With Business Goals, Follow With Technology
Year in and year out, the chief CRM project mistake I see is businesses equating “doing CRM” with just buying software. As a result, they buy their technology–or worse, their IT department simply decides which software they should use–without actually defining the business goals that the technology should enable the business to achieve.
Do you want to increase the number of RFPs to which salespeople respond? Do you want to Increase service reps’ ability to resolve 90% of incoming calls on the first try? Or do you want to tie leads to closed deals, thus calculating the ROI of every marketing campaign?
Every business will have different goals and, as a result, every CRM implementation should differ because it will be designed to achieve those goals. Accordingly, the best CRM projects start with the business goals and always stick with the business goals–before, during and after finding the best platform for the job.
Your organization should implement the system using short, rapid phases, with each phase delivering a specific new business capability, thus fostering buy-in. Also, you should remain focused on outcomes such as doubling the number of customers each of your salespeople can visit, delivering more high-quality leads to sales or increasing customer satisfaction scores to 99%. Whatever you define as constituting success will be your goal. Instead of obsessing about tools, focus on results.
2. Sales Leaders: Pursue User-Focused CRM
The number-one challenge to the success of any CRM project is user adoption. You can build the fanciest system in the world, but without selling your users–and especially salespeople–on the new system’s benefits, such as how it will allow them to sell more and sell faster, you’ll face user apathy, and potentially a failed CRM project.
Accordingly, top CRM projects remain focused on users, and project success is measured not just via adoption, but also by calculating just how much additional productivity or revenue the new system helps generate.
To do that, work with end-users to help define what the system should do and how it should be done. Make these early adopters your project ambassadors who will train and cheer on their peers. After rolling out the system, ensure that everyone–from the CEO and VP of sales to managers and customer-facing personnel–lives inside the CRM system. The benefits will speak for themselves: the system can help transform salespeople into deal-closing monsters, while managers will get the shiny new reports and pipeline visibility they’ve been craving to help make more informed business decisions.
3. CIO: Serve As Trusted CRM Guide
Some of the most effective CRM projects I’ve seen invert the traditional IT approach to selecting technology. For example, I recently visited an electronics manufacturer that’s been evaluating which CRM software to select, and the CIO told me that the IT department preferred Microsoft CRM Dynamics: there’s a ton of in-house .NET talent, he said, and the IT department is über-comfortable with Microsoft’s products. But the sales guys, he told me, really want to go with Salesforce. So the CIO said that he’s backed going with Salesforce, not least because it will make getting users to adopt the CRM system so much easier.
That’s a very enlightened attitude. Some IT teams get caught up in worrying about storage or data security, but such concerns can be addressed just as well–or even better–in the cloud realm. Accordingly, the smart approach now is to let business users select their preferred CRM application with the IT department’s support and guidance. The purpose of information technology is to help the business do its job better. By letting the business team select its software, you’re already taking a big step toward ensuring that users will embrace it, thus delivering on that business-results mandate.
4. Marketing: Tap Social In Moderation
Without a doubt, the concept of social CRM, and the business upsides of using social networks, led the 2012 hype charts.
Accordingly, any business’’ resolution for 2013 should be to pursue all things social in moderation. Social CRM won’t cure every business ill–as the airlines’ Twitter efforts ably demonstrated last year–and not every CEO is Charles Schwab and can–or should–have a social presence online. Rather, businesses should study what’s social CRM is offering and then decide how, or if, social CRM and monitoring social networks will help improve their existing marketing, sales and service capabilities.
5. Service: Deliver Better Knowledge
The number-one customer service project in 2012, which I predict will continue for 2013, involves knowledge management. Yes, this concept has been around for ages, but today’s cloud-based knowledge systems, or knowledge bases, make it easier than ever before to capture the solution to a problem once and then enable service reps to solve it any number of times.
Many businesses tap CRM in part to automate numerous account management tasks for salespeople, thus making them more productive. The same goes for service, with many businesses now tapping cloud-based service tools that eliminate the need for customer service agents to maintain “shadow” databases and Word documents with solutions to common problems. By creating a bona fide system for managing knowledge–and consolidating customer account data–you’ll free service reps from having to comb though multiple databases and systems, thus eliminating that horrible refrain heard on too many support calls: “My apologies for the delay, the system sure is running slow today.”
By giving service reps access to better knowledge about common inquiries, problems and solutions, businesses can easily improve service productivity and see customer satisfaction levels get a boost as well.
Cloud Sherpas is one of the world’s leading Cloud Solutions Providers and helps businesses maximize their CRM returns by identifying desired business goals, finding the right tools and technology for the job, and delivering rapid implementations that remain focused on achieving your desired business capabilities.