What You CRM Is What You Get
Probably the most important bit of information in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) space is that spending is on the rise. According to Gartner Inc., a global information technology research and advisory company, CRM software grew to $26.4 billion in 2015, up 12.3 percent from 2014. The numbers for last year came in around $31 billion and this year, Gartner predicts the market will be worth $37 billion.
According to the website SearchCRM.com, CRM “refers to practices, strategies and technologies that companies use to manage and analyze customer interactions and data throughout the customer lifecycle, with the goal of improving business relationships with customers, assisting in customer retention and driving sales growth.”
So, with that comes the desire of companies to maximize their CRM dollars, but of course put a system in place that works well and hopefully for the long-term. Still, problems will arise. For example:
Not seeing the forest for the trees – Sales data can tell you only so much about your customers. On the ground intelligence and an understanding of wants and needs by customers coupled with raw data will ensure a better sales and customer experience.
Don’t use data as a negative incentive – Telling sales staff what they missed based on data is not as effective as telling them what they got right and how to improve the parts that need improving. Help your sales people find solutions to things that have fallen through the cracks and how best to meet targets.
Design a CRM that is outward looking rather than inward looking – Customers, rather than the sales and marketing departments, should be determining the design of any CRM platform. Talk to your front-line sales people and, of course, your customers to determine needs and wants.
Think about corporate culture – Sometimes, implementation of a CRM flies in the face of corporate culture. Structural change, training, and strategy may all need to change when CRMs are implemented. Make sure measurements and monitors are in place to recognize where achievements are, and are not, taking place. Also, it is best to clearly define the goals of the CRM before it is implemented so that there is more buy-in and less confusion at the onset.
Overall, CRMs can help companies provide better customer service, increase revenue and (hopefully) simplify marketing and sales processes. What is key is ensuring implementation is done methodically and patiently so that everyone can get behind a new way of doing business.