Customer Relationship Management systems bring a whole host of benefits to the sales and customer service industry. As CRMs maintain a repository of customer profiles, they enable a company to personalise the customer experience that they offer. This means that CRMs provide the ability to treat customers as individuals and can tailor the type of services and promotions that they are offered. The enhanced treatment of customers leads to better consumer retention and loyalty. CRMs also simplify marketing and sales techniques. The CRM stores information on how a customer would prefer to be approached for promotional offers. This ensures that the lead time on closing a deal is much shorter for teams who use CRMs.
Many companies utilise CRM systems with excellent results. They help to nurture excellent customer relationships by providing better reporting which leads to increased sales figures. Yet CRMs also have a reputation of being challenging to implement and not providing the exceptional results that were expected from such investment. CRM technology improves each year and there are some incredibly sophisticated CRM models on the market. So the biggest obstacle to successfully implementing a CRM in a company will not be the lack of technology, but rather the people within an organisation.
CRMs such as Salesforce are not plug and play systems. They’re not user-ready. They’re about people and processes and change. Therefore it stands to reason that users from all levels of your organisation will need to invest their time and interest into getting the most out of the CRM model. This means deciding what the primary goals and objectives are and creating a company strategy to work out how the output data will be utilised. If users from your organisation are not involved in the initial strategic planning of implementing a CRM, then the operation will be doomed to failure. Gather as many minds as possible so that your workforce is committed to the implementation of the CRM in your business. Everyone needs to buy into the system, in order to boost morale. If only a selection of your staff are committed to the CRM, then a negative vibe will be introduced to your company. However, if you bring enough people into the process from the outset, then they will care more about the success of the product.
It is not good enough to only include end-users in the implementation of your CRM. If you get senior management from the CEO, COO and CFO levels to show their passion for this innovation in your business, then the enthusiasm will filter down through the ranks. Members of staff from all levels of the organisation should be interviewed about their CRM goals. It might even be necessary to bring in an outside expert who can help to tie your vision and strategy together to ensure that your CRM implementation is a success.
It is essential that all users are given training on your CRM. Frontline staff in particular will suffer poor performances if they do not understand or utilise the new system that they are required to use daily. They might even regress to using ‘old methods’ of doing things, just to get their work done. This is not progress, so it is critical that a business factors in training costs when implementing a CRM. The training might be in the form of onsite demos, videos, courses or certification paths and can be carried out by either trainers or specialist consultants. Training topics should go beyond the initial implementation and also cover CRM challenges that your organisation can expect to experience in the future.
CRMs are not just for sales and marketing teams. Rather, CRM usage crosses over many departmental lines, so those people from teams outside the sales environment may be hesitant to get involved and be trained on the new system. It is up to management to persuade users from all areas that they need to get on-board with the CRM in order to improve business processes across the entire company. This may mean providing training that is tailored to each department’s needs rather than a generalist approach.
The process of data entry is tedious but it is an incredibly critical step in implementing a CRM. Your employees must trust in the quality of the data that has been imported into the CRM. They will simply stop using the system from the moment that trust is broken by the presence of inaccurate data. This means it is essential that the data that is input into your new CRM is clean without the possibility of duplicate or incorrect records. Part of your ongoing CRM strategy could be to have regular checks of the data with monthly meetings to check that your teams are still committed to the utilisation of this sophisticated system.
Stage By Stage Approach
Users can be afraid of too much change in their jobs or in the organisation as a whole. If you try to introduce too much to the people in your organisation from the outset, then they may deem the CRM as being too complicated a system to use. In an attempt not to overwhelm your staff, it is best to introduce the CRM in small steps. Present the CRM in a series of stages, which will reduce the stress on the users within a department. Once everyone is comfortable with how the standard CRM model operates, it will always be possible to add complex enhancements to it at a later date. If you try too much too soon, then you may have employees running for the hills and the implementation of your CRM will have been a failure.
One of the key tricks to successfully implementing a CRM in your organisation is to ensure that you fully plan for it to become part of your business processes, rather than an optional tool that can be utilised. Once it is integrated into your business culture and you have the commitment of the people in your organisation, you will reap the rewards of having invested in a CRM.
Salesforce is the world-leading CRM enterprise application, which enables the full management of company interactions with clients and customers. Our dedicated Salesforce CRM team regularly places candidates into roles such as Salesforce Consultant, Champion, Technical Architect or CRM Manager. If you would like to be appointed into such a position, or if you need assistance with your CRM staffing requirements, then get in touch with us today.