How to Make a CRM Work for You

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Common CRM Implementation Failures to Avoid

The uptake of CRM software is growing at a steady rate of approximately 13% each year over the last few years according to reports from Gartner (2014; 2015). And with good reason – CRM software enables companies to grow loyal relationships with their customers by allowing a better understanding, segmentation and tiering of their customer base, improved targeting of promotions and cross selling, and the implementation of alerts that signal a customer is about to depart. CRMs are a complex software that can deliver what many refer to as a ‘360 degree view’ of their customers.

Unfortunately, some firms view CRM systems as a Customer Relationship strategy rather than a tool for facilitating successful Customer Relationship strategies. We’ve put together a list of the most common CRM failures, as well as solutions that can take this sophisticated software to its full potential.

  1. Thinking that CRM software is a Customer Relationship strategy

It’s easy to think that implementing a CRM system will automatically provide customer relationship strategies. However it would be more accurate to think of a CRM as an instrument for enhancing a business’ customer relationships.

Solution:
Create a Customer Relationship strategy that involves the use of CRM software. A good Customer Relationship Management strategy should involve strategy development, value creation, multichannel integration, information management and performance management. For the best Customer Relationship Strategy, ensure you engage with your marketing and sales team when developing this strategy, or even gain advice from a marketing agency.

  1. Failing to realise the customer is the focus

CRM software shouldn’t just deliver benefits to the company but the customer as well. Often businesses introduce a CRM devoid of the objective of delivering consistent service for their customers across all customer touch points and delivery channels.

Solution:
Consider what additional value can a CRM bring to your customers? Not only will a CRM aid in delivering a consistent experience each time they interact with your company, but are you able to identify particular customer groups and devise a more customised product accordingly, for example?

  1. Inadequate support from top management

Any CRM strategic effort will be lost without the voiced support and committed engagement from top management.

Solution:
The truth is that CRM software doesn’t work on its own. You get out of it what you put in it. If staff aren’t using your CRM then the potential of this incredible technology is wasted. Get creative and think up ways that encourage staff to use the CRM. For example, reward those sales that have been entered through the CRM and those that haven’t been don’t get acknowledged. When there is enough data, show your staff what their efforts are contributing to.

  1. Forgetting that business processes need to change to fit with the new technology

One of the benefits of CRM technology is that it introduces new and efficient ways of doing things. It also requires a new way of doing things to get the best out of the system. This means that customer service and back-office processes should be re-assessed as part of the CRM implementation process.

Solution:
It is worth sitting down with a team of people that represent each area of the business, writing out the current processes and seeing where changes need to be made. Once this has been identified, effective change management will be required which requires engagement and support from all employees. This will help with training and getting to know the CRM as well by giving its functions a context.

  1. Making light of data integration

Your business may or may not have had a CRM previous to the one you are implementing. Either way, your business is bound to have customer data lying somewhere. Hopefully your business has been fairly organised and the data is in a concentrated area. But it is not uncommon for firms to have customer data scattered all over the company. It cannot be stressed enough how valuable customer data is. It is critical to think of your customer data as a company asset. Customer data is the information that allows your organisation to make educated decisions, target your marketing accurately and cost effectively, as well as deliver the best customer service possible.

Solution:
Locate all areas of company customer data; extract the data and import into your new CRM. It is likely that your company has other software technology that performs other tasks that a CRM cannot. Talk to your CRM provider and find out whether your other software and CRM can be integrated to share data. This will eliminate doubling up of work and increase the accuracy and cleanliness of your customer data.

  1. Thinking of a CRM as a technology initiative

It is easy to make the mistake of thinking of CRM implementation as the responsibility of the IT department. While the IT department can assist with the technical aspects of the implementation, it is vital to keep the focus on the CRM strategy your marketing and sales management team have developed and ensuring that the CRM is set up accordingly.

Solution:
The marketing and sales management team should work collaboratively with the IT team when setting up the new CRM. This will allow for strategic direction to take the forefront of the project and learning the CRM will come all the more naturally. The marketing and sales team will then be able to pass on their knowledge to their employees while training them for the new software.

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