So often we hear about the pain experienced by inadequate CRM installation and usage; businesses paying through the nose for systems that don’t address their unique requirements, CRMs that aren’t used properly or at all, and bad aftersales service – the list goes on!
But what about when CRM goes good?
Great CRM implementation and usage leads to significant sales, business growth and competitive edge. The UK Treasury says, “Technologies such as customer relationship management (CRM) can increase sales by around 18% per employee over the course of three years.”
With such a significant endorsement it’s hard to see why CRM isn’t firmly at the heart of every business, steering them towards sustained growth. Unfortunately, when CRM goes bad it gives the whole CRM community a bad, unwarranted rep.
If you’re in the position of having an inadequate CRM, or are thinking of installing your first, follow the steps for success, below.
Setting the scene
Sowing the right seeds at the start of CRM implementation is key.
- Make sure the reasons for needing CRM are established. Use your business strategy to determine future goals and direction of travel.
- Who will be using the software once it’s implemented – what are their skillsets and how will these impact the complexity of the CRM?
- Would it be beneficial to integrate your CRM with other business systems such as stock control, accounting, and operations?
- How much do you want to spend?
- Is everyone on board? CRM should not just be of interest to Sales & Marketing – finance and operations should share the enthusiasm, as should business leaders.
Ask the experts
CRM means different things to different people. If you’re not sure of the best way to reach your goals using CRM, talk to people that are in the know. Tell them what you are hoping to use it for:
- Contact management
- Account management
- Pipeline management
- Customer service
- Knowledge base
- Communications tool
- Project management
It’s all in the data
Do you have clean data to install, and will you be using a single database across your business?
Integrating business systems that all make use of a single database leads to phenomenal cohesion and efficiency, dramatically enhancing the customer experience. Think of your best online retail experience; make sure you can offer a similar experience.
According to global social media giant, Hootsuite, “Just 10% of marketers have mature practices around integrating data into their enterprise systems. However, 85% of those with integrated systems have confidence in their organisation’s ability to quantify ROI.”
Which system offers what you need?
Ask all the questions you need to, and make sure you get answers you’re comfortable with.
- Will the CRM fulfil your requirements?
- Does it fit within your budget?
- Who will install it?
- Will everyone be able to use it?
- What aftersales service is available?
If you have a complex business chances are the CRM implementation will need specialists.
CRM often fails at the first hurdle when implementation is carried out incorrectly. Do you have staff with sufficient skills to carry out the task, are they keen to help and do they have the time? CRM technical experts will get the job done efficiently and correctly, ready for use asap – well worth considering.
It’s all in the planning… and beyond
Prepare well, ensure adequate support but most importantly, give CRM the respect it deserves. It can significantly help to ‘make’ a business when many around us are breaking.
For more information on CRM implementation and integration talk to Sparkstone. With over 20 years’ experience Sparkstone’s UK-based team of specialists are on hand to discuss your unique set of requirements and help you navigate your way to CRM success.