From my experience, businesses who own a piece of CRM software will probably sit in one of two camps; those which utilise CRM in one area of the business to perform a very linear function, sitting it alongside various other software applications that have been accumulated as the business has grown, to perform certain functions.
The other camp are companies which have adopted a full CRM strategy with CRM being their lifeblood and central hub of all activity. It is the first port of call for all commercial employees and acts as a window into all other applications, giving company-wide visibility to those who need it.
A common misconception is that CRM will replace the functionality of other business applications you have. CRM’s very nature is flexibility so allows this sort of manipulation. However, developing CRM to perform functions outside of its original remit is not always the best route. For example Back Office (ERP) functionality should not be recreated in CRM. Don’t reinvent the wheel; leave application specific software to do what it is best at. CRM should act as a central hub to perform commercial functions and then launch other applications where necessary in a company’s process workflow.
Companies which utilise CRM in its most powerful format – as an umbrella sitting above all other applications are the ones which understand the benefits and will be singing the praises of CRM. Organisations which utilise CRM “software” for singular business functions have less favourable things to say and can sometimes see CRM as a useless or restrictive tool.
The trap which many organisations fall into is someone saying “we need CRM”. The company then gets all excited about the possibilities, gets demos off various resellers, then investigate the costs and fail to justify them. They then either abandon the idea or go for a cheap version in one area of the business as a “trial” and fail to make the true investment into CRM.
In order to make a success of CRM, an organisation must be willing to invest. They must stand back and scope fully what they need and what can be accomplished. They must not underestimate the time and manpower needed for successful implementation and the whole company must be on board and educated about the benefits. They must also not underestimate the power and commercial advantage over competitors that a properly managed CRM system gives you.
The most successful companies I have worked with know the value of investment in IT, know their customers, know their markets and every individual in the organisation is empowered with this information…..because it’s in their CRM system.
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