Five tips to help you introduce a CRM strategy into your business
There are many reasons to invest in CRM software, but are organisations focusing on the right ones? LinkedIn and Twitter integration or anytime, anywhere access via mobile sound great, but how much practical value do they offer?
When it comes to CRM, many of the benefits appear too intangible:
Without a clear indication that CRM can deliver ROI, many companies will struggle to justify investment.
The truth is that CRM is about far more than real time interaction with LinkedIn or mobile access to customer history. With the right approach, CRM can transform both productivity and information accuracy, to deliver measurable value.
So how can a company make the case for CRM?
How do organisations without a CRM system manage communications with customers and suppliers? Most are relying upon Microsoft Outlook and, as a result, have a complex hierarchy of folders and subfolders where communications with individual customers and suppliers are stored – from reports and orders, to opportunities.
Managing this communication is incredibly time consuming:
In contrast, when Outlook is integrated into a CRM system, the process is streamlined and seamless.
Tip 1: Take an example customer and review an average communication pattern to that customer in one week. Then multiply this by the number of customers you have and any other stakeholders that you may be regularly communicating with such as suppliers, prospects etc Would you be able to easily collate a communication timeline if needed?
Organisations without CRM are still heavily reliant on Excel spreadsheets for reporting. In practice, this means significant time must be spent creating, collating and analysing business information:
Out of the box reporting from CRM transforms this model:
Tip 2. Consider the daily reliance on Excel spreadsheets in your business choosing two or three example employees across the business. How often do they utilise Excel? Where is that data duplicated? Now consider this across the organisation to give some context and scale to your argument.
One of the biggest complaints from sales people is the amount of time spent on routine administration that would be far better allocated to sales activity. Just consider the process that has to be followed every time an order is closed:
The entire process is time consuming and risks errors creeping in which could impact the overall customer delivery experience.
In contrast, using an escalation rule within CRM that entire process can be streamlined. As soon as the order is closed, the system:
Tip 3: Think you know how your business works? Ask department heads to document the end to end process of your business. Do they demonstrate efficiency? Is there any confusion over responsibility or duplication of effort? Documenting your processes may lead you to question if current activity is really serving your business well and where automation could result in higher productivity and improved service levels.
One of the biggest challenges for organisations is a lack of data accuracy – especially about customers. When lead capture is recorded in one place, prospect interactions in another, customer orders in a third, and on-going customer interactions in a fourth, the company faces immediate challenges:
In contrast, with a CRM system the information is entered once. In addition to improving accuracy, this single source of customer information can improve day to day performance:
Tip 4: How many times does a customer name get entered into a system in your organisation? Is there manual filing too? Does the marketing team use a different system to the customer service team? By reviewing the data held on one particular customer across all systems you will be able to identify duplication and errors…now multiply that by the number of customers, prospects and suppliers you work with.
In a growing economy, many companies are seeing more success from lead generation activity. But how effectively are these leads being utilised? It is widely accepted that if a hot prospect is not contacted within 24 hours, that individual will contact someone else; the pressure is on to ensure every single lead is followed up, quickly.
There are a number of ways the CRM system can be used to improve communication with prospects and customers. For example, a prospect visiting an exhibition stand has a chat with the sales person and hands over a business card:
Tip 5: Think initial enquiry to order. Then think order to cash. What does that currently look like in your business (look back at your business processes again) and what is the timescale attached with each? Can you speed it up through automation and using CRM to give you a single point of view?
Making the Case
Organisations increasingly want to invest in technologies that improve the quality of customer engagement; they need to increase productivity, ensure leads are effectively utilised and maximise up and cross-selling opportunities.
To make the business case for CRM investment, it is essential that organisations focus on the immediate benefits in areas of productivity and customer data accuracy that can be attained.
Utilising CRM enables companies to:
By minimising mundane tasks and providing fast access to accurate information, organisations can achieve a fast ROI from the CRM investment.
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