CRM is More Than Just Technology
It's People and Process Too!
Too often when companies talk about a CRM Implementation, they’re referring only to the software they’re installing and how they plan to use the new features. Unfortunately, focusing solely on the software itself is not going to bring about fantastic business improvement. The rush to implement new technology often overlooks other very important aspects of successful CRM that we’ll explore here.
It’s a Three-stage Paradigm
Customer Relationship Management software exists because the information it provides can have a profound impact on the way your business relates to its customers. Successful CRM is a three-stage paradigm that involves people, processes, AND technology.
The IT roadside is littered with abandoned CRM implementations because those companies probably didn’t include people and processes in the project plan. To be successful, a CRM strategy must be well-planned and include people and process - two critical parts of the equation that are every bit as important as selecting the right CRM software.
The PEOPLE in the Equation
Still, a decade’s worth of surveys reveal that far too many think of CRM as a box of software packed with features and functions that, once installed, will transform the business. But CRM cannot succeed without end-user acceptance (including management) and continuous use.
Everyone affected by a CRM implementation must “buy in.” These are the people in people, process, and technology. Your salespeople, marketing folks, support personnel, management team, and your customers. Successful CRM requires a cultural shift within your organization. So without the buy-in of all involved, you’ll wind up with nothing more than an expensive electronic address book that nobody uses.
The PROCESS in the Equation
Once the entire company is ready for CRM, the process part begins. It’s important to look carefully and evaluate your current customer interactions and decide what processes can be improved … and how CRM can be used to achieve that improvement. It takes guidance for any process to be meaningful, so a strategy based on long-term goals is essential. What information are you going to include? How will you study, analyze and interpret the data? What criteria for action will you establish and what form will those actions take?
Putting it All Together
A road map can tell you how to get from point A to point B but it won’t take you there. The same holds true for CRM software. It can reveal the paths and connections between you and your customers, as well as the opportunities. But how you make it all happen isn’t going to come solely from the software. With the right people, process, and technology in place, your CRM strategy can create customers for life.
How do you determine if your CRM implementation is a success or a failure? Over time, CRM will yield more efficient, consistent customer and prospect interaction. That translates into more revenue, better profit margins, higher customer satisfaction and retention, and an overall healthy business.
Contact us if you would like to discuss CRM for your business success.