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7 Steps to CRM Success

A dedicated CRM system can make huge improvements in the efficiency with which a company is able to manage and organize all their customer related information. CRM software helps keep tabs on all information related to leads, customers, partners and competitors. It greatly decreases the possibility for a company to overlook important details and miscalculate outcomes.

Every organization has its individual business processes and strategies, the CRM system should be customized to match existing and future requirements - an out-of-box solution can lack scalability and hamper user adoption.

Successful CRM implementations ensure users have secure access to create, view and edit all relevant records around-the-clock from any location through web-enabled devices. They enable organizations to focus their energies and money on the demographics most likely to respond to campaigns and ensure optimum lead conversions.

CRM Adoption

CRM adoption is a conjunctive effort between CRMnext and all stakeholders, understanding the roles, products and unique requirements of all stakeholders is vital.

Like the proverb - 'you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink', members of the sales team are not likely to enter their records on the CRM software. They are usually weary of allowing visibility for the details of their leads or accounts and therefore the most difficult to convince. Also, some perceive they are wasting time on replicating non-core activities by adding information to the CRM that is already on their personal portable device.

If all CRM users are not convinced to update the CRM system it will lead to a failed implementation - there will be inadequate customer information for generating business intelligence and improving customer experience. Make it clear to all stakeholders that the CRM is for everybody's benefit and not a policing tool to maximize the organization's profits. Clear pipeline visibility, enhanced collaborations and real-time customer information are appreciated by all employees. Also, knowing data is secure, yet accessible from any web-enabled device is beneficial for all customer-facing teams and top management.

The Seven Steps to CRM Success

  • Communicate the vision of CRMThe CRM vision dictates what should be done to generate a unique CRM experience and be deeply engraved in the culture of delivering it at all touch points, consistently. Communicating the vision of CRM effectively, hence, ensures that everyone know the value derived from CRM solution. Organizations must use multiple channels to ensure this message is clearly understood. The consistent flow of information also ensures this for new members in the organization. CRM solutions are efficiency tools instead of 'monitoring' tool. Management team must consistently drive the communication instead of individual teams.
  • Create a 'Core Team'Members from across functional roles should share inputs from all customer touch points and customer facing teams. To ensure user friendliness and real-time data, different roles will be required to guarantee coordination, integration and data migration for a 'true' customer view. Enlisting the correct person from each functional role will ensure accountability and accuracy of relevant information. Most experienced consultants recommend the Core Team should consist of six members. Electing a member of the top management as part of the core team will ensure the correct business goals are incorporated and encourage others to contribute their opinions. Field level staff who will be using the CRM need to be represented, this will assist in creating user friendly interfaces to capture all relevant customer information. Inputs related to inter-departmental coordination, mandatory information and reporting requirements from middle and senior level management will ensure credibility for customer information, dashboards and analytics.
  • Configure the system correctlyInvolve all stakeholders in the requirement study and keep them in the loop for related decisions and configurations.Identify "CRM captains" in every department to collate information and do not ignore their feedback. An information overload should be avoided initially, 'phantom strategies' will lead to inefficienct use of productive time. What works for the top management is not always relevant for other users and should be incorporated after careful thought. Interfaces with terminology that is not understood by various users will lead to low user adoption. Also, interfaces that are time consuming to upload or access information will frustrate users and customers put on hold.
  • Understand the stakeholders' motivationsUClearly explain the benefits of the CRM implementation in relation to each role and specific teams. Motivated users are more prone to using the system than those who are forced. The sales team can be convinced to adopt the CRM by demonstrating how it will allow more time for core activities and integrate information from multiple systems to reduce paper work. Explaining the "Give to Get" philosophy explained above will ensure clarity for the purpose of implementing a new CRM system.
  • Identify 'Smart Automation' hooksEnsuring customer information can be accessed on a single interface without navigating between multiple systems will ensure higher user adoption. Integrate all systems that are used regularly to create or update customer information. Providing a single interface for multiple sytems with real-time data will allow more time for users to build rapport with customers and improve customer experience. The less time that is spent on accessing other systems, the more that can be effectively used for adding beneficial customer details.
  • CRM has a maturity roadmapUnderstand clearly where you are in the CRM evolution cycle and progress step-by-step. There are typically four stages in ascending order - plan, enforce, evolve and enrich.
  • Keep the excitement aliveSet fortnightly "CRM Days", when everyone will focus on updates. Additionally, create "CRM Best Practitioner" awards and incentive programs for teams.
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