The end goal of any CRM integration is more time and money. The way a successful CRM integration gives you that is by saving time, money and delivering a better customer experience. The biggest issue organizations have is utilization. In 2013, only about 50% of executives felt that their CRM changes were successful. (Merkle Research Study) A similar study conducted by Forrester Research found similar results – 45% said they felt the changes had a successful impact. So, how do you protect your CRM investment from failure?
The solution is not a better technology. If you’re hoping for a quick fix from a new product, you’re just wrong, it’s not going to happen. Technology companies try to give managers the idea that they can skip operational and strategic decisions, but they can’t. A CRM system is just a technology for a customer-centric approach. Characteristics of a successful CRM system are usually embedded in the business process and customized to meet specific needs.
CRM should help customers and employees. CRM systems can help you become more customer-centric, but you need to consider the employees who will be using it everyday. One common mistake : introducing new CRM systems without training employees on how to use them. What good is a state of the art CRM system if your employees don’t understand how to use it? An often used strategy to protect against this type of problem is to introduce the new CRM system through increments, rather than all at once, giving employees time to familiarize themselves with it.
When you’re considering implementing a new CRM system, consider the skill-sets of your workforce. If you have a younger workforce, they might be unfamiliar with a lot of CRM systems on the market today, you should consider what effect this will have on your organization. Will it cause a disconnect between younger and older employees? It’s rare that a company will define a process without consulting employees prior, but it seems to happen quite often in this area.
Don’t be fooled by immediate progress. It’s easy to see a large gain when a new process is first implemented, but it is wiser to focus on the long-term approach. Consider the real cause of the spike in sales (or decline), don’t just chalk it up to the new system in place. And do not forget : employees are high-value assets, they are usually the biggest factor in determining whether your new CRM system is a success, don’t be wooed by the latest technology, think of the people who will be using it.
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