A successful CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system is more than software and technology. Surprised? It is more than simply automating your customer, marketing, and sales processes. And CRM is not an accounting system, nor just a sales-automation system. Surprised even more? And it definitely is not a plug-and-play tool. Disappointed?
When selecting a CRM system, marketers go through a checklist of desired product features and CEOs identify expected results. These, of course, are basic steps for a successful CRM. But there's more.
For a CRM system to perform satisfactorily, here are three more criteria to consider when talking with CRM providers. They can mean the difference between your being a CRM lover or a CRM hater.
Realize That CRM is a Strategy, not Just Software nor Technology
A starting point when buying a CRM system or, indeed, whether to invest in CRM at all, is to have a strategy: measurable goals and a plan to achieve the goals. Define and rank your goals, such as to improve customer service, increase qualified leads, and increase sales.
If you are not operating now with a good strategy, manually or with a non-CRM system, then adding a CRM system will merely amplify what's not working right. And you will join many others who are pondering why their CRM isn't meeting their expectations.
Keep in mind, you are managing customers and not just the product or service that you sell.
Look for strategic ways for your business to grow from satisfied, loyal customers.
Thoroughly Understand How You Currently Find and Serve Customers
Hand-in-hand with your strategy is a thorough understanding of your current processes for finding and keeping customers. With this in mind, your CRM software and technology will then harmoniously support your strategies.
In detail, walk through the ways you do business now, from marketing and selling to keeping satisfied customers. Think outside the box.
Our client COSE (Council of Smaller Enterprises, in Cleveland, Ohio) found that, thanks to our prompting to think outside of the box, some parts of their CRM system that they didn't think about initially have become their biggest benefits.
Before starting to work with their new CRM system, every user should be trained. This will help to assure that everyone accepts the system and uses it most effectively. Training should be for both how the CRM software works (product features) and how processes will be performed. The "how processes will be performed" ties back to the previous criteria for understanding current processes.
Companies that have successfully employed a CRM system find that rehearsals or practice sessions before putting the new CRM to work can resolve uncertainties and identify areas for specific concerns. Successful CRM users also budget for and devote adequate time for initial training which continues for new employees and new processes as they arise in customer service, marketing, and sales.
What Your CRM Provider Can Do to Help You Get the Results You Want
Research shows that that for every dollar a company invests in a CRM system it earns $5.60.
To get this ROI, along with determining software features and technology, a CRM provider can help you to:
- Develop a strategy with measurable goals.
- Thoroughly understand your current processes (thinking outside the box).
- Train all of your CRM users.
InfoGrow would like to be more than your CRM provider. We want to be your partner. We expect you to achieve the results that you anticipate with our services. The best way I know to meet our obligation under this position is by never offering any service or product that we don't use in our own business.
Call 800-897-9807 for assistance with you CRM.