CRM success requires not to focus on technology but, to focus on people

By: Ravi Kumar, Director CRM, Cubastion Consulting

There are countless cases of unsuccessful CRM projects. There’s more CRM initiatives that have spiralled out of control to become multimillion-dollar investments that negatively affected large numbers of customer-facing employees and didn’t deliver any real results.  The cost of poor CRM adoption is two-way: underutilized investment and unmet business objectives. Thoughtful selection and well-executed implementation are critical to ensuring that your CRM system meets your organization’s specific needs. Make sure you receive necessary features and support by staying on top of the process.

A recent survey depicts that to understand the risks and pitfalls that CRM professions need to navigate to achieve a successful CRM technology project. We surveyed 414 individuals who had been involved in a CRM technology project as a business professional in sales, marketing, customer service, or technology management within the past 36 months. Not surprisingly, it has been seen that successful CRM technology projects are not only about choosing the right software. They demand a balanced, multifaceted approach that addresses four critical fundamentals:

CRM operates at the heart of your business, using people, processes and technology to gain insight into customer and prospect behaviour, opening the door to improved customer service and new cross‐sell and upsell opportunities. It also helps streamline sales and marketing, and drives informed decision making throughout the organisation.
CRM is a business strategy with far reaching benefits – not only does it give every department and individual a real‐time, holistic view of a client or prospect, it also fosters a collaborative environment where employees share knowledge and insight.
In short, CRM helps you focus on generating high quality leads, closing sales, implementing highly targeted marketing campaigns and delivering exceptional customer service. Building a deeper understanding of every client helps you anticipate and respond to their unique needs – all within a software application that can be accessed anywhere, anytime via desktop, mobile and tablet.

If the organisations don’t get their CRM change management processes right, they will cause any initiative – including the CRM initiative – to fail.
Specifically, you need to plan carefully to facilitate changes in management and employee behaviours. Senior executives need to set the tone for the need for a customer-centric culture and new processes and tools that support customers more effectively. Leaders must plan for changes in the work practices needed to meet customer management goals.
Usage of continuous improvement processes to soften culture shock. Successful CRM requires an organization to learn new business processes. Organizations often underestimate the difficulty of work practices, redefining work roles and responsibilities, and aligning employee reward structures to support better customer engagement and service.

Overcome adoption issues by letting users influence functionality. Don’t expect high adoption rates for CRM processes and technologies that do not have a clear benefit for CRM users. Organizations must involve end users in the CRM selection process, in the rollout and early stages of use. They must get continuous feedback from users and act on it to roll out engagements and fix defects that impede productivity.

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