After working in the CRM world for 15 years, I continue to be amazed at CRM and the direction it takes. Besides being a fantastic “customer database,” CRM is critical for forecasting, service, and marketing. Social CRM is now critical tool, and CRM without a mobile component is “so last-year”.
This got me to thinking, “why aren’t many C-Level executives embracing CRM?” Everyone else in their organization, especially those on the front-line, has either embraced it or is screaming for it. Sales, marketing, and service cannot live without it in most organizations.
The technology is better than it has ever been. People expect that when they go to work in sales, marketing or service that they will have a CRM system, so what is keeping most businesses from truly experiencing CRM euphoria? I think its C-Level fear.
- Fear of technology
- Fear of investing in software failure
- Fear of failure
The biggest fear I see from C-Level is the fear that CRM will not provide a satisfactory return on investment, and therefore be a burden to the company. To combat this fear, C-Level executives often make irrational decisions based upon their fear. This is typical of what I have seen companies do based on C-Level fear:
- They choose not to work with an expert and implement CRM, putting CRM success in wrong hands
- They choose not to integrate back office systems with CRM, creating duplication of data entry and another silo of data
- They choose to do a pilot program with a handful of users and doom it to failure before it begins
- They make CRM usage optional
The best way to ensure CRM success it to do the opposite of what your C-Level fear tells you to do:
- Work with best CRM facilitator you can afford. Go through the process of defining goals, setting strategy, changing process and adapting culture as you implement CRM
- Integrate, integrate, integrate! The majority of your people should have only one place to go to get all information about a customer
- Do a pilot to work out the kinks, not to determine feasibility. You will not prove success in just six months
- Invest the time into change management and make CRM usage a requirement
Finally, realize this. Thousands of companies like yours have successfully implemented CRM and have greatly exceeded their ROI expectations. It’s not like CRM is a new or emerging technology, it has been around for 20+ years! Look around you. Look at your processes, the way you quote and follow-up, the service you provide to your customers, and the time wasted internally looking for data, and you should have no problem on the ROI front.