In a recent interview with Forbes, CEO of Spiro, Adam Honig, addressed the state of CRM. He said that “CRM is verging on becoming a failed software category,” and added that companies often give up on CRM early in the sales process. So why are companies giving up on it? It seems that many have trouble aligning CRM across departments, but there is more to the issue.
CRM struggles generally fall into three areas:
• A Lack of Knowledge: Many organizations find it hard to pin down CRM or find it hard to see how it is beneficial for their companies.
• Implementation: CRM implementation is a balancing act and can make or break an organization’s quest for CRM.
• Adoption: Many companies tend to struggle with motivating employees to use the software properly and consistently.
Let’s look at how to navigate through these three areas:
Lack of Knowledge
The general idea of implementing a CRM is to allow workers to store and track customer data in an online database and work more efficiently. Additionally, the functionality of CRM should include a designated application, cloud mobility, and full integration with other software systems such as ERP.
However, various capabilities and versions of CRM can cause confusion. Sometimes, online research isn’t enough to fully understand the software. So, setting up a governance committee sponsored by an IT department can better inform the users about the ins and out of a CRM and the particular functionalities and capabilities that may have been implemented or integrated for the specific needs and uses of that company specifically.
Also, free trials and CRM-related events also serve as great learning opportunities. Furthermore, consultants can also give better insights into the specific CRM functionality and software that can meet specific business requirements for your organization.
Many organizations fear CRM because of the implementation process. Implementing a CRM may be tricky because it is a complex process with many moving parts, and if a strategy is not in place a company can fail.
After selecting the appropriate software, it is recommended to follow a series of steps before implementation: envision how the software will benefit the company and how it should be used, perform solution research, create a roadmap, budget, and finally undertake a phased implementation.
Companies have different approaches to implementation, but there are guidelines everyone should follow. First and foremost, the Agile method is the preferred method for CRM implementation; it makes for an adaptive process that allows changes to be made to the software throughout implementation.
Another important concern is cost overruns. Even with some of the best budgeting, companies still find themselves paying more for development than anticipated. Therefore, rigorous project management can assist with this by monitoring the delivery methodology for cost controlling mechanisms. Also, it always helps to choose a trustworthy implementation partner that won’t charge unnecessary and groundless fees.
If your implementation fails despite diligent planning, it’s imperative to do a root cause analysis. This analysis will help pinpoint failures and increase the likelihood of success for future implementations.
As good as a CRM may look from a project manager’s perspective, it may look completely different to the rest of the organization. It will be hard to get everyone on the same page and agree to using it consistently.
Fostering a more unified adoption, may require executive sponsorship to show employees why adopting a CRM is worthwhile. This is of utmost importance. After all, around 33% of projects fail because of a lack of involvement from senior management.
Another significant issue with adoption is training. It is important to be creative with the training process and make sure it is engaging to workers – utilizing gamification is a suggestion to make training and engagement more exciting ultimately improving adoption rates.
It may also be of importance to shift the working ideology of the given company towards CRM adoption. If an organization prefers handwritten notes and spreadsheets to track all customer data, demonstrating how a CRM application expedites all processes, how it can empower employees, and most importantly create seamless experiences for customers can influence decision makers to adopt a CRM.
If different departments want to take it and run with it in different directions, don’t worry – that’s normal. Hear out all of the different viewpoints and let the roadmap guide priorities.
To summarize, there are three main hurdles to conquer for CRM success: lack of knowledge, implementation, and adoption. CRM can be a key not only in streamlining efficiency but also improving customer satisfaction and providing a unified system to increase sales. So don’t let fear of CRM allow your company to get swallowed up in a mess of handwritten notes and spreadsheets with 38 columns!