Not a week goes by without a new software company or third-party add-on solution entering the CRM marketplace. Gartner continues to find that CRM is not only the largest enterprise application software segment but also the fastest growing. Being that proven, larger, and leading CRM platforms, such as Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics 365, help improve client attraction, acquisition, retention, and loyalty en route to increasing corporate profits, the continued growth and popularity of CRM software is not surprising. The influx of new offerings and the speed at which vendors are now releasing new features and functionality make it challenging to keep track of all your existing code and future options for sure!
In light of all the innovation in the CRM and cloud technology sector, how do you know when it’s time and absolutely necessary for a CRM upgrade, to switch to a different system, and/or to perform a deep diagnostic of your end-to-end marketing, sales, and service processes?
Perhaps you find yourself often thinking, “Are we the only company still using this ancient, clunky CRM system that will soon be obsolete?”
If that is the case, it may appear, at first glance, that your antiquated, inflexible CRM system is the root cause of all your problems. It certainly always helps to have a more robust, configurable, user-friendly, and scalable system, but more often than not you also have widespread customer-centric culture, strategy, and business process issues. That’s where you’ll need to start before you address your technical limitations.
While “All of our competitors use the ‘XYZ’ CRM system,” might be true and seem like a compelling motivator to evaluate moving to a new and improved CRM platform, you’ll need far more justification than that, particularly if you still need to secure funding from your Investment Committee.
Also, it’s best to shy away from promoting and getting too attached to the latest “bells and whistles” that were just released or featured in a certain system’s product release roadmap. Promising that the forthcoming new functionality will be your firm’s “silver bullet” could backfire as it may not completely operate and deliver as your unique environment desires. Moreover, it might be a while before those hot new features are “live” and truly solid.
Instead, it’s best to identify your company’s most pressing client engagement-related business process challenges and articulate how solving those will not only accelerate your strategic customer experience transformation but also deliver a substantial positive revenue or profit impact. Often, many of these will help formulate the business case and win approval for initial or consistent, repeat investment related to a CRM fresh-start implementation, existing system upgrade, data migration, data integration, frequent ongoing enhancements, sales and marketing audit, customer journey mapping, customer care process improvement, or marketing communication campaigns.
Without further adieu, below, I have listed some common examples of business-driven pain points that often serve as focal points and triggers for the initiation of a mission-critical CRM engagement, which is often a key component of your firm-wide strategic CX improvement program:
- Do you feel overwhelmed with the plethora of prospect data available in the market today?
- Are you unable to effectively organize and obtain actionable insights from the sheer magnitude of customer data that you have accumulated over the years?
- Are you burdened by your inability to segment your most profitable clients or by a lack of unsearchable buyer/investor preferences and client data?
- Are you fed up with having to rely too much on inconsistent and inaccurate data to create your targeted audiences for your marketing outreach campaigns?
- Does your sales management team struggle to keep up with pipeline stages, opportunity forecasting, and deal won/loss trends?
- Are you alarmed at how long you have to wait for someone to produce and provide you with client profiles, sales pipeline forecasts, and sales YTD production reports?
- When you do finally receive the reports, are the data stale and the presentation not very intuitive or user-friendly?
- Are you fearful that the outdated client and sales pipeline data contained therein may flaw your decision making?
- Do you and your leadership team often grapple to know your top referral sources and where most of your business is coming from?
- Are you worried about a recent rise in client defections?
- Do you feel at risk of losing even more business to your competitors who better understand your customers than you do?
- Do you sense that “silo syndrome” has engulfed your divisions and departments thereby hindering employee collaboration, worsening the customer experience, and impeding your ability to analyze wallet share and uncover cross-sell opportunities?
- Are you baffled as to how long it takes to search for and locate prospect/client data points, documentation, and past interaction and purchase history?
- Are your RMs and customer care teams inundated with a large number of inquiries from clients, suppliers, partners, and colleagues and handcuffed by manual, inefficient processes that delay their inquiry response times?
Do any of the aforementioned business challenges resonate with you? Whichever ones they are, DO NOT let them fester!
Remember, industry leaders constantly make adjustments and move forward rather than make excuses. They always are in “attack mode” and are never content to back down and stay where they are.
In the year 2020, if your firm is still lacking a consolidated, 360-degree view of its clients, prospects, referral sources, and partners, you are at a severe disadvantage to your competitors.
It’s time to tackle that head-on and fix that…to craft your strategic CRM and marketing roadmap…to standardize, simplify, streamline, and automate your customer engagement lifecycle processes…to utilize your data to its fullest potential by making it more centralized, accessible, searchable, and reportable.
After all, failure to do so will result in further erosion of market share, even if and when the economy does rebound.