Forget Buzzwords: CRM Projects Achieve 3 Outcomes Only


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CRM business results come from drilling down.

CRM business results come from drilling down.

What do you want to get out of CRM?

Here’s a hint: Using CRM, there are only three possible business outcomes that you can achieve:

  • Growth: Increase revenue
  • Efficiency: Reduce costs
  • Customer experience: Improve the way that customers perceive you

Whenever clients engage Cloud Sherpas for any type of advisory work, those are the three business outcomes that we always aim for. Because for good or bad, that’s what CRM offers.

Drill Down

To achieve those outcomes, drill down on the goals you’re targeting. My recommendation is to always make your business outcomes:

  • Practical
  • Measurable
  • Actionable

Drilling down requires staying focused. Avoid buzzwords or lofty-sounding goals, such as creating a 360-degree view of the customer, getting closer to customers, or polishing your brand.

What do well-crafted business outcomes look like? On the growth front, perhaps you want to increase sales-closure rates. This doesn’t have to be the goal of every CRM program, but if one of the reasons you’re implementing CRM is to increase the percentage of deals you close, then that’s a real, measurable outcome to target. Or maybe your goal is to increase your cross-sell rate from 12% to 16%, likewise to generate extra revenue.

Case Studies: Real Growth, Efficiency, Satisfaction Strategies

To spark your growth, efficiency, and customer experience thinking, here are real-life business goal examples from Cloud Sherpas customers:

  • Growth: Life Insurer Sells More To Existing Customers. One Cloud Sherpas customer, an insurance company, wants to grow its business by selling more products to existing customers. While the insurer already has records for every employee that its policies cover, it currently works with just a single, group buyer at the customer. Going forward, however, the insurer wants to sell personal add-ons, such as more generous disability payouts, directly to employees, thus increasing revenue.
  • Efficiency: Panasonic Merges Multiple Sales Teams. Panasonic wanted to merge multiple B2B sales teams together, and have fewer sales reps cover a greater number of accounts. Accordingly, Cloud Sherpas helped the company design a CRM implementation project, using Salesforce, to support the business changes.
  • Customer Experience: Genzyme Supports Users. Genzyme manufacturers a drug called Cerezyme which treats a life-threatening, progressive genetic disorder known as Gaucher disease type 1. Simply put, if people with the condition don’t have the drug, they may die. Accordingly, Genzyme has created a patient service center that helps users understand potential drug interactions or side effects, troubleshoots supply shortages, and helps users stay healthy.

Business Plan: Interview Individuals, Then Group

When defining business objectives for your CRM program, ask each project stakeholder what the most important results will be, such as increasing wallet share or reducing the costs of generating leads. Then have them prioritize those objectives. Otherwise, people will say “all the above” when you ask them which results a project should achieve first.

Another CRM secret I’ve learned is to always interview project stakeholders individually and in a group, because a group’s agreed-upon project priorities may differ. For example, when we were helping one of our health insurance customers design and implement a CRM project, we interviewed every stakeholder individually about their project goals. Far and away, their chief priority was the same: “Cut costs.”

But when we gathered the stakeholders together as a group, everyone agreed on a much different goal: “The customer experience.” Simply put, every stakeholder wanted cost-cutting — just not in their part of the business.

As a result of those meetings, we were able to agree that the main priority for the CRM program would be to increase first-call resolution, which would both cut costs and improve the customer experience. That’s because every time a customer phoned the contact center, the customer care rep would be able to resolve the call more quickly and completely than before. Cue happier customers and increased employee efficiency, meaning the insurer saved money by not having to hire as many agents.

As that shows, the three different CRM business outcomes — growth, efficiency, experience — can sometimes be compatible, but that won’t always be the case. Accordingly, it’s essential to spend a little time at the beginning of a CRM project interviewing stakeholders and identifying the practical, measurable, actionable — and thus achievable — business objectives that are right for your business.

Learn More

Want to build a more effective CRM program? Then identify the next, best step for your marketing, sales or service program, by benchmarking your current program against the best practices we’ve assembled through our experience with more than 5,000 CRM projects. Once you’ve identified what to improve, then find the best tools and technology for the job.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user Robert S. Donovan.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.


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