Four Steps to Getting From CRM Implementation to Increased Revenue


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This post originally appeared on MSDynamicsWorld.

With pressure mounting on businesses to drive meaningful results, despite facing fewer resources and increasing complexity, extracting value from your CRM implementation and usage is more important than it’s ever been. One easy way to do that is to ensure that your CRM does not operate in a silo, but rather critical customer data moves freely between systems. Integrating data can drive impressive business results – according to a recent study conducted by Scribe, we found that integrated CRM data equals better accuracy and consistency of customer information for 63% of businesses, followed by reduced time for accessing multiple systems for 44%, and achieving a holistic view of the customers for 41%. Companies that integrate their email with their CRM see year-over-year revenue gains of 22.7 percent vs. 13.4 percent for companies who don’t, according to Aberdeen.

Breaking down silos in the enterprise can yield all sorts of benefits, but my years in business software and the Dynamics CRM ecosystem have taught me that no system can do that job alone. Systems integration consultants play a critical role in nearly all successful Dynamics CRM implementations, especially those that grow larger, more complex and more ambitious. To that end, I connected with Jim Sheehan, PowerObjects‘ Chief Operating Officer to identify the key steps to follow in extracting maximum value of CRM systems. Here are four steps that Jim and I identified as critical to getting from CRM implementation to increased revenue.

Before You Implement, Think Big, (But Act Fast)

Thinking big is all about defining your business goals. At the highest level, that means mapping out the exact business processes businesses want to improve with CRM and data integration. For Lortscher Agri Service, Inc. (LASI), an animal nutrition provider and PowerObjects customer, the blue-sky goal of a CRM was to streamline processes and create a centralized information database. After their CRM implementation, the company cut response times in half, enabling better customer service and increased sales.

At the same time, you want to tackle any low hanging fruit quickly – is there something that you can fix right away that would make the salespeople’s lives better, for example? By achieving little wins fast, you encourage company-wide CRM adoption and usage – a key driver of revenue.

Engage Your Stakeholders

To drive CRM adoption and business results, businesses need to make the benefits of CRM clear. It’s important to make the CRM system work for the stakeholders from the outset. To accomplish this, those implementing the CRM must understand the needs and requirements of all stakeholders. Talk to all customer-facing functions – sales, marketing, and customer service. Determine how they will use CRM, what data they’ll want to access and on what devices they’ll want to access it. Goal alignment ensures stakeholder satisfaction.    

Make Your CRM Actionable: Map and Integrate Your Critical Data Sources

Increasingly, data comes from multiple sources, like on-premise, cloud, mobile, external apps, all of which need to find its home in your CRM system. This means that mapping out the data sources and data inputs from these sources requires a data integration solution that combines real-time, near-time and historical data. You need a data integration platform, a process, and an on-going methodology to manage data proliferation
and data quality.

Managing Mobile Data

Mobile data integration is increasingly on the radar of small and large businesses alike.  According to Scribe’s research, conducted in 2012, 53% of businesses say that mobile CRM is either important or very important to their business in 2012 and beyond. To manage the process of mobile data integration into your CRM solution, consider how much and what data needs to be available via mobile devices. Businesses need to define exactly how sales people will be using the CRM on-the-go to manage the data overload issue that can negatively impact adoption.

External App Data Integration

The other important distinction is the quality of data you are collecting in outside silos, like your email system, your online event management system and your eCommerce system. That rich data should also be integrated into your CRM as it can be used to color customer interactions. 

Don’t CRM It Alone

The increasing complexity of doing business today demands that businesses look for experienced partners to help them get from CRM implementation to revenue. But don’t just take my word for it – those businesses, which engaged experienced CRM consultants, are more likely to both get more value from their CRM investment and measure that value.  Businesses serviced by third-party systems integrators tend to be more integrated as the data in the following chart indicates:

Source: State of Customer Data Integration 

Keeping the big picture in mind, working closely with key stakeholders and sharing critical customer data among systems will go a long way in driving measurable value from your CRM.

Lou Guercia
As President and CEO for Scribe Software, Lou is responsible for Scribe's direction, continued growth as a leader in mid-market and enterprise integration as well as the company's entry into the cloud through integration-as-a-service (IaaS) offerings. He is a member of the SIIA Software Board of Directors and the MassTLC Cloud cluster.


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