Leaps Over Bureaucracy in a Single Bound: SaaS as a Quick-Fix CRM “Band-Aid”


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Holding out for a hero? Just rent one. Photograph by davidChief.

Need to deliver a new product or service to market, as fast as possible, but your existing CRM software can’t keep up?

Dutch landline and mobile telecommunications company KPN faced just this challenge when rolling out a new product. KPN had already launched an overhaul of its existing CRM system, which it expected to finish in 18 months. But the new product couldn’t wait, or else the competition would gain the upper hand.

Enter the SaaS band-aid solution.

KPN Applies Band-Aid SaaS

To enable KPN to quickly get its new product to market, Innoveer helped the company implement a cloud CRM (aka SaaS CRM) system, in just 4 weeks. The approach didn’t pretend to provide a 360-degree view of each customer, but rather gave the new product group the top CRM functionality it required — to create quotes, receive orders and enable the 40 people in the call center to provide appropriate levels of service.

In other words, KPN got the CRM capabilities it needed to quickly bring its new product to market. Crucially, however, before rolling out Oracle CRM On Demand to the new product group, Innoveer helped KPN briefly identify exactly what it needed to achieve with the software.

An Ounce of Prevention

Many people worry that CRM planning means a long time frame and a lot of hard work, but the opposite is true. Successful CRM projects, especially when used for interim purposes, can’t be “big bangs” that immediately launch every possible feature or capability. You’ve got to prioritize.

As highlighted in our recent case study of client Genzyme Biosurgery, successful CRM projects of any size implement the most-needed functionality first, sell it hard to ensure users embrace it, and gradually add more capabilities, if required.

Maybe it’s counterintuitive, but a little time spent on the front end — determining exactly what you need — saves a lot of time on the back end when implementing. In addition, it can dramatically lower project costs.

Don’t Be Black & White

Why buy the cow? Photograph by JelleS.

The beauty of using cloud CRM software is that when you’re done with it, just cancel the subscription.

KPN, for example, rolled out its large CRM project a couple of years later, which replaced — on Innoveer’s advice — its multiple, product-focused CRM systems with a single, customer-focused CRM system. At that point, KPN also migrated the interim cloud CRM functionality from the standalone project mentioned above, into its new, global CRM system.

The KPN example isn’t an isolated trend. In fact, many of Innoveer’s clients have used cloud CRM as an interim solution. For example:

  • PRS for Music used Oracle CRM On Demand to support a particular marketing campaign, then later decided to adopt the software as one of its CRM systems.
  • Iron Mountain rolled out Oracle CRM On Demand to an Australian business unit because at that point, integrating the unit with the main, on-premise CRM application didn’t offer a good enough return on investment.
  • Pharmaceutical clients often roll out Salesforce.com to sales teams in smaller countries, such as Greece and Portugal, because they need CRM functionality but not necessarily the time, expense or feature set of a full, on-premise CRM system.

Need An Escape Plan?

One risk, perhaps, with an interim cloud CRM approach is that the software could create islands of information, and make it very difficult to later integrate this data back into the main view. Innoveer helped KPN manage this challenge by using Oracle CRM On Demand, in part because Oracle makes it relatively easy to move the data to its on-premise Siebel CRM software.

The cost? For KPN, from a pricing standpoint, cloud CRM only cost the company 1% of the price of its all-encompassing, company-unifying new CRM system, and it supported the new business group for almost two years, giving KPN an “early mover” advantage. Hence from a time-to-market, cost and functionality perspective, the interim CRM strategy was quite successful.

Lessons From Interim SaaS Successes

Making businesses more “agile” is a big buzzword these days, intended to invoke greater organizational flexibility and more rapid time to market, for reacting more quickly to changes in the marketplace and seizing new opportunities. From an agility standpoint, cloud CRM is tailor-made to support interim customer-facing marketing, sales and service requirements, because you can rent the software without having to buy. When you’re done, cancel your subscription. What could be more flexible?

So don’t get hung up on having to have a single, big CRM system that does everything, especially for temporary requirements. CRM is a tool; use it where you need it.

Learn More

Which cloud CRM software is best? See our CRM Software Smackdown to find out.

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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