Successful CRM Implementation Requires Software Plus Skills

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CRMMany orga­ni­za­tions imple­ment a new CRM (Cus­tomer Rela­tion­ship Man­age­ment) sys­tem hop­ing to make dra­matic improve­ments in sales as well as to improve the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. While a new sys­tem can cer­tainly help, many com­pa­nies find that a CRM sys­tem alone isn’t suf­fi­cient to meet these goals.

Unfor­tu­nately, many CRM ini­tia­tives fail to reach the goals out­lined above. For­rester con­ducted research on the effec­tive­ness of CRM soft­ware and found that 47% of busi­nesses sur­veyed felt the func­tion­al­ity didn’t match what they were promised by the ven­dor. They sur­veyed this same group to under­stand the prob­lems that were encoun­tered. They found that while 30 to 40 per­cent of the prob­lems were due to the prod­uct, the major­ity of the prob­lems were related to the company’s employ­ees, the inter­nal processes, and the strat­egy for exe­cut­ing the imple­men­ta­tion. William Band, For­rester Vice Pres­i­dent and Ana­lyst says, “We found a lot of peo­ple acknowl­edg­ing that they didn’t have the skills that they needed to imple­ment the solution.”

Even with a suc­cess­ful imple­men­ta­tion, many com­pa­nies find that their goals are still not achieved. Employ­ees may know how to use the soft­ware and have addi­tional infor­ma­tion at their fin­ger­tips, but what if the sales team doesn’t have the skills needed to close sales? Will new soft­ware help them sell bet­ter? Will cus­tomer ser­vice reps have the skills to pro­vide ser­vice? Not as a result of pur­chas­ing new software.

Accord­ing to Band, author of Forrester’s The Future of CRM in 2013, what’s required to improve sales, ser­vice, and the customer’s expe­ri­ence is, “…a bal­ance of human and sys­tems sup­port…” To max­i­mize your sig­nif­i­cant invest­ment in a CRM imple­men­ta­tion, you need to pair the func­tion­al­ity of the sys­tem with improved cus­tomer ser­vice and sales skills. As part of your plan­ning process, develop a train­ing sched­ule to launch fol­low­ing soft­ware imple­men­ta­tion. In addi­tion to train­ing your direct sales staff, invest in tele­sales train­ing and cus­tomer ser­vice train­ing so that all your customer-facing rep­re­sen­ta­tives are equipped with the right skills to max­i­mize the new, robust infor­ma­tion they’ll have at their fingertips.

Imag­ine what your employ­ees could do with top of the line soft­ware AND best-in-class train­ing. Imple­ment one with­out the other, and meet­ing your orig­i­nal pur­chase objec­tives becomes difficult.

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