Business organisations today operate in highly competitive markets. Changing customer needs, behaviours and expectations require an innovative approach in order to sustain successful business growth.
The notion of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is increasingly becoming an important focus for every organisation’s corporate strategy to enable the creation and development of customer relationships. The predominant concept is that a customer’s life-time value can be optimised when deeper relationships are formed between carefully-targeted customers and the respective organisations.
The sales management process is a core operation within every business organisation and yet it is relatively common to find this function based upon one or even more, rudimentary spreadsheets. Notwithstanding, the implementation of a CRM application too can prove challenging.
Following, are some of the most common barriers to implementing a CRM strategy and some advice in terms of overcoming them to make the most of a CRM investment.
1. Lack of business case with clear objectives
The company is unclear whether the results will be positive enough to take the plunge into CRM.
A CRM system is not just an IT solution to be bought and implemented but it is a business strategy change. By strategy, we mean having ‘a plan for a purpose’ – thus, the first step should include setting a clear goal (the purpose) and the efforts needed for positive results (the plan).
Appropriately, there needs to be a case showing how this system will ultimately pay for itself. Thus, setting budgets and forecasting the possible revenue helps in setting a clear vision of the objectives to be achieved.
2. Failing to see the real value in CRM
“I do not need a CRM system because I personally know all my clients and what they like.”
This assertion is often quoted by people who fail to see the real value of such a system. Such a statement may be applicable for organisations which have a very small number of clients or contacts but for the vast majority of business organisations this situation is undoubtedly not so. With multiple clients, the business may know some perfunctory aspects of the client-base but there is generally much more than meets the eye. A CRM system does not, as most people wrongly assume, simply maintain an electronic record on relatively static information about clients such as name, address, name of spouse and children, product preference, etc.
A CRM system maintains a 360-degree view of each and every interaction of a client with the business organisation, whether over the phone, the Internet or physically in person. Each and every detail is retained in order to assist in the development of a strong personal profile that enables hidden aspects of the interactions over time. These could indicate changing interests or even present cross-selling and up-selling potential that will bind the client even closer to the organisation.
Moreover, one single person, normally the business owner, may be familiar with a client’s predilections but this may not be the complete picture given that the client may regularly interact with other members of the organisation. The CRM application provides the infrastructure (sometimes referred to as the ‘glue’) across which every morsel of acquired information about a client can be collated for general sharing across the organisation.
3. Wrong perception about CRM suitability
A CRM application is best suited for mega-organisations who have hundreds of clients spread across the globe.
Contrary to this erroneous point-of-view, a CRM system is suited for any organisation of any potential size. The central criteria that ought to be adopted when considering the usefulness of a CRM system should be that which stems from having a client-base of whatever scale – from 1 to multiple millions.
All clients have their personal expectations which, given the impact of the Internet and social media, have changed dramatically over a short span of time. Consequently, for any business to get the attention of these customers, much less retain them or turn them into ‘word-of-mouth’ advocates of your products and services, it is today necessary to provide new means of developing and sustaining relationships in response to changed customer expectations.
4. Changing business approach
The fear of implementing a dead-end solution
Is your business set to undergo a degree of diversification in the coming future? As data might change, you might think that implementing a CRM solution would become outdated in a few years’ time but it will not. CRM functions are adaptable to suit many business models so all that needs to be done is to easily tweak its features and functionality accordingly if this is required. This will therefore keep data from becoming irrelevant to the end-users.
5. Workforce resistance to change
When certain departments within the company don’t fully understand their benefits from a CRM system.
CRM is never just about technology; it is about people and processes – supported by the right technology solutions.
Communication is key in these circumstances where change is forthcoming. The workforce should be engaged into a dialogue where they are explained what a CRM is and the changes in procedures needed for the goal to be reached. They should also be given the opportunity to speak up about their misconceptions and potential issues which may arise during or after implementation.
Training should also be provided regularly especially to update workforce on additional functionality.
At iMovo we understand the current trend towards examining the customer experience in terms of every single interaction through every employee in a business organisation, along with various other factors that impact on acquiring and retaining customers. We help organisations develop a CRM strategy with the primary objective of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of sales, marketing and service management in order to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, reach more prospects and increase revenue.
Our success rate in this regard makes us a natural candidate if you are looking for a partnership approach and need to leverage the power of CRM techniques and technologies in your organisation.
If you are interested in learning more about what a CRM system can do for you, feel free to contact us on [email protected]