Thursday, December 5, 2013

5 Top Tactics to CRM Success

CRM, or Customer Relationship Management is a business strategy that is applicable to every company – from a one man show to a large enterprise. While it is true that the bigger the company and the more customers you have, the more complex your customer engagements will be - CRM strategies across the board, all too often fail. In this article we pinpoint the top 5 reasons for failure and also provide some insight into how you can turn an ailing CRM program into a prosperous one.

Rita Whittington] Recent research has found that while many companies have realised some benefit from CRM software applications, an alarming 80% of the potential benefits have yet to be achieved.

We must then question why so many organisations are not gaining full ROI (Return on Investment) from their CRM technologies, think about whether the technologies themselves are to blame and discover strategies that will transform this situation into a more positive outcome.

The Top 5 Reasons Why CRM Fails

1.    Siloes and Separation

Historically, companies have made Customer Relationship Management (CRM) investment decisions for each of the three associated siloes within the business. These siloes include sales force automation, marketing automation, and customer service and support. In addition, within many organisations that we meet, we see these three siloes, plus the front and back office, the management team and the C-Suite (where there is one present) - each working separately. Instead of working together as a united front, many companies seem to be inadvertently polarising teams within the organisation both on the human resource and technological front. Due to the resulting lack of communication and united focus, productivity is severely compromised and more importantly, the customer experience is almost always negatively impacted.

2.    Inaccessible Data and Systems

Much of our workforce today operates across multiple devices, from desktop computers, to tablets and mobile phones. While partial access to data and applications such as email and selected productivity tools is available – these are often offered as separate applications, and do not always enable the required level of interaction which would enable individuals to update or access real time data in a remote scenario. In a world where mobility is necessary in order to remain competitive, this reduces productivity and accuracy. While security concerns are often cited as the reason for not enabling mobile access to data, solid security strategies can be implemented which serve to fully protect your data and environment.

3.    Low Levels of User Adoption

Change, or even imminent change, unfamiliarity and a lack of knowledge are the three main reasons why individuals fail to embrace new technology and new software applications. Unusable and complicated systems are difficult to get used to or even learn and all too often, software applications don’t work as advertised. This serves to alienate individuals who may already have what is a fairly common, built-in ‘fear’ of technology and even the best CRM strategy will therefore be compromised. In addition, CRM software is very often rolled-out to hundreds of employees at a time, making it difficult to manage quality and efficiency and understand the ROI.

4.    Seeing CRM Purely as a Technology

One of the foremost reasons why CRM fails, or does not yield the outcomes it should, is as a direct consequence of companies approaching the CRM strategy as a software project. CRM is first and foremost a customer-centric business strategy within the organisation. It is not a software application. A ‘customer first’ approach must always be adopted where the entire CRM strategy focuses on employees from all relevant departments, serving the needs of the customer, into which the CRM software application is incorporated to facilitate getting the job done.

5.    Planning

Solid planning is absolutely critical to CRM success. CRM projects often focus on only selected aspects of the customer experience and as a result, employees then run into trouble when they find that they are unable to link all aspects of the customer service experience. This is linked directly to the siloed approach that we spoke of in point #1. In addition, we have found that solid roll-out plans and ongoing CRM improvement and monitoring is not integrated correctly or consistently, making pitfalls inevitable and failure imminent.

Top 5 Approaches to Ensure CRM Success

1.    Team Collaboration

The comprehensive integration of teams and collaboration between individuals is the way forward for companies seeking to institute successful, prosperous CRM strategies. To support this, certain CRM software applications negate the need for separate software applications for each department. Comprehensive applications, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, provide for a single repository of data and a standardised way of working, making it easier to more accurately manage, contribute to, disseminate and access data.

2.    Anywhere Accessibility

Companies that enable sales mobility, regularly outperform those who do not because the ability to access customer and product or service data on the move will reduce the time between the client interaction and sale. As a result, those companies in the know are gearing up to empower their sales force with mobile CRM. The key is to ensure that your mobile CRM enables user access to all relevant customer data in your CRM system, irrespective of the mobile device they use.

3.    Enthusiastic User Adoption

If software and processes are either too foreign or complicated to use, the chances are that your teams will avoid using them. To ensure that you are able to get your teams working enthusiastically toward achieving the objectives of an outstanding CRM strategy in the shortest possible time, the CRM software that you choose to integrate should ideally have a familiar interface and be straightforward for all departments to use across multiple devices.

A CRM software solution such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, uses an interface which closely resembles that of Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office. The result is that users know intuitively where to find the tools and information they need and are less inclined to avoid tasks because they don’t know how to perform them. As your IT partner, MMC within our Deployment and Post Deployment phase, provides training to a select group of users to assist in the on-boarding process and our Business Intelligence Consultants are always ready to provide ongoing guidance and information.

4.    Intelligent, Relevant Integration

CRM software should support the CRM strategy and the requirements of each department, whether that be sales, marketing, customer services, accounts, management or even IT. Through automating selected processes and integrating additional modern, relevant content streams and customer touch points, such as social media for example, successful CRM software implementations should be robust enough to improve diverse business processes in order to make customer service more efficient, cost effective and timely. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we are able to tailor the broad suite of solutions offered, to suit your specific needs.

5.    Maximised Return on Investment

Companies that are nervous about working exclusively in the cloud are adopting a hybrid CRM model – which makes use of an on premise solution, as well as one within the cloud. The advantage of a hybrid CRM model is that it is highly flexible and can be perfectly tailored to your needs both now, and on an ongoing basis. In addition the SaaS model (Software as a Service), in which you are able to buy as many licenses as you need on a short term basis at a reduced cost, depending on the number of users you have, is emerging as a popular software procurement model as it assists to improve cash-flow and enables the use of the most up-to-date software at all times. Combined, these factors help to maximise ROI as they enhance flexibility and eradicate redundancy.

The Last Word

A successful CRM strategy is based on an organisations ability to strike the ideal balance between people, process and technology. Sometimes achieving this balance requires a fresh, external perspective. At MMC our foremost focus lies in helping our clients to achieve successful business outcomes and we use technology to assist us in doing that. Our Business Intelligence Consultants can offer a fresh perspective on your sales model and assist you to achieve even greater results.

Find out more

Download our CRM Information Brochure for more in-depth information and if you have any questions regarding our CRM services, or would like us to prepare an obligation free evaluation of your needs, please contact us on 021 530 1600 or email

Established in 1991, MMC provides organisations within the small to medium business sector with a variety of flexible, outsourced IT services. With solid implementation experience across a wide range of leading IT products, we provide robust, reliable solutions that are tailored specifically to the individual needs of our clients.

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