Organizations rarely go it alone when they implement a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy and its supporting technology. That's because it can get overwhelming: business strategies, technology, budgets, operational processes, change management issues, and more.
Good CRM practices and principles apply to companies across many industries. One core tenet of CRM is customer centricity.
Companies must instill a customer-centric focus throughout the organization to make a CRM initiative successful and to get the most "bang for the buck." on the benefits that matter. Essentially, companies must not only focus on cutting costs and improving productivity, but they must also enhance the experience of customers across all customer touchpoints.
You deserve to achieve business success with CRM. Consider the following requirements:
Management must believe in a new CRM system and lead by using the system themselves. Support throughout all echelons of upper management affirms the company's commitment to the initiative, which will motivate all stakeholders below management. Success will come for a manager who realizes the value of CRM, understands the problems it's going to solve, and dedicates time and energy to making it happen. It's incredibly important to be involved directly.
2. Establish Measurable Business Goals.
Define specific business benefits that you expect the CRM initiative to deliver. Is it to decrease the customer churn rate or decrease the sales cycle time by a specific percent? Is it to increase the win-to-loss ratio of sales opportunities? Maybe it's to decrease the time that a service/support request is unresolved.
3. Let Business Goals Drive Functionality
Will a particular feature help your company better serve customers, improve efficiency in business processes, and lead to results that over-achieve the goals? Convert that big list of 'features' to benefits you hope to obtain by achieving the desired goals.
TIP: Link the business goals with the must have and like to have CRM capabilities. Check our our self-assessment survey.
4. Avoid Automating Chaos
CRM Project leaders need to gain a 360-degree view of their own business first. Which business processes need to be rebuilt or simply need a little touch-up? What derails CRM initiatives very often is the lack of focus on the people and business processes.
5. Consider All the Stakeholders Affected by the System
Understand what everyone stands to gain or lose. Actively involve end users in the solution design. Solicit and act upon end user input by providing WIIFT--"What's In It For Them." A change to being "customer-centric" from product- or operations-centric involves management of the change process among all users. Make sure the whole team knows what it means to deliver customer value.
Each department, whether customer service, marketing team, or sales force, has its own requirements and goals. They are also, however, all part of an entity that should communicate a consistent message and brand experience across all customer touch points. Make sure all your departments' strategies converge on the customer as you intend.
7. Strategy First, Technology Second
The software is there to enable implementation of a CRM strategy, not the other way around. Reorganizing business process efficiencies and bolstering revenue are good drivers of a CRM strategy. Find out how your company's customer touch points can maximize those ideas, then give customers applications that work with them.
8. First, Use as Much Out-of-Box Functionality as You Can
Then customize for additional needs. By getting up to speed with core functionality you get faster ROI. By learning the CRM's functionality you'll be able to determine if there is a business process that needs changing or if customization is required. Refer to #4.
9. Use Experienced, Expert CRM Consultants
Your business success comes from knowing what you do best. Likewise CRM consultants live and breathe CRM and know what works and what doesn't. Ask the expert when faced with a problem, whether it's customization, functionality, or deployment strategy. CRM-specific knowledge will produce ROI faster.
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