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CRM is for everyone in the business

The toughest challenge to overcome when introducing CRM is around the impact of the CRM across the entire business. While ROI and CRM  tool-selection/deployment usually are the topics to emerge, discussing the idea that CRM is for everyone has always been the most challenging to address. That's because, to many of our prospects, the idea of everyone having access to CRM translates to paying for more licenses or including additional stakeholders who may not be completely on board with the concept.  Both of these objections immediately reveal that many companies or organizations either see CRM as "the tool" or "the thing" sales people use to manage customers.

The problem develops when the level of isolation keeps companies from talking about how CRM is made successful (both as strategy and the technology that supports it) by the collective, the body of people collaborating to serve the customer. That mindset is limiting the full set of benefits and holds back the business from taking the needed jump to their best-fit CRM solution.

CRM is for everyone in the business or in the organization.  It is important to always address the need for CRM as a company-wide need to find the best-fit solution and to realize the desired outcomes.  

The Value of well-used, purposeful CRM:

Having an engaging "company-wide CRM" simply makes sense.  One source of truth accessible by the entire company.  CRM can be that core application and database and have one user interface for marketing, sales, service and operations. 

  • CRM is a strategic initiative - one that carefully orchestrates plans and methods for winning and retaining profitable customers.
  • CRM is much more than a tools to manage the customer lifecycle. It's a vehicle all the people in your company with the vision of improving the central relationships use for meaningful interactions.
  • CRM must be used by everyone who contributes to the customer relationship; even if they CRM tool itself is deployed in phases.
  • Don't make decisions about CRM implementation in isolation. Others will eventually find need and value and will have to be patched in, instead of being involved at the onset.
  • Think 'corporate wide initiative' from the very beginning. Do not neglect the strategy conversation that paints the picture of what CRM will mean for everyone.
  • If you find it difficult to engage at the functional level, direct the dialog toward the core building blocks of the business.
  • Get consensus even if every department isn't ready or does not have budget for a company-wide implementation.

How to build consensus

Make sure there is engagement at all functional levels (sales, marketing, service and operations). Otherwise direct the dialog toward the core building blocks of the business.  Use this approach to gain company-wide collaboration and commitment for CRM

  • Talk about the customer segments and value propositions you offer customers in an effort to win and retain them.
  • Talk about channels, activities, and key resources that influence revenue stream and cost structure.
  • Talk about a solution that allows you to address customer needs, social media, mobility, analytics and hosting.

For additional information check out the book "CRM to the People: Speaking Frankly About Customer Relationship Management" by JC Quintana.


Topics:   Strategic Business development Engagement improvement CRM Implementation

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