Making the Complex Simpler
Your business needs can be complex, but simplifying with a good customer relationship management (CRM) can help to alleviate the challenges of trying to manage them. The value of simplifying with CRM can be realized when as part of your CRM strategy, your focus is also on simplification when it comes to design, the way it’s used, the ways it’s customized and enhanced for project management, how it generates reporting and invoicing, and at the end of day how it helps your business add value to your customers.
Success with CRM should be easy and simple with the user experience at the forefront because CRM success hinges on user adoption. Without user adoption, CRM is obsolete because it is through adoption that users gather the data that makes CRM valuable first to the users and then to your customers. If a member of your sales team find that there is excessive data in the system that makes finding important information difficult, they may abandon using it all together for a much easier option— particularly if they are already accustomed and comfortable with that other option.
The simpler you can make adoption and use of CRM, the better your chances of experiencing value from your CRM system. This is something that you and your CRM partner must be on the same page about to have success. They should be able to help you take the complexities of your business and boil them down into a system that satisfies your current goals and can accommodate future needs.
Now that we know why CRM simplification must be a point of focus, let’s talk about how and where you begin to simplify when implementing CRM.
Purpose Built CRM Design
During implementation, CRM design is the focus. Here is where you will work closely with your CRM partner to translate your needs into a workable document that outlines all the things you want in your CRM system. Your CRM partner should help you to develop success factors to guide decisions about what should be included and what should not be included. These success factors can also help to measure the success of the project at the end.
During design your CRM partner will also work with you to determine the scope in regards to how your teams will use the CRM system and which processes it will support. Here you want to decide what the CRM application should do and what kind of future functionality should be included. Don't add something that will not provide simplification and value. Change the names of menus and data labels to represent the terminology used within your business. Observe how the data flows on the forms and make simplification changes. Familiarity will breed success.
As you think about how your CRM will be used, the key to maintaining simplicity as the focus is to think about what job you want your CRM to do and for whom. This will help you to avoid over complicating the system’s design which after implementation can cause more problems. If it is not needed, then there is no reason to add it, although it’s important to make sure that the system is designed in a way that gives it the capability to accommodate the need in the future (this is where customization comes into play which we’ll talk about next).
This is also where it’s important to work with a CRM partner that understands the need for simplification and can help you to keep it as a focus when addressing how the system will address some of your more complex business needs and processes. Will your CRM system provide marketing support for campaigns? Structure all customer facing activities? Here are a few other relevant questions that you might ask in regards to how your CRM will be used.
- Will it support my staff with daily structured activities?
- Will it provide a platform for customer self-service?
- Will it centralize key information in a safe and secure place?
- Will it create a culture of collaboration within and around the business?
- Will it integrate easily with my office production software: Outlook Email, Word templates?
- Will it be able to group, sort and filter information to find trends and get to the needed information?
Personalize with Customization
Customization is key because this is where you get the opportunity to adapt the system to your company’s current and future needs. There could be fields that your business requires that another type of businesses may not so the appropriate additional fields could be added. Modifying how users view information is another area of customization that can impact the speed in which users can access data and make the job of users easier.
- Modify terminology so it matches the terms used in your business
- Create sales processes that follow the buyer process your prospects use
- Create personalized messages and templates for different buyer personas
- Create custom CRM reports with optional filters to only show what is really needed
- Easily add the ability to track related data specific to your company
- Implement sales enablement tools specific to your industry and selling processes.
The value of CRM simplification is in its ability to get user buy-in as well as make it easier to
adopt, accommodate future needs and processes, help your business grow, and provide value to your customers.