A few months ago, I bought one of those wristbands that are supposed to improve your life immeasurably by recording every footstep, every minute of sleep, and every single little movement you make. A few months ago, I stopped using it.
The path leading up to purchase, and the path leading to my abandonment of this supposed saviour, was eerily familiar. Having been present on several CRM implementations, my subconscious decisions and ultimate lack of engagement with the product mirror the ups and downs of getting a CRM into an organization.
People like the idea – they get involved in the purchasing process, the scoping process, even the rollout. And then… nothing.
You can buy into the dream, you can get it up and running, you can even make it look good – but how do you ensure people are still using it 6 or 12 months down the line? A CRM is for life, not just for implementation…
What was the purpose of my wristband? Well, I’m not entirely sure now. Originally, it was a bit of fun – and potentially a way of getting me to move more. However, it didn’t do that. What I also required was a) the time to move as much as it asked me to, and b) the desire to do so. I had neither.
A CRM should always know its purpose, and its purpose should always remain the same. There may be multiple purposes, from increasing lead volumes to improving customer service metrics, but a clear, defined purpose for each user group is absolutely key to ensuring that it doesn’t get dropped like a wristband.
I’ll give the wristband credit – those regular alerts about how much I’m walking or sleeping in relation to the rest of the UK – they were brilliant. Ultimately, they were annoying because I was nowhere near the average, and apparently, I wasn’t getting much sleep either.
A good CRM will be not just communicated well, it will be talked about. The lesson here is that communication for communication’s sake is not good enough – the communication has to resonate with the community you’re communicating with.
For instance, you could send an e-mail out to everyone that says “You must use your CRM because we’ve invested $125,000”.
Or – you could segment your data and tell the Sales Team “You have improved sale volumes by 11% thanks to your usage of CRM – let’s go for more!”
The best CRM's do more than they were intended to do. They should replace other elements within the business. We’re currently using a collaboration tool within our business here, and it acts as a social hub around which we can – as a team – share content, ideas, plans, and documents.
It has gone beyond its remit because it has effectively reduced the time we spend on e-mails. Its original remit – to increase collaboration – has been extended. We have saved time, we no longer lose the trail of e-mail conversations that get lost under a barrage of spam – we’ve ensured that the tool is part of our culture.
Get your CRM powering culture change, and the culture will start to fit around it…
Now, that last claim – that culture can fit around a CRM – is only true if the CRM is adaptable. Your business will change, your people will change – your clients will change. Therefore, your needs will change. You may go from a small business to a large business overnight (we can dream) – but you need something that will go with you.
People drop out when products or services are no longer relevant to them – or when something replaces it. If you find parts of your business that are using different products or tools, find out why they’re using them – find out what holes there are in the CRM and plug those gaps. As Preact’s Warren Butler points out, "this is not a “witch hunt” – we’re looking to make improvements.
Back to the wristband – to upload the data, I had to take it off, plug it into my phone, let it synchronize, and then I could put it back on.
That’s not much effort, is it – but it did require manual input from me just to get the data. Now, if another wristband came along with wireless connectivity, updating data in real-time, with no need to plug in – what would happen to this wristband? In the bin.
CRM is no different. If you’re asking people to jump through hoops, they won’t do it. Make it easy – make it mobile, make it streamlined, make processes and workflows that work for you – don’t make people work for the CRM.
Joel Mulder makes a good point when he says “engage leadership”. You can have all the “champions” you like within the business, they often end up looking like the class nerds with the polished apples for the teacher. What you really want is buy-in from the C-level Executives.
A good example was at a former company of mine – the new MD refused to wear a tie. As a result, no one on the board wore a tie. Within a matter of days, there wasn’t a tie to be seen in the office.
Get buy-in from the top, and you’ll get buy-in around the business. Monkey see monkey do.