Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Most people today would be familiar with the concept of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and may even be familiar with the various CRM software packages available these days. Zigurat Innovation & Technology Business School in a study of “Future of jobs in the Digital era” identifies CRM as the third most widely implemented digital solution. The study which examines 307 companies from Spain, Canada, U.S., Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Great Britain and Colombia also identifies training as essential in the process of digital transformation within companies.
CRM Software is a software application used by businesses to manage their customer relationships, identify leads & opportunities, track sales cycles, automate workflows and boost conversions all based on customer and business data coming from multiple channels.
1. CRM Software True Cost
This is the first stage and the stage in which most firms put the most focus. With the uptake in CRM implementation we have seen a trend of companies investing time and money in their CRM software choice but the investment most often ends there. Most don’t realise that your average CRM software package is a fairly blank slate when taken out of the box and most often requires additional investment for set-up, configuration, training and support. This true cost can be many times more than the CRM Software cost. This miscalculation can see your CRM software investment go to waste.
2. CRM Data Migration
Depending on a firm’s status, some may have a CRM software in place that is often not being utilised due to previously failing to realise the true cost, or they may just be using spreadsheets. Some may have no CRM system at all and are only looking to start. Regardless when starting a new CRM system utilising a CRM software application there is a need to populate it with your current customer, sales and business data. The ease or difficulty of this depends on a variety of factors. The quality of data will directly affect the quality of CRM system. Many struggle at this first hurdle. It can be time consuming figuring out how to export and import the needed data, populating the correct fields and ensuring your CRM data aligns seamlessly with your other applications and business processes.
3. CRM Configuration
Every organisation is different, with different sales cycles, workflows and business processes. Almost all CRM software requires some customisation to ensure it aids these processes and becomes a beneficial tool offering real value for your staff with decent levels of meaningful automation. Unless you are familiar with the software it can be a time consuming, counter productive and often frustrating endeavor to achieve these needed adjustments.
Usually handed over to either the sales/marketing staff, or the organisations IT staff who often get it wrong because they don’t understand the business processes, proper implementation of CRM software (i.e. CRM configuration) is sadly usually left lacking. With CRM set-up contractors costing upwards of five or six figures, the needed investment to make your CRM software meaningful is often never given.
The result is a CRM system that does not offer meaningful value but is rather a time consuming hindrance. In turn this means adoption of the system internally is slow and begrudging as staff do not see the benefit and as result the CRM system can become viewed internally as nothing more than a glorified contact database. We have seen this cause friction within organisations with staff not wanting to use the CRM as they find it difficult and time consuming, resisting change. Whilst Management looking to see a return on their original investment on the Software cost are frustrated with the lack of meaningful value.
Often an organisation over time will incorporate their CRM into their business processes at a low level of involvement, having never really customised or integrated the CRM to the needed level that it becomes the default tool driving business processes rather than just marginally aiding them. The big problem at this point is that now the organisation is somewhat invested in their CRM. Due to the laborious efforts needed to get to this point they are now incredibly reluctant to change, fearing having to go through the pain all over again and not seeing it worth the investment of time or money.
4. CRM Training
At this point the new CRM system is in place and ready to be used. Best case (but least likely) is that it is set up with the necessary data imported correctly and has been configured to offer your team real value. The issue now is most of the staff are not familiar with the new software and are too busy to give it any attention. It looks great but it can be frustrating to spend time figuring it all out. This is especially true when you consider the pace most sales teams face today. Now the best solution is properly executed training for your staff. While representing further investment of time and money, training is key to ensure a CRM system is not neglected and over time fades back to being ignored completely or only marginally used.
5. CRM Maintenance and Upkeep
At this stage of the CRM process, firms may already be struggling depending how they have navigated the previous stages listed here. If the set-up and configuration have been done correctly the majority of your CRM maintenance and upkeep should be automated, with new leads and opportunities for the majority of your channels being automatically captured within the CRM system. Similarly if done right the captured data should be perfectly populating a multitude of fields from account data to contact info. Now your fully trained staff are loving the meaningful benefits of the CRM system and are using it to drive your company process.
However, there may have been issues with the previous stages and now the CRM system is largely ignored. With no real benefit coming from it, Management does not see the justification for further investment. The Staff see it as a pain point and neglect using it. Over time the data is not updated or captured at all and the CRM system becomes further removed from the business process offering even less value.
This process of CRM software investment followed by the required additional large investments can make business sense for large enterprises who will have high numbers of staff making the return on investment obvious with the cost per staff making business sense. On the other hand SME’s with smaller staff numbers and facing the same large set-up/ customisation costs find it hard to justify making the investment.
If you would like to learn more about ConstructionBOS CRM, which includes business process review, configuration, training and support, along with CIS and Barbour ABI integration all at a single low cost, CLICK HERE!
Or if you like to have a free no obligation consultation or demo fill out our contact form..