I started selling CRM solutions in the year 1996. I was among the first advocates for CRM. A few years later, I was working for a firm that was employing one of these CRM systems I used to market. I was shocked when I discovered how ineffective this system had been. Since I joined the consulting business in which we assist our clients to implement CRM solutions, I’ve observed numerous instances of insufficient use of the CRM system. What’s the difference between the claims and the reality?
Fundamental Reason for Failure
I believe there’s one primary reason behind the lack of use of CRM. Ready? It’s the intention. It’s that simple—a single word with a vast significance.
Many companies use CRM as if it were SFA (Sales Force Automation). SFA was a big thing in the 1980s, and it was designed to assist the sales force in selling more products to more people. It soon lost its popularity when CRM was introduced as business leaders instinctively knew it was best to have all those who touch the customer working with the same record of the customer. Businesses shifted from implementing SFA and CRM to implement it, but their core beliefs did not change. The process of implementing CRM was all about selling more products to a broader audience.
The proof to back this claim is just by looking at how CRM solutions are used. In the majority of cases, they’ve just glorified address books with sales opportunities information. I’m not going to deny the value of having accurate information about customers that anyone can have access to. Also, I don’t want to diminish the importance of greater accuracy in knowing the reputation and status of sales potential. This is not the purpose of CRM technology.
I believe that CRM is among the most effective tool you can put within your company. The goal of CRM is to provide more value for your customers and potential customers through a better relationship. The relationship will improve as you gain understanding. Monitoring sales opportunities is a way to know the extent to which our efforts to inform our customers are working. What is the other side? How do we grow in our understanding of our clients?
CEOs who understand the strategic importance of customer relations and expertise are enthusiastic and inflexible when it comes to how they implement their CRM. They get unreasonable with their demands to have the system operating correctly. They make sure they employ champions that are enthusiastic about accurate and accurate data. They enforce compliance because they realize that the ability of a company to add value entirely is dependent on its ability to comprehend the needs of its clients.
If used correctly, the CRM system will give us the complete picture of the customers we serve. We will improve our knowledge of our customers, as anyone who has contact with a client and gets to know about the customer contributes to the overall comprehension of our customers.
As time passes over time, we will not only be able to better understand each customer and better, but we will also start to identify trends in the different segments of customers. This will result in more efficient marketing. We’ll also be able to understand our customers on a more strategic level. This can, in turn, improve our corporate strategy.
On the marketing side, CRM will allow individual communication. Rather than simply sending generalized, broadcast messages to everyone in the database, well-structured CRM systems will enable us to send highly targeted and highly relevant communications to dynamically generated segments of our database. It will be possible to deliver the correct message to the correct person at precisely the right moment. What will happen? You’ll be able to engage in meaningful conversations with other human beings. You’ll be seen as being helpful rather than annoying. You will add value.