Thursday, February 26, 2015

There's a fine line between success and failure in CRM. Here's how to stay on the right side.

Here's a throwback to a previous blog post from SkyPlanner, South Florida's Salesforce consulting company. In it we took a closer look at the line that separates success and failure when implementing a customer relationship management solution...and how to stay on the right side of that line. 

According to an article in CRM Magazine, 50 to 80 percent of CRM implementations in the late 90's and early into the 2000's resulted in failure. You might think that could be attributed to the novelty of the technology at the time but the reality is that that number hasn't really fallen, even as late as 2012. SkyPlanner decided to delve into the reasons for these failures. Here is what we learned.

Customer Relationship Management, CRM, CRM consulting, Miami Salesforce, Miami Salesforce consultant, Miami Salesforce consulting, South Florida Salesforce consulting, South Florida Salesforce consultants, The foremost reason for failures in CRM adoption is that all too often systems are convoluted and eventually become a burden for the people whose lives they are supposed to make easier. This is usually the result of poor planning and lack of input from the people who will actually be using the system. Choosing and implementing a CRM solution should be a company-wide process and not limited to just a couple of high-ranked decision makers.

SkyPlanner has compiled a checklist of steps an enterprise should take when first implementing a CRM solution:

  • Consult members of every department that will be affected by the implementation of a CRM solution. Ask them to list what features they believe would best help them perform their roles most effectively. 
  • Plan out the process of adoption. Keep the process as simple as possible with an emphasis on only the essential features. Also begin phasing out previous measures that are made obsolete with the introduction of new technologies. 
  • Keep the end goal of the solution in mind when planning the implementation. This helps you figure out exactly what you need from your chosen CRM solution.  
  • Set a budget. Setting a firm budget will keep the planning process on track and the imagination from running wild as you learn more about add-on features and capabilities of different CRM solutions. 
  • Research, research, research. Figure out which CRM solution will be easiest to use compared to its effectiveness, which solution best accomplishes what you want it to, and which can be customized to cover changes as your enterprise evolves. It is also very important to know which CRM company provides the best support once the solution is implemented.      
  • Set intracompany goals. These goals are essential for making employees feel comfortable with the change, and usually include timeframes from training and collection of data for migration (most importantly when moving from a paper filing system to the 1's and 0's). 
  • Make a final decision. Once you have all your information compiled, pull the trigger. When you decide to pursue a new solution don't second guess yourself. As time goes on you can always make necessary changes. 
  • Have patience. It is critical to understand that despite all the careful planning and research there will be unforeseen problems that arise when implementing a CRM solution. Be confident in your decision but never stop evaluating to make the necessary improvements and changes to the system. 
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The second reason for many failures is that the CRM system doesn't accomplish what it's supposed to do: help salespeople close deals. This is because the data that is compiled into a CRM is too myopic and company-centered. This results in salespeople having very limited knowledge of their potential clients, and the resulting sales process is very cold and less likely to end favorably. SkyPlanner has learned that businesses are most successful when using their CRM tools to gain a 360-view of their customers instead of just the bottom line. Collecting information on your existing or prospective clients' priorities helps salespeople form relationships that are much more likely to result in quick and profitable deals.  

Here are some insights a CRM solution should make readily accessible to salespeople: 
  • How a customer has reacted in previous interactions. This lets salespeople know how to approach them in the future. 
  • Customer goals and challenges, and company news. Sales relationships are much more intimate when there's a certain level of empathy from a salesperson towards a customer. 
  • An understanding of the decision-making hierarchy. Know the ultimate decision maker but also how his or her support staff influences the decisions. 
  • The culture of the company. Is it formal or laid back?   

SkyPlanner hopes we've helped make your CRM journey a little easier after reading our thoughts on the subject. And we want to remind you that once you decide to make the move, SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, is here to help you every step of the way.