Good customer relationship management (CRM) can make a huge difference in how effective your business is at reaching out to your customers. But, conversely, a poor CRM strategy can lead to a lot of wasted time and money for your business. But how can you tell the difference between good and bad CRM without using trial and error for your business? While bad CRM is still better than no CRM at all, you still want to make sure that your strategy is as effective as possible. There are a few strategies that you can employ and keep in mind so that your CRM doesn't go wasted.
If you want your CRM strategy to succeed, then be sure not to get bogged down in the technical aspects of your CRM. While there really is some great software available on premise or in the cloud, the software itself is just a tool to promote your overall CRM goals. If you make the technology the focus of your strategy instead of using the technology to fulfill various aspects of your strategy, then you're going about it backwards, and this can be detrimental to the overall success of your strategy. Remember, your customers are the focus, not the software.
Speaking of the customer, a solid CRM strategy will always emphasize the importance of the customer. The whole point of having a strategy in the first place, after all, is to make sure that your customers are taken care of; that you're addressing their needs, that you're aware of their concerns, and that you have open lines of communication with them. If you are focused more on a general media blitz or on aspects of your strategy that don't really relate directly to your customer, you're missing out on an opportunity to increase your effectiveness at best and wasting time at worst.
It's also important to take the time to really understand CRM and its purpose before you implement it as part of your sales strategy. The fastest way to cause your sales staff to resent the implementation of a new CRM strategy is to implement it before you even understand what it's supposed to do or how it works. If you really want it to be effective, understand it well enough to get excited about it. That excitement will be contagious as you educate your sales staff about it, and when the time finally comes for implementation, they'll be eager to see its results.
People are by nature resistant to change. Anytime people meet with change in their lives, their usual reaction is to balk, to become wary, and to remain suspicious about this change until something happens to set them at ease and reassure them that this change is good. As much as people reiterate that "change is good," it takes a lot of reassurance before most people will accept changes, especially significant ones. This is why, when you try to implement a new customer relationship management (CRM) program into your business, it's important to get your sales staff on board. If you really want to optimize CRM, it helps if your staff is enthusiastic about the change instead of suspicious.
There are various ways to encourage them to welcome the change instead of fighting against it. It definitely helps if you are able to ask for their input about which program to choose, and if you can involve them in the process, then they'll feel less like this change is being foisted on them and more as though it's their choice to implement it. You can show them how certain programs can be customized so that you can optimize CRM results for your specific company, and that could help them to see the value of such a program.
It's also a good idea to allow them access to the new CRM anytime and from any place. By allowing them the time and opportunity to really get used to the system you're putting in place, you'll help your sales staff not to feel rushed and forced into implementing the new system. Instead, they'll be able to take it at their own pace. As an added bonus, having 24/7 access to the system can optimize CRM by allowing your staff to respond instantly to queries and to send out information in a more timely manner.
Finally, another great way to make your sales staff feel more comfortable with the implementation of a new CRM program is to offload the burden of data entry. If you have to hire a temp or two to input all of your contact lists, it's worth it not to hear your staff complain about data entry. Ultimately, a temp or two working full-time will be faster than your entire sales staff simply entering data whenever they find a moment. And it'll optimize CRM by giving them more time to focus on sales without having to worry about data entry.
If you are a business owner and you're thinking about finding a good customer relationship management (CRM) software to implement into your business, you're not alone. Because CRM software has been so helpful to so many businesses, it's been getting a lot of media attention across various industries. But if you're going to take a chance on finding a select CRM program that's a complete departure from how you've managed customer relationships in the past, then there are some tips that you should know that can help you to make sure that your CRM implementation is a success, and not just a waste of time and money.
Before you decide on a CRM program, you should be sure that you have a specific goal in mind. Know why you want to implement a CRM program. Know what you want to accomplish with it. Evaluate a few different programs and compare the differences. Familiarize yourself with the technology and with the most commonly offered features. Far too many companies select CRM programs only to be at a loss when it comes to actually using and implementing them. By investing in proper training and by really understanding the program and its purpose, you can make it far more effective.
Once you've found a select CRM program that you want to implement into your business, consider how you can best use it in the context of your sales staff and customer base. Most CRM programs can be customized to a certain degree, but their broad appeal comes because their basic features are generally useful across a variety of business types and industries. Get to know the features well, and you'll be sure to find a way to put them to good use. Understanding your program is the best way to make sure that you get the most out of it.
While having a CRM program is a great help, it's important to remember that it's just a tool. At the end of the day, it's not a means in itself; its entire purpose is to help you to better serve and inform your customers. If you fail to remember your customer in the process of trying to implement your CRM system, then you're kind of missing the point. But by keeping your customer in mind every step of the way as you choose and implement a CRM program, you'll be more likely to reach all of your CRM goals.
The ultimate purpose of customer relationship management (CRM) is to improve your bottom line and the profitability of your business. But the way it does that is by providing much-needed support to your salesforce so that they can more easily reach out to and maintain relationships with customers and potential customers. With a good social CRM in place, you don't have to worry so much about missing leads or forgetting about people who might want to be included in a particular announcement or notification. Because it simplifies the process of reaching out to customers and potential customers, it can also increase the productivity of your salesforce.
The best social CRM programs also come with ways for you to help your salesforce to build stronger relationships with your customers. They can help you to provide timely and accurate insight into your customers' needs, proving to them that you not only know and understand your business, but your customers' needs as well. By helping your salesforce to have more specific and in-depth conversations with their sales leads, you can build stronger relationships with your customers by opening communications and encouraging dialogue. If they feel heard, your customers will know that they are important to you.
Social CRM can also help you to evaluate what the best strategies are for you to use in order to effectively reach out to your customer base, as well as to bring in new clientele. It can help you to isolate your sales data and evaluate your current strategies in order to ascertain which ones are the most effective and which ones are the least effective. If you can tweak your least effective strategies, or even get rid of them altogether in favor of more effective strategies, you could be saving your salesforce a lot of time and effort.
And because a good social CRM can save you so much time and effort on the part of your salesforce, it will ultimately save you a lot of money on building your customer relationships. The less time you waste on ineffective strategies, the more return you'll see on your investment. Your salesforce will be able to accomplish more in less time, and you'll even see an improvement in workplace morale because people aren't frustrated, having to perform tasks that they know are a waste of time. By implementing good CRM practices, you can make your salesforce as efficient as they want to be.
To function optimally, a company must have all aspects of operation and culture in sync, a concept termed Organizational Alignment. A company, like an orchestra, must maximize performance to retain customer interest and trust. The symphony requires a conductor directing each section, uniformity to ensure great sound and consistency to ensure a quality show each night.
Similarly, a company needs to follow these key components to realize organizational alignment:
Without a conductor, an orchestra would fall out of rhythm and fail to play the piece of music as intended. Much the same way, a company without direction cannot strive for maximization of potential. A company must develop a systematic plan for improvement and each employee of that company must understand that goal.
Each section of instruments in an orchestra contributes a distinctive component to the performance to take advantage of that instrument's unique quality. A business should function no differently. A company must understand its own strengths and weaknesses and utilize that knowledge. A company cannot hope to perform optimally without first knowing where it can best excel and which areas require improvement.
The most prestigious symphonies are renowned for their performances time and again because they consistently perform well. A company must prove reliability as well and unfailingly align itself with customer needs. A company must understand the customer and maintain that relationship accordingly. A company must also make a commitment to only act in unity with the systematic plan for improvement. If a company fails to follow that goal, it cannot hope to function at its best.
An orchestra does not rehearse for one performance and then retire. Instead, the group hopes to play for an entire season, and renew for a following season. Similarly, a company must implement a strategy for organizational alignment that is sustainable and renewable. This requires a system of internal support to maintain progress toward the larger goal. A company needs to implement the tools necessary to uphold the system and make appropriate adjustments to ensure that goal remains a priority.
Is your organization performing like a world class orchestra or a sixth grade band? We have compiled a whitepaper that summarizes our approach to world class performance that we call Orchestrated Performance. You can download it here. Take a few moments to look it over; I am sure you'll find a few things that will help you drive Orchestrated Performance for your company. If you want to try one of our Diagnostic services to assess your organization just contact us.
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Selecting and implementing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution is hard work. The bigger and more complex the organization the more difficult it is. Within any company there are multiple user types with different levels of experience and disparate needs. It is hard to get all of those users, with disparate perspectives and experiences, to come together and agree on the right technology and implementation approach which will lead to success for the organization. Once the system is selected and implemented, then you have to get everyone using it so the organization can achieve the intended results.
CRM Technology has Improved Dramatically
For years the challenge had been the technology. It didn’t meet the needs of many organizations. It was either too simple, intended for a single user, or it was too big, costly and complex for all but the largest enterprises. At either end of the spectrum the available solutions were inflexible. They didn’t adapt to the needs of the end users. The users were forced to work the way the software worked which often wasn’t the way they wanted to work. Instead of providing a better way to engage with and manage customers, these solutions became part of the problem. Users got frustrated and stopped using them. In some larger organizations the users were coerced into using the CRM system with either threats or incentives.
If you have seen the hit CBS TV show Undercover Boss you already know the premise – a boss of a major corporation changes their appearance and goes undercover their own company to find out how things really work and what can be done to improve the company. That is one way to get a few people’s perspectives on how things operate and what can be done to improve the company but is it the best way?
The approach in Undercover Boss has merit if it were done correctly and not for reality TV. The boss does get firsthand experience working in the lowest levels of the company. He or she sees firsthand how things operate and how a few workers feel about how things operate. The people the boss encounters are dealing with customers directly and understand their customer’s issues and how the company can better address them. They also see how the company’s processes may be getting in the way of meeting customer’s needs.