In previous articles in this series on CRM adoption, we have focused on ways to boost support and participation from sales makers because, arguably, they are the single most important constituency to bring on board in order to convert CRM from a sales accounting tool into a high-performing revenue engine. However, as important as it is to accomplish that mission, you must also connect a few more dots in order to fully realize the benefits that an outstanding CRM system can provide for your entire organization.
Begin by making sure that non sales-facing functions are included in the planning, design and implementation process for the CRM. Remember, the CRM is supposed to be a turn-key customer relationship management system that makes it possible for your organization to deliver the most efficient and effective service possible for your customers. Finance, HR, Support, Operations and other functions all impact customer experience. Not connecting other functions into a CRM decreases the opportunity to eliminate redundant work processes and, ultimately, degrades the customer’s experience. If an organization is leveraging a CRM for a subset of its customer interactions but asking non-sales groups to use different tools that contain redundant or potentially conflicting information, then a disconnect on where, when and how to leverage a CRM to drive improved customer experiences will persist.
At CCI, we help our clients make sure that their CRM is appropriately configured and deployed, because this creates a central data-sharing platform that can be accessed and leveraged by all functions within the organization. The CRM becomes not just a sales accounting tool or even a sales enablement tool, it becomes the touch point for storing, collecting, analyzing, and sharing, data from any kind of data sets within the organization. Finance will have a mother lode of information at its fingertips to create budget projects and manage cash flow. Operations can get real time status updates on sales rep activities, projects, admin issues, etc. Customer support and Sales can be looking at the same information at the same time in order to address customer issues as they arise. In addition, many new CRMs – salesforce.com for instance – have embedded communication and social networking features to enable work groups to collaborate in real time, allow sales reps to poll SMEs about customer issues, and generally deliver a massive boost to the organization’s ability to work together more effectively and design workflow more efficiently, all of which drives productivity while reducing costs.
The net result is that, when you integrate even non sales facing functions into the CRM, adoption goes up, the organization becomes more focused on accomplishing high value tasks, and higher revenue will be the inevitable result.