CRM: It’s a Way of Life, Not a Software System

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By building a CRM culture from its roll-out, your organisation can avoid a costly failure and keep the spreadsheets at bay.

Between 60-70% of CRM projects fail to meet expectations. Your bosses want a system that’s more reliable and accountable than spreadsheets. Your staff don’t want a CRM, but they want things that help them do their job. Your customers want you to have clear records on them, so they don’t repeat themselves.

Executives make a speedy decision to get CRM, they get something built and expect sales and efficiency to rapidly improve.

But a few weeks or months later, it doesn’t seem to be delivering the benefits. The CRM is little more than a glorified address book and staff aren’t using it.

Why?

As many IT managers, executives and CTOs have come to realise, it’s not always the software’s fault. That’s because CRM is much more than a software system. Getting it to work successfully is a way of life.

Building a CRM culture

The human element of software is probably more important than the technical side. Without encouragement from everyone across the organisation, it’s not going to be used. Essentially, you need to build new habits among your staff.

Before the roll-out stage, your staff need to be taught how a CRM benefits the business and themselves.

Why is it important that they keep accurate records? Why can’t they just keep messages in their inbox? Why should they make a note after every sales call? How can CRM help them become better salespeople?

If buying into CRM has been a top-down decision – nobody’s really committed to making it work. Staff don’t see the benefits to themselves. Before long, staff are using spreadsheets again. BUT if the IT department takes the time to answer those questions and gets buy-in from across the organisation, you can have a customer-centric culture where CRM really works.

4 tips to creating a culture that makes CRM work

  1. Create a project group with a “CRM champion” from each department.
    Make someone in each department responsible for their team’s adoption of CRM. Encourage them to speak up about how it’s working, and if they need help or feature changes. Getting feedback from each department means that any necessary changes to the CRM software can be made. It also means you can arrange extra training or support where necessary.This person needs to sell the benefits of CRM to each team. By getting ‘buy-in’ from each silo of your organisation, your teams have a stake in making it work.
  2. Create project groups that collaborate – like marketing and sales.
    Here, teams can collaborate on how to adopt modern practices like lead nurturing and lead scoring. Or maybe they can ask things like “how can we improve the lead handling process?”.Likewise, a marketing/customer-service group could come together once a month to discuss how to collect more customer feedback and how to implement it.By getting business silos to come together and collaborate, everyone gets their voices heard and people are enthusiastic about using CRM.
  3. Commitment to full training and support for all staff.
    With a CRM system, it’s worth giving every member of staff full training. If people in your call centre miss training, they may not use all the features and they may not ask for help.It’s important that everyone learns how to use the system and is encouraged to speak to their managers about how it’s working for them.
  4. Encourage your “CRM champions” to use the CRM data to help themselves.
    Your CRM is likely to bring out a lot of insights. You’ll learn everything from the length of your sales cycle, common support problems and information about different customer profiles.These insights will let your teams perform better and work more efficiently. It’s a great idea to encourage your “CRM champions” to use this data for themselves.

Furthermore, it’s worth strategically arranging training to show them how to make the most of their data. This can help them increase sales, make their marketing more relevant and help solve customer problems more quickly.

The truth is: CRM isn’t just software, it’s a way of life. If you can encourage your teams to buy-in to the CRM system, they’ll eventually thank you for making their jobs easier.

(What’s more, you’ll all be glad to see the back of those spreadsheets.)

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