From disinterested to delighted: creating a customer-centric culture using sCRM.

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CRM is all very well and good, but most of your customers are online, carrying out most of their research. Find out why you need to create a customer-centric culture and how sCRM can help you to do it. Read more

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Update 1: Parature

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Parature Cloud Based Solution

The way customers interact with businesses has changed. Customers are constantly connected via mobile devices, plugged into their social network, and doing their own research. This means that traditional ways of doing business are becoming obsolete, as consumers strive to take advantage of all of the technologies at their disposal. Microsoft acquired Parature in 2014, which is a cloud based solution that is geared towards creating an amazing customer experience through empowering multi-platform interaction, customer self-service and knowledge management. Parature is Microsoft’s first outward facing acquisition for Dynamics, which empowers organisations to;

  • Communicate with customers across multiple channels, facilitates constant engagement. It also enables the organisation to communicate in the customer’s favoured medium.
  • Provide customer self-service facility enables intelligent and guided self-service round the clock.
  • Knowledge management is designed to boost productivity by providing employees with the knowledge they need when they need it.

These capabilities complement the existing Microsoft Dynamics CRM software with core strengths in workflow, extensibility and process-driven user experiences that allow contact centre agents to do their best work. CRM Magazine has spoken highly of the acquisition and integration by stating with reference to their web support leader board… “On our leader board for the first time in this category, Microsoft impressed analysts with its integration of Parature technology after acquiring the company in January 2014. Just a year after the acquisition, Microsoft has rolled out an updated Parature Customer Care Solution and has not only improved existing capabilities, but included new features as well.” This article aims to illustrate the benefits that this innovative cloud based solution can bring to your business, by enabling users to maximise productivity.

Pre-requisites

Parature Enterprise as an Office 365 service.

CRM Online with Spring Release Update.

Benefits of Parature Integration

Knowledge Base

Parature enables user’s access to a knowledge base that can be added to according to the ever evolving information requirements of the organisation. Updates to the knowledge base search capabilities have made search functions more efficient, allowing users to filter by; content type, recency and customer rating. Customers are now able to rate content that was sent to them based on how helpful it was, which has an influence on search results. This functionality enables CSAs to reduce call handling time. While working with a case users are able to;

  • View system suggested KB articles
  • Search for the most relevant KB articles using the enhanced search capabilities.
  • Send Knowledge Base articles to customers which can include embedded pictures and videos.

These features empower users to build, manipulate and employ a “web of knowledge”, when information is used and collated in this dynamic way, it provides users with all the knowledge to quickly and effectively exceed the needs of their customers’ expectations.

Self Service Portal

Available through self-service portals on the Web and Facebook, support ticketing, virtually any mobile device, social customer support, and chat for both traditional customer service scenarios and proactive sales engagement, Parature can revolutionize your customer service experience. Brent Leary, partner at CRM Essentials, says. “Overall, I think they’ve got a good job of integrating Parature, especially because it’s been only a little over a year since the acquisition. It has already filled in some key gaps for Microsoft, especially in the area of adding social channels. Parature makes it easy, which is important as social becomes more prevalent.”

Chat

The enhanced chat functionality enable agents to provide support to customers who speak different languages in real time. This feature can be used either proactively or reactively, many customers agree that live chat is one of the best customer service channels, due to the fact that it is an extremely responsive and personalised medium in which to communicate. There are many chat widgets available for users to improve the experience of their customer based on their specific service requirements available within the parature console, including;

External

  • Screen Sharing
  • File sharing

Internal

  • RMA system

Social

Social influencers in any industry are becoming more and more important for organisations wishing to make themselves heard in the increasingly noisy digital market place. Parature enables users to prioritise, harvest and respond to the activity of the influencers within their industry. Another enhancement made to Parature’s social offering, is that users can now provide customer service from across a variety of social channels including LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

Update 1: Social Engagement

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Customer Engagement

Customers are becoming more and more demanding in terms of price, quality and more recently the way in which they communicate with companies. Organisations need to be able to effectively deal with engagement across several different platforms. Microsoft Social engagement provides organisations with the necessary tools and knowledge to enable their sales, marketing and customer service teams to effectively engage across the relevant platforms and see how their brand stacks up against competitors directly within CRM.  A recent survey conducted by oursocialtimes.com found that 55% of companies ignore customer feedback on Facebook and twitter and 39% of companies pay no attention to social media at all. When you consider that 72% of all internet users are active on social media with Facebook having 1.4 billion users and twitter with 284 million sending 500 million tweets per day, it seems a bit odd that so few companies are taking steps to capitalise on this vast information resource. Social Engagement attempts to provide companies with the necessary tools to tap into this valuable resource, social engagement helps companies harness social media in an attempt to;

  • Drive Engagement
  • Enable users to listen everywhere
  • Analyse sentiment

User Interface

The new intuitive user interface allows for seamless navigation with easy to access information displayed in a clear and palatable way.  This enables the user to access the relevant social information.

Social Engagement

This release of social analytics supports assigning posts to specific users and also applying a status label, users are also able to respond directly from within Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Social profiles: You can now add authenticated Twitter and Facebook accounts, which allow users to interact with their audience on social posts coming from Twitter or Facebook. Search topic set -up: Setting up search topics is easier and more flexible. You can define rules by the following criteria: keyword, Facebook page, and Twitter handle. Projected quota usage is displayed, as well as a preview of Twitter posts, to give you an idea of the type of results you can expect.

Social Listening

Social Listening allows users to monitor relevant channels to see how they stack up against their competitors, users can now create a dashboard feed that lists all references to their competitors. Social listening also enables users to identify key influencers so that they can increase engagement with the people who are active and engaged in their field. It makes it easier to forecast trends, stay ahead of the competition and harness the massive amount of relevant information available to them.

The latest Social enhancements include:

  • New social centre enabling service, sales, and marketing teams to collaborate and engage on social channels
  • Engage over authenticated Twitter and Facebook accounts with MSE (requires CRM Online Enterprise licence)
  • Create CRM actions including cases and opportunities directly from social posts including sentiment (requires CRM Online Enterprise licence)
  • Social analytics to measure topics that matter to you & analyse sentiment
  • New social filters for author, post type, assignee and labels.

Social sentiment

Another useful feature of the update is the ability to measure social sentiment through looking at how people are engaging with an organisation across various networks. This enables users to track fluctuations in their brand image with the easy to read social sentiment score in real time and act accordingly.

Analytics

Enhanced analysis allows users to visualise data in new ways, such as; top hashtags, phrase clouds and top fans. The social centre allows users to interact with fans, customers and critics. This provides scope to engage proactively engage, as posts are displayed according to the nature of the post i.e. mentions and hashtags in easy to read columns in real time which enables organisations to provide an extremely responsive customer experience.  It is now possible to gain valuable insights about your customers/potential customer’s views about your brand, products and services, by harnessing the power of the social web. Users can analyse what customers are saying on social media, thus enabling them to respond to comments and monitor customer sentiment. 19 languages are supported and cover a broad range of sources—Twitter, Facebook, videos, blogs, and news syndication. Spot trends and receive alerts about how people are feeling about your products or brand so that you can shape your messaging and sales conversations more effectively. You can even identify the key influencers within your industry, and reach out to them.

How Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be utilised in the Manufacturing industry

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Manufacturing Industry Overview

The manufacturing industry accounts for approximately one quarter of the world’s economic activity. It is a common misconception that the UK manufacturing industry is weak, it is actually the 11th largest manufacturing nation in the world. In a report from themanufacturer.com it was stated that manufacturing makes up 11% of UK GVA and 54% of UK exports and directly employs 2.6 million people.

Market Transformation

The entire supply chain ecosystem is undergoing massive transformations, and this includes manufacturing.  The growth of the internet and digital/mobile technology has served as the main catalyst in changing customer expectations which is driving this transformation. Manufacturing companies were once known for being notoriously production orientated. However, Products don’t provide as much differentiation as they once did. It is possible to cut price for short periods of time, however, this does not create a sustainable competitive advantage. There is now a requirement for companies in this space to adapt to this shift in customer expectations, and invest resources in building an infrastructure that enables them to put the preferences of their customers at the heart of their business. The most effective way to achieve this, is to constantly innovate when it comes to their use of sales and communication channels.  The purpose of this article is to highlight some of the challenges faced by manufacturers, and illustrate how Microsoft Dynamics can address these issues.

Implications for Manufacturing

The manufacturing industry has always been competitive, however, never more so than it is now. There is huge pressure to gain new customers whilst retaining existing ones. This can sometimes seem like a bit of a juggling act for companies striving to provide the same high level of service that has always been required to compete in this market.  There are several challenges facing the manufacturing industry in today’s turbulent environment. One of the main industry specific issues, is the fact that there are many different manufacturing processes, such as; Lean Manufacturing, Flexible Manufacturing, Agile Manufacturing, Rapid Manufacturing and Just in Time (JIT) processes. To carry out any of these processes effectively requires a very specific solution, which is tailored to very specific business needs.

Supply chains are now truly global which has resulted in a huge demand for low cost. However, as stated before, simply cutting costs is not a sustainable way to gain competitive advantage in a price sensitive industry where quality is king. Manufacturers need to think outside of the box in order to find ways to add value. Another requirement for all manufacturers is that whatever CRM solution they choose needs to be flexible in order to adapt to changing market conditions. They also need the ability to accurately monitor the supply chain which relies on accurate inventory and manufacturing data.

Manufacturing and Dynamics CRM

Microsoft Dynamics CRM enables organisations to zero in on the areas of their business that add significant value. Manufacturers that utilise Microsoft Dynamics CRM are able to manage the core aspects of their business, such as; equipment and asset management, project management and account management in the same place. Marketing automation enables organisations to communicate more effectively with their customers based on their position within the sales funnel and response to past communication. Dynamics CRM integrates with other Microsoft products including; Outlook and OneNote which empowers users to collaborate. The user interface is familiar and easy to use which maximizes user adoption. It is now extremely important to harvest has much information as possible regarding the most profitable customer, the most effective communication method for different groups of customers, and how different markets respond to marketing efforts. Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows organisations to harvest and display this information to the people within the organisation in order to maximise productivity.

Update 1: Improve Customer Service Functionality

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Customer Service Industry Overview

Collectively, companies in the UK are haemorrhaging nearly £15 billion a year due to poor customer service, according to a survey by Harris/Clicksoftware. There is absolutely no valid reason for this. Some companies have begun the mammoth task of mopping up this reservoir of lost cash, however, there is still a long way to go. There has never been a better time for companies wishing to take a slice of the £15 billion pound pie, to invest in an infrastructure that can address the specific issues that are causing this massive amount of money to slip through the collective net. Customers these days don’t expect a flexible and tailored service, they demand it! Companies that don’t provide it will inevitably be left in the dust of those that do.

Dynamics CRM and Customer Service

The recent update to Microsoft Dynamics has further enhanced the capacity of its partners to provide their customers’ with necessary tools to take their slice of the pie. The update provides scope to offer the best customer service from multiple touchpoints, whilst on the move both online and offline. This ensures maximum productivity from agents, and that customers receive a consistently high level of service regardless of their preferred communication channel. This article is going to address the features and benefits that the recent update provides in terms of how it has enhanced customer service.

As mentioned before, it is now imperative for the companies wishing to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to customer service, to be as flexible as they possibly can be with regard to the way they communicate and the offers that they present their customers with. It shouldn’t be about what is easiest for the company, it should be about what is best for the customer. This includes knowing the level of service that they are entitled to at any one time, and making it available to them as soon as they need it.

Service Level Agreements enable users to differentiate between levels of support. They enable managers to track the KPIs that are most valuable to them i.e. first response time or case resolution time. The previous update saw improvements in terms of:

  • Updated case form to manage related cases, review entitlements, and a timer to ensure you do not exceed/breach your SLA’s
  • Defining and managing service entitlements and SLA’s
  • Creating dynamic routing and queuing rules to ensure you hit your service targets
  • merging duplicate or creating parent / child relationships between cases to eliminate redundancies

The recent update has further enhanced the user’s control on case management by enabling them to pause and resume SLA’s and track how long a case has been on hold or waiting on input from the customer to ensure that SLAs are met as efficiently as possible.

Increasingly Demanding Customers

Social media, mobile phones and other digital media have changed the way that customers interact with businesses. Customers now expect businesses to offer customer service through the ever expanding number of channels and platforms. Forbes claim that 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience, therefore it is imperative for businesses wishing to stand out based on customer service – which in today’s market, is one of the most influential differentiators – to take heed of this statistic and endeavour to provide an amazing customer experience through all relevant platforms. Forrester states that the modern customer also expect to be able to start an interaction in one channel and complete it in another. In 2014 and beyond, customer service professionals will work on better understanding the channel preference of their customer base, and guiding customers to the right channel based on their on the complexity and time-sensitivity of their inquiry.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM enables companies to build customer loyalty, empower users and facilitates resolution by offering a relevant, proactive and personalized service across all channels. Companies can connect their customers with the right answers to their service inquiries at the right time, via their channel of choice across web, social, chat, mobile and phone.

Barriers to CRM: Lack of Long term Strategy

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Lack of Long Term Strategy

There is an overwhelming number of variables that can cause a CRM initiative to fail. In order for an organisation to successfully implement a CRM system, they must first take steps to map out as many of these variables as they can, in an attempt to mitigate the associated risks, and give themselves the best possible chance to achieve maximum ROI as quickly as possible. These variables include;

  • The organisations resistance to change
  • A lack of employee buy in
  • A lack of management CRM experience
  • Integration issues
  • An organisation not illustrating the benefits to all stakeholders properly

Obviously there are far more variables than this, and these variable can vary from organisation to organisation. However, these are a few of the main factors that can throw a spanner in the works when implementing CRM. The issue that this article will focus on is, how a lack of long term strategy can cause major issues for organisations considering CRM.

Implications for Business

Businesses are often startled due to a lack of long term strategy to align their operations with the CRM. It’s impossible to accurately predict the future performance of your business, as there is an almost infinite number of economic, political and social uncertainties that surround most businesses today, and they are constantly changing. New technologies can make or break entire industries, and CRM systems are driven by these new technologies. A correctly planned, implemented and maintained CRM system can provide businesses with the tools to facilitate business changes and advances in technology. However, companies considering a CRM solution need to recognise the fact that a CRM system is not a business solution in itself. Saur (1993) made the point that, more often than not, a system will fail because of its users as opposed to the system itself. The common notion that CRM is a technology solution is still a significant stumbling block for far too many firms. A possible reason for this is that many companies view CRM as a tactic as opposed to a strategy. In an article by the iveybusinessjournal.com CRM is defined as…

“The ongoing process of identifying and creating new value with individual customers, and sharing the benefits over a lifetime association. It involves the understanding and managing of ongoing collaboration between suppliers and selected customers for mutual value creation and sharing.”

This definition concurs with the view that CRM implementation is a strategic decision as opposed to a tactical one. Effective implementation of CRM has to be approached in the same way as a business process change, which is supported by technology. Many organisations continue to look to CRM as a business remedy in itself. One of the main reasons an organisation would consider CRM implementation is to become more consumer-centric. Customer centricity is most definitely not something that happens overnight. Companies need to formulate a process or strategy for collaborative innovation and customer inclusion, in order to drill down to the areas where customer perceive value and constantly adapt their offering.

CRM Implementation

The most logical solutions to the strategy issue surrounding CRM implementation is for the organisation to take steps to fully understand their CRM requirements before adopting it. For an organisation considering a new CRM system or updating an old one, an effective way to fully understand the challenge at hand, would be to have members of the CRM implementation team spend time working on the front line, to get as vivid a picture as possible as to how the proposed CRM system could benefit the end users in terms of; productivity, ease of use, stress reduction and the user’s ability to zero in on the needs of the individual customer, and act accordingly in a timely manner. This will in turn help the organisation formulate long term strategies as well as streamline the CRM implementation process, as they will be able to accurately illustrate their specific business requirements to the team tasked with the development and customisation of their system.

How CRM facilitates Personalisation in the Finance industry

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Finance Industry Market Overview

According to MyCustomer.com the financial services sector is currently experiencing a “surge” in CRM uptake, the financial market is one of the most technology driven sectors and is now one of the largest buyers of CRM solutions. A possible explanation for this could be that in today’s dynamic economic environment, financial services organisations are experiencing more issues when trying to differentiate themselves from their competitors, because the industry is becoming more regulated in terms of price and distribution methods, so it is impossible to stand out on these elements alone. One of the best ways for companies in this space to differentiate is through providing outstanding customer service. In order to effectively attract and retain customers it is imperative to have an infrastructure in place, that is able to harvest and analyse the necessary customer data. Many companies are finding that a well thought out, well implemented and correctly maintained CRM system is just the tonic.

Companies in the financial services industry require innovative CRM for financial services strategies to create growth opportunities, to adapt quickly to changing capital market conditions, and to provide personalized products and services to their clients.  A tailored approach is a must for organisations wishing to stand out, a one size fits all approach to CRM simply does not cut it anymore. Customers expect a personalised approach as they have become accustomed to this in other industries and in order to be able to provide this effectively, organisations must know their customers inside out. Taking this into account, an effective financial services CRM software is key to effectively managing customer relationships across all channels and customer touch points. It is imperative that financial service organisations choose a CRM system that can be customised easily so that the organisation can adapt as the market continues to evolve.

Lack of Personalisation

In a report from thefinancialbrand.com it was asserted that only a few financial services companies have implemented true personalization for the broad retail segment. Banking products and services are usually categorized by one of two things; a high-degree of personal service with product personalization delivered to a small segment of wealthy individuals or standardized offerings to the broad consumer retail and mass affluent segments.

A correctly thought out and implemented CRM system can provide significant benefits to companies in finance for the following reasons. The social aspect of CRM (SCRM) can help ramp up customer service which, as mentioned before, is the primary way companies in this space differentiate themselves from the competition. SCRM allows both customers and organisation to engage in a two way dialogue: social media allows customer to voice their opinions on companies, products, services, the economy and financial service providers can use this information to provide a tailored service. blog.hootsuite.com states that Approximately 44% of adults now use the web to share grievances about products. This could be seen as a double edged sword, due to the fact that people are now much quicker to share details of mediocre experiences (that 20 years ago would not have been shared), with vastly increased numbers of people. When people share these experiences, it can be just as detrimental to an organisations brand loyalty levels as negative comments were in the past, due to the customers increased ability to shop around and low switching costs.

Another significant benefit of a well implemented CRM system for financial service organisations is the ability to implement monitoring tools to scour the internet to find complaints and various other mentions, not necessarily on owned accounts, which enables business to find and monitor conversations relating to their products. CSRs are then able to isolate the relevant mentions and respond to them in a way that will put the organisation in a more positive light than their competitors. This practice is essentially making customer service a pro-active exercise as well as a reactive one.

 

 

 

Update 1: Seamless Marketing Functionality

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Introduction

Marketing planning, execution and analysis is becoming more and more complex, due to the fact that there is an ever increasing number of variables to think about when considering how to effectively communicate with your target market. Marketers in 2015 have a record number of technologies, channels, and tactics to choose from. The first step toward a solid strategy is finding focus amid the noise. It is imperative that marketers to keep a close eye on the metrics that not only matter to their business, but also can truly be influenced. Update 1 has introduced and updated a number of new features that have provided many benefits across the spectrum of business functions. This article will outline the benefits related to the marketing functionality of Dynamics CRM.

Update 1 – Marketing

Behind the Scenes

There have been massive improvements behind the scenes, Dynamics CRM is now better equipped to store a higher volume of customers and deal with even bigger databases with even greater efficiency. This equates to;

  • Faster page loads
  • Improved application performance
  • Faster email delivery

Improved Lead Scoring

The Aberdeen Group Stated that 68% of best-in-class companies use lead scoring, in comparison with 28% of laggard firms. With Update 1 users now have the capacity to design a more detailed lead scoring model than ever before, leads can be scored based on;

  • Demographic variables
  • Contact interaction records
  • Custom data field values

For each lead, the system now provides detailed graphical and tabular views that show exactly which rules contributed to the total score over time and how much they affected it. In addition, users can choose to score leads either in real time or via batch processing.

Campaign Automation

The campaign automation canvas now displays the last and next run times for each tile and for the campaign itself. This allows the user to see how recently each tile was executed and the next time that it is due to run. On top of that, it provides statistics on emails that have been; Sent, opened, bounced and blocked. This information is key to adapting and incrementally improving any email campaign on an ongoing basis in order to improve on ROI. Forrester Research asserted that B2B marketers who implement marketing automation software increase their sales pipeline contribution by an average of 10%.

Seller Portal

The seller portal is an extremely useful too which helps bridge the gap between sales and marketing as it gives the sales people a high level overview of which marketing messages are reaching which contacts. This information is valuable as it ensures that sales people are well informed about which communications their customers have received before they meet with them. The sales portal provides the facility to have specific people removed from communications that will not interest them.

Folder level Tracking

Folder level tracking allows users to track emails on any device that supports Microsoft exchange folders. Users can create folders that automatically track emails so there is no need to do this manually for individual emails, simply drag and drop the email into the relevant folder. When the user creates a folder in CRM they associate against an account or opportunity. The use of inbox rules can automate the tracking of emails for specific addresses.

Behavioural Analysis

It is now possible to collect data about how contacts interact with your various marketing initiatives, including email interactions, landing page interactions and web visits. Behavioural-analysis script is generated for each website or sub-site that you wish to include in your analysis. Script must be add to each page that is to be monitored. This can be done by adding the script to the page templates in your CMS system.

Manage leads

The new update has introduced a comprehensive set of opportunity management, marketing database and lead management functions to break down the silos between sales and marketing and enable them to work together to nurture leads through their life cycle from capture to closure.

Keep track with calendars and activities

To increase communication and to ensure that everyone within an organisation is on the same page Dynamics CRM now has a fully customisable calendar that everyone with the necessary security roles can enter relevant information i.e. meetings, trade shows, conferences etc.

Event management

It is now possible to manage marketing events taking place at a specific location i.e. conferences, exhibits, trade shows, meetings and many more directly from CRM. Dynamics CRM keeps track of all event information in one central place and it is now possible to attach notes to each event if necessary to keep all relevant information together. It is also possible to track financial information and associate contacts with specific events so that all relevant information is at your fingertips. Other things that users are able to keep track of using event management include; Facilities, Staffing, Equipment/Materials, Jobs, tasks, Travel/Transportation, Media and Shipping.

Marketing performance measurement results

Marketing is becoming more of a science in terms of measurement and as a result there is more pressure to demonstrate its overall contribution to the organisation. A long standing issue in business is the fact that it is notoriously difficult to accurately measure and isolate marketing’s effect on sales. Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows for the accurate measurement of and organisations marketing efforts.

Marketing plans

Dynamics CRM marketing marketing’s plans functions allows users to formulate marketing plans, deliver them and analyse their results. Users are able to set specific objectives, conduct SWOT analysis.

Social media

Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides tools Dynamics CRM can be used to manage social media marketing campaigns and look at how social media users are responding. This is a great way for companies to see what works, and what does not and adjust their campaigns accordingly.

Social engagement provides users with insight into the way social media users view their brand. It is now possible to connect directly from Dynamics Marketing to social engagement to manage search terms and view a wide variety of widgets.

Generate built-in reports and work with analytical views

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing provides both analytical views and pre-designed reports that make it easy for you to analyze and present your marketing results and other data. The analytical views are intended for viewing on-screen, though you can also export them to Excel, while the reports are optimized more for exporting and printing. Analytical views and pre-designed reports make it easier to analyse and present marketing data.

Barriers to CRM: Lack of management experience and knowledge of how to approach CRM properly

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Reason Why 63% of CRM Initiatives Fail

New CRM initiatives currently have a 63% fail rate, according to a new study by Merkle Group Inc. For anyone considering CRM this is quite a scary statistic, although not surprising, when you consider the number of that barriers that face organisations implementing a new CRM system or updating their current one. These barriers include; Lack of employee buy-in, unclear business objectives, lack of long term strategy, unclear about data requirements and companies often buy systems that are not fit for their specific business requirements. These are just a few examples of barriers that face organisations considering CRM. It is of the utmost importance for companies thinking about investing in CRM to fully understand CRM what it can do and the level of commitment required to make it a success, along with the possible pitfalls and the steps required to avoid them. This article will focus on how a lack of managerial experience, and knowledge of how to approach CRM properly can cause major issues for companies who try to implement CRM without heeding this advice.

Keys to Success

In order for a CRM project to be a success, it is imperative that all levels of the organisation buy into it from the very start. This needs to be a top to bottom process, where top level management illustrate the benefits of implementation to the rest of the organisation, in terms of;
• Why there is a need for CRM in the first place.
• How it will enable the end users to increase their productivity
• How it will helps the organisation as a whole
• How it will remedy current pain points

Areas that require Understanding

When an organisation is implementing a new CRM system or updating their current one, there is a lot of information required before selecting a system that can cater to an organisations specific business needs and data requirements. Managers need to have an in-depth understanding of their customer’s buying cycle, current pain points that end users are experiencing, and the data they need to harvest in order to meet the needs of their customers more effectively.

Lack of Managerial Experience in CRM

When top level management do not have the knowledge required to approach CRM implementation properly, it will be impossible for them illustrate the benefits to the rest of the organisation, which means that they are essentially setting themselves up for failure. Many managers view CRM as a glorified address book, and in order for CRM implementation to be successful this outlook has to change as it will inevitably permeate down through the organisation to the end users. If management approach a CRM initiative without researching the full spectrum of benefits that a correctly tailored, implemented and maintained system with full stakeholder buy-in can provide in relation to their specific business objectives, they will have difficulty achieving a satisfactory ROI in a reasonable timeframe.

Management Need to Understand Customer Buying Cycle

An issue that many managers face is that they do not understand the buying cycle of their customers to the required depth. David Ciccarelli, cofounder and CEO of Voices.com says “to solve this problem, organizations should sketch out a workflow diagram that depicts the customer life cycle.” This visual tool will aid in not only customizing your CRM but fully taking advantage of its functionality.

Management Need to Understand CRM

It is imperative that management take the time to fully understand CRM and how it can benefit them in terms of achieving their business objectives and their staff in terms of how it makes their life less stressful thus enabling them to increase productivity. The process of acquiring this knowledge may not be as straight forward as some managers’ think. In order to drill down to the necessary depth managers need to engage in an on-going dialogue with front line staff, Chris Fritsch, CRM consultant and owner of CLIENTSFirst Consulting states that “To succeed with CRM, organizations should get end users actively involved before even looking at systems.” This dialogue may take some time to put in place, and significant commitment from staff at all levels to maintain, however it is an integral part of CRM implementation and if done correctly will pay dividends down the line.
Management Need to Understand Front Line Needs Pain points
If an organisation is implementing a new CRM or updating an existing one, it is crucial to understand the areas where their front line staff are experiencing issues or areas where they could be better supported. It is one of the main jobs of an effectively implemented CRM system to enable users to focus 100% on the job at hand, as opposed to getting round the flaws in their current CRM system that is simply not fit for purpose.

Takeaways

There is a lot of legwork that needs to be done before implementing a CRM solution. If this legwork is not done properly, it is likely that you will add to the 63% of companies that fail. However, if the necessary steps are taken to get to grips with what CRM can actually do and how it can be tailored to your organisation, your customers and your staff, it is likely that you will become part of the 37% of companies that enjoy a great ROI, increased staff productivity and customer satisfaction. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a fantastic tool, which can provide companies with the necessary tools to turn data into profit.