Public Sector: Digital Transformation through Microsoft Dynamics 365

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Can public sector organisations afford not to take advantage of digital tools?

It’s a slightly controversial statement but nevertheless true, that whilst commerce and industry advance at speed towards great digital change, the public sector in the UK is in danger of being left behind. Potentially, at great sacrifice to public health, wellbeing and economic wealth. It’s indeed an uncomfortable truth that our most visionary, forward thinking public sector leaders are challenged every day in a drive to make UK public services world-leading again.

Digital transformation in the public sector

In the UK’s Institute for Government’s Manifesto for Changing Public Services it’s estimated that up to £46billion could be saved across UK public sector year on year with digital transformation that eradicates out-dated legacy systems and the need for costly suppliers. Which equates to an additional 1m frontline public servants.

Which begs the question, can public sector organisations afford not to take advantage of the digital tools available today?

Innovative public sector leaders value digital change

Innovative leaders in the public sector continue to push the mandate in a positive direction, encouraging their boards and final decision makers to engineer the digital change that will steer the UK and its people in the right direction. All the while, commercial private sector businesses, innovative third sector organisations and manufacturing, banking and financial services leap ahead with digital transformation that’s energising their business, boosting their bottom lines, massively slashing costs and increasing customer satisfaction tenfold.

Deploying an innovative digital toolkit has the power to solve much of the organisational pain our local authorities and service providers face, whilst correcting the disconnect that so many of our citizens feel from our elected leaders and public services. Saving heaps of money from public funds in the process.

CRM for citizen engagement

As the demographic make-up of our country ages and shifts, it has never been more important to reach citizens at a time that suits them, where they naturally consume their media and messages. Our culturally diverse and digitally switched on nation demand personalised multi-channel, multi-lingual interactions. Keeping citizens informed, engaged and aware in a cost effective, timely manner, and in a way that speaks their metaphorical language is invaluable. Yet a difficult operation without the right digital tools.

CRM solutions for the public sector

Enter Redspire and Microsoft Dynamics 365, with the tools and expertise you need revolutionise your organisation. Bespoke solutions built to your organisational needs, these purpose-built Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications work seamlessly to help manage specific business functions across the organisation including Customer Service, Operations, Finance, Field Service, and Marketing, and all contribute to Customer/Citizen Insights.

CRM in simple terms simple terms is a category of integrated, data-driven solutions that improve how you interact and do business with your clients. CRM systems and applications are designed to manage relationships, track engagements and sales, and deliver actionable data, all in one place.

The next generation of intelligent business

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the next generation of intelligent business applications that enable organisations to grow, evolve and transform. As technology continues to transform the world, Redspire are a driving force that will help public sector organisations optimise operations, reach and engage with the public and empower employees to deliver services and the most personalised and powerful ways

Digital Transformation is here. And it isn’t only for corporate, digitally focused businesses. The tools must be deployed for public sector organisations. Our public services can, and should be as accessible as Amazon, as easy to use as Google and as exciting and flexible as Uber and AirBnB. And all delivered ethically to deliver front end services, in the public’s best interests and with the ability to save millions in public funds.

AI for the Public Sector

Artificial Intelligence has become ‘The New Normal’ and touches many aspects of our everyday life. Early adopter public sector agencies like Enfield Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council are already seeing the transformative value for services and citizen engagement, investing in AI chatbots to improve customer service, simplify internal processes and to guide residents through various form fill processes.

Constantly learning from previous conversations with residents, these revolutionary bots have the power to improve response times to generic service queries in areas like benefits and council tax queries, refuse collection requests and so much more.

Future planning with CRM

What does the future hold? The certainties are improved efficiencies, reduced demand on services and employees, a holistic citizen view that creates a better client experience and improved insights that lead more effective service provision. Digital tech provides a tremendous opportunity to improve all citizens life, for the common good of our country, and with ethics, security and privacy at the forefront of all decision making.

The fourth Industrial Revolution is here

We are now part of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The McKinsey Institute has stated that AI is contributing directly to a tremendous transformation of society, “happening ten times faster and at 300 times the scale, or roughly 3,000 times the impact” of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800’s.

What does this mean practically? Digital learning and skills development will be a core component of literacy and basic life skills. From pre-school to higher education, our education system must revolutionise and ‘keep up’ with the constant digital developments to ensure we don’t face skills shortages or challenges with talent acquisition.

What is certain however, is that change resistance within the public sector is beginning to break down. The opportunities for cost and efficiency savings, shared resources and joined up processes are too phenomenal to be ignored. Case in point, the Smart London plan, in which the City of London sets out the bold yet achievable ambition to become the smartest city in the world through mobilised services, data innovation and Artificial Intelligence. Improving the lives of some 30 million visitors, residents and workers.

Accelerating Digital: An Interactive Forum for Public Sector Leaders

Redspire has been a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner for over 15 years, helping all types of organisations across the UK transform through digital innovation and improvement. Our ever-expanding team of Microsoft certified consultants bring Dynamics 365 to life, with a bespoke solution that overcomes unique organisational challenges with a straightforward, customer centric approach. Our clients stick around, partnering with us long term, every time.

If you’re a digital leader who’d like to be part of the discussion on advancing digital transformation for the greater good in your organisation, reserve your spot at our interactive forum for public sector leaders today.

This not to be missed forum on 30th May, chaired by Dr Jim Hamill – in association with Microsoft, Bridgeall and Exactive – will inform, set the tone for the future of digital innovation in Scotland, and provide invaluable tools and support to persuade stakeholders and key decision makers on your future vision.

Full details can be found here – Accelerating Digital: An Interactive Forum for Public Sector Leaders. Sign up today.

Accelerating Digital Event: An Interactive Forum for Public Sector Leaders

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The need for public sector organisations to transform digitally is now widely accepted. Senior Executives seeing the value and embracing change and digital innovation that will positively shape their future of the organisations they lead.

With the focus shifting from the WHY to the HOW of transformation, Redspire and our partners invite you to the Accelerating Digital Interactive Forum for Public Sector Leaders, which will present scenarios covering the public sector workplace of the future.

Microsoft Gold Partners Redspire, Bridgeall, and Exactive, invite public sector leaders to share how the Microsoft toolset – including 365 – has helped them drive change in their organisations.

Using live interactive audience polling and open group discussion, forum participants will be able to:

  • Share their hopes, aspirations for and experiences of driving digital change.
  • Evaluate the digital transformations progress currently being made, benchmarked against accepted best practice.
  • Assess the main drivers, barriers and obstacles to change.
  • Review how these can be overcome, providing highly practical advice to achieve success.

The forum findings will be developed into a short White Paper: “The State of Public Sector Transformation, 2018” and made available to all participants after the event.

Please join us in this interactive and highly valuable event and add your voice and experiences to the debate on accelerating digital in the public and third sectors.

You can find more information about the event and register to attend, free of charge, here.

The Redspire team, and our valued partners look forward to seeing you there.

 

 

10 Things to Know About Your CRM Partner

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Why does CRM sometimes fail to deliver? Why does any relationship?

Here are ten ways to make sure you have the right CRM software partner.

  1. Know their strengths. Are they dedicated to the CRM platform you have chosen? Are they working with it day in/day out?  Have they worked within a business like yours before and if not, how well do they know (or get to know during pitch) your sector’s challenges?
  2. Know their structure. It’s all too easy to give the contract to a CRM partner on the basis of price, proposal and the people you met at the pitch. But those are all fleeting moments and what you need to know is the day-to-day reality of working with them. Who are the team working that will work day in and out on your project and what are their roles? How do they communicate with clients, and with each other? What processes do they follow to make sure nothing slips through the net or is misunderstood? What are their individual competencies and experience? What additional value will they bring to the project?
  3. Know what you’re getting. What level of system detail can you expect to see before being expected to sign on the dotted line? Make sure it’s what you’ll need bearing in mind the different stakeholders who will have to sign off on your final decision.
  4. Know their wider business knowledge. This might seem obvious. It’s all very well having a partner who knows the CRM platform inside out but they have to also have business sense. You want them to understand the current customer experience challenges that technology, legislation and your sector are throwing up, as well as then quickly understanding the process challenges from within your business. Do they understand how to be GDPR compliant? Can they help you get there?
  5. Know their capacity. What else they are working on during the timescales you are planning around. Do they have capacity? Should you wait until they do? Will you be a priority?
  6. Know their skills. Don’t just ask how many clients they have, who they’ve helped or the results. Know what kind of modifications they’ve made to make the CRM platform work with client’s existing infrastructure.
  7. Know their aftercare approach. Once you’re up and running, how do they stay in touch with you and your team? What does support look like? Is it as and when? Proactive? Reactive? Are they providing value all the way through?
  8. Know their honesty. Just how clear are they about what can and can’t be done? Do you sense there are things being said to secure the deal? Trust your instinct and push for commitment if you’re not sure.
  9. Know your own project team. Are they and the potential partner team compatible? They are going to be working closely together and it would be far more beneficial to have a mutually respectful relationship rather than supplier/client.
  10. Know their current client list. Don’t be put off by where they don’t already have a business in your sector. It means there will be no conflict of interest and with any good partner, they will be party of their platform network and as such, have access to shared knowledge and practice that will only add even more to the balance of skills, technical know-how, business aptitude and team relationship.

Our CRM discovery webinar series was set up to help you own each stage of the CRM journey so that you can arrive at the right software and partner for your organisation.

Catch up on our free webinar series ‘Your 8 Steps to CRM Implementation Success’

 

Want to know more about Redspire? Here’s our MD Billy to give you a quick summary:

Why CRM Doesn’t Instantly Create Customer Experience

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Every year, at around this time, we like to reflect on the year that’s passed and what the key learnings have been for us as a business and for the wider CRM landscape.

This year, unsurprisingly, one of the main themes is the blurred line of customer experience and customer service.

With much of our new work this year coming from the insurance and financial services sector, we’ve been at the coal face of one of the most commoditised markets, and each and every one of those projects has been a salient reminder of the enormity of customer experience.

Regardless of the sector that your business is operating in, customer service and customer experience are two different things.

Customer service is about those individual moments when employees are providing direct interaction to customers, what happens prior and what happens next.

Customer experience is so much wider than that. It encompasses every single aspect of how a customer perceives your organisation. Website, packaging, events, marketing campaigns, sponsorships, blogs, product delivery, going beyond the necessary, knowing customers so well you can predict what they might be interested in next, knowing when to back off, knowing their price.

So, even with the best efforts of every single department to provide excellent customer service every time, if they are not joined up, your customer is left with just a snapshot, and that’s not enough to evoke the positive feeling you need to create customer loyalty. It’s enough to satisfy their need in that particular transaction but nothing more.

That comes down to emotions. Yes, even in B2B.

Emotions shape the attitudes that drive decisions. More than 50% in fact according to the Journal of Consumer Research.

Customers will be loyal because they remember how they feel dealing with you. If you get it right once, well done. If you get it right twice, not bad at all. If you get it right across the whole journey, you’ll win their loyalty. I know if I think about the businesses that we deal with, and those I interact with personally, I know I could go anywhere at any time. I have to like them. I have to think they make my life easier or better in some way. And for our insurance clients where prices can always be matched, it’s been even more critical that they don’t slip up, ever.

In one department such as claims handling, everything could go beautifully. But if I’m the customer and I’m contacted at the same time about a fantastic new product and it doesn’t recognise I’m currently dealing with another claim, I’m going to wonder why departments aren’t talking to each other! Separate decisions in separate departments all impact on customer experience so it MUST be joined up.

Businesses starting their journey with CRM generally always want to know how it will help create customer experience.

It won’t. It will, however, facilitate it.

It will bring together all of those excellent customer service efforts into one place meaning that the overall effort can be overseen and future needs can be predicted before the customer even knows they have the need. You can be attentive and proactive without wasting their time.

With 60% of customers willing to pay more for a better experience (according to American Express) and the increase in customer loyalty that comes with it, look beyond the functionality of the CRM systems you are looking at, and really get to grips with the very first stage of how it will inform your overall experience.

 

Want to follow up on this?

We’ve broken the CRM journey into key chapters. Find the full series overview here.

In the spirit of customer experience, we also like to talk. Every conversation leads to more knowledge so feel free to get in touch!

5 Reasons to Celebrate GDPR

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25th May 2018 is etched onto the minds of businesses as the date where all data has to be in order. GDPR is approaching fast.

 

Is it a big task? Yes, of course.

Should you be worried? Only if you’re doing nothing.

Is it an opportunity? Absolutely!

 

It’s an Opportunity to Contact

Yes, it’s ironic. The very fact that some people may not want to be contacted anymore gives you a reason to contact them.  That’s a fantastic opportunity. You are delivering good news – that you take their privacy seriously and that you only ever want them to send information that will add value to their day. That’s better than many other messages they will have had from you in the past. As long as you are/have been clear and transparent with opt-ins and you can track this, you can keep them on file. Win-Win.

 

Better data means truer results.

So, yes, your data count may come down by quite a lot. But how engaged is your database? You’d expect your active customer database to be vibrant and active but what about your prospects? The chances are you have mailed them more than they’d like and if they haven’t replied by now, well, I think you know the answer. So, how does that look when you’re reporting campaign results? If you can weed out the prospects that don’t want to be contacted, your response rate will actually improve. Don’t worry about those you’ve lost. They’ll be grateful to you and chances are they’ll find you again if they have a need.

 

Get the edge over your Competitors

Who would you rather do business with? The company who respected your right to privacy? Or the one who didn’t get around to it? The one who saw it as an opportunity to check in with you and see if there is still an opportunity there? Or the one who just did nothing and hoped for the best?  GDPR is not just a new legal requirement. It’s a customer experience opportunity and something that should become regular practice. This could be one of the best incentives you’ll ever have to sharpen up your data strategy.

 

Underhand Tactics Cost

There’s something reassuring about knowing that the businesses who disregard data privacy will have bigger penalties. Although getting it right for your business will initially take effort, the overall benefit for us all as businesses and consumers makes it worthwhile. GDPR is a customer experience improvement that we all benefit from and whilst it’s a high cost for unintentional slip-ups, it’s a fair one for blatant disregard.

 

Inform your Strategy

Use the opportunity well and you could find out more about what makes them tick and where exactly they are in the buying journey. You can discover content needs, preferred communication, other interests just for starters. Basically, segmentation and targeting insight that will help you to freshen up your conversation with them and move them along the pipeline.

From our point of view, a Dynamics 365 CRM system with true, segmented and up to date data will always provide sharper insights for operational efficiency and opportunity spotting. With a platform so good at bringing information from around the organisation into single customer views, it means precision and process that will convert.

Want to know more about GDPR? Watch our GDPR Q&A webinar or drop us an email at info@redspire.co.uk for more information on how Dynamics 365 can help.

6 CRM Rules to Make Sure It Delivers

What’s the difference between the businesses that cite CRM as the reason they’re leading and CRM that fails to deliver?

The answer could be superficial stakeholder engagement.

Most businesses understand the importance of getting buy-in to CRM and so most do some form of customer/stakeholder engagement, but in our experience, it barely scratches the surface and leaves some pretty fundamental opportunities undiscovered.

So, before you begin writing that CRM business case, here are six key stakeholder engagement points to explore.

 

  1. CRM OBJECTIVES

What do you want CRM to do for your business beyond the headlines of ‘increase sales’ or ‘improve productivity’? What does collaborative working actually look like for your organisation? Stakeholder engagement will help you to identify key issues and refine your objectives e.g. Issue: Cannot consume all data on a customer in the same place. Objective: To manage customer data in one place which, in the case of Microsoft Dynamics 365, is the Single Customer View.

 

  1. BUSINESS WIDE

The most successful CRM implementations begin with stakeholder engagement across the entire business. Customer experience is not just the remit of sales, marketing or customer service. It’s every single touchpoint. What works well in one department may cause a real problem in another. So, HR, IT, sales, marketing, customer service, operations, administration, finance, compliance, customer handling et al. Every department needs to be explored.

 

  1. CRM PLATFORM COMPETENCIES

Look at your teams in every department. Who will be using the platform? What is their current level of training? How easily do you expect they will adapt? Over what time period? What other programmes are they already used to using? The answers to these questions need to sit alongside the features that you will need to meet the objectives that you have identified during stakeholder engagement.

 

  1. FRONTLINE KNOWLEDGE

Only frontline staff can genuinely articulate the customer experience that their department creates. Therefore, only they can describe where their efforts work either in harmony or at odds with other departments. They will know why certain initiatives didn’t work. They will be able to see both the customer and business view. It’s a real hands-on experience compared to senior management or head office who will often rely on data. The insight of frontline staff is the difference between evolving a faulty process versus creating a far better one.  If it’s sensitive, use your CRM partner for scoping – any good CRM partner will have the skills and experience to have those conversations.

 

  1. EMPLOYEE BUY IN

If new software and processes are going to be created that will truly ‘up’ your customers’ experience of dealing with you, then every member of staff has to be behind it. It has to work in their favour. They have to feel consulted. Doing your homework early on, and thoroughly, will prevent resistance and increase ownership. Giving them an idea of how a new process might work before it comes into play allows them to highlight where it could cause problems that would not likely be identified by management. Many software changes bring a cost to staff in some form or another, even if that’s just pushing them out their comfort zone, so to guarantee user adoption, they must be consulted and given an opportunity to input.

 

  1. AVOID TOO MANY COOKS

Whilst you need to consult across the business, which should form part of your business case, a good CRM project manager will be able to distil and convey key points internally and externally so the project team isn’t pushed off the timeline. They will set up stakeholder working groups/sessions to ensure they are consulted throughout the process. Again, if you’re unsure about how to do this, a good partner can help with scoping.

 

In short, ask questions. Find out the why as well as the what. Explore what works and what doesn’t. Look at data, departments and frontline experience together.  Use stakeholder engagement to see how the customer experience jigsaw comes together. Don’t cut corners.

Learn more about choosing the CRM platform that’s right for your business and developing your CRM strategy in our webinar series Your 8 Steps to CRM Implementation Success.

Customer Experience: May the battle commence

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How would your customers rate the customer experience you give them? Would they call you customer-centric?

The various departments of your organisation may all be delivering exceptional customer service but if it doesn’t all hang together into a solid journey from start to finish, then you are probably losing opportunities and loyalty.

Customer experience is a big topic.  Where customer service is about a one-time interaction, customer experience is about the coming together of all touchpoints with consistency across channels. The aim is that each customer feels like you know and understand them and that you know what you are doing, that all the moving parts of your business work together effortlessly to produce the products and services that you are guaranteeing. One weak link such as incorrect records, repeated conversations, chasing for information or poor delivery standards after a promising start casts doubt over the whole operation.

It’s predicted that 2020 will see customer experience overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. That’s a good thing for businesses striving to provide the best quality of product and service in their category but without the operational set up to make the customer journey work, it could be the end for many.

 

What does a good experience look like?

The goal is that intangible factor- likeability. If you imagine you were looking at two identical proposals from two different companies whom you believe to offer very similar products and who want your business. Which one do you give the business to? Yep, the one you just feel more drawn to, who seems more able, who is ‘on it’, who you don’t have to teach to suck eggs, who you feel can relate and understand you and your needs.

 

Here are just a few of the most important factors.

Consistent Customer Insight – With insight from across the business, you can personalise experiences, tailor communications, cross-sell, up-sell then use all that knowledge of what works to create other opportunities. Single Customer View and Voice of the Customer are just two of the tools that let you collate and access this level of knowledge in Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Omnichannel Engagement – It seems obvious but a customer should be able to interact with you over a multitude of channels and still get a consistent experience. So, if a customer has engaged with you on one channel, they then expect you to know that when they then contact you through another channel. Likewise, they expect you to know the detail of that interaction and to be able to pick up where they left off with no repetition. 52% of consumers say that they are less likely to engage with a company if the mobile experience is a let-down.

Responsive customer experience – Every interaction should help to inform the next and not only that, it should help to improve the customer journey for every customer that comes after.

 

So, what now?

Businesses are investing.  According to a Gartner survey, more than 50% will redirect investment into customer experience technologies next year with the first focus on the ways that they collect and analyse customer feedback.

Do you know how your organisation will respond to the new customer experience battlefield?  In our next blog, we’ll give you the lowdown on how Microsoft Dynamics 365 is making it easier for you to bring your organisation into alignment with your customer experience goals.

And if you’re currently looking at CRM, you might find our webinar ‘What CRM solutions are available?’ helpful where we’ll explore the many options open to you!

What if you get CRM wrong…but what if you get it right?

If you’re investigating CRM for your business right now, you may have read articles about what happens when it goes wrong.

In fact, if you were to ask leading businesses who are successfully using CRM what their journey to CRM success looked like, there may well be some tales along the way.

We solely concentrate on Microsoft Dynamics 365 but when we sit down with our clients at the beginning of our discovery process, we always explore whether it will do for these new businesses what it has done for our long-standing clients.

And here’s what our experience has taught us.  No one CRM is right for every business.

And yes, the negative stories cite some truths. Get your CRM partner or platform wrong and you’ll struggle with poor user adoption, forgotten (key) features, ongoing silo working, ignoring valuable features and a board that is less than impressed with the return on their investment.

But what can you do to get your CRM project right?

We go into more detail in our Step 2 webinar ‘What CRM solutions are available’ which is part of our 8 Steps to CRM Implementation Success series, but in the meantime, here are a few tips.

 

Define requirements & objectives

Define why you need a CRM. You can’t compare solutions unless you know what you need it to do. You could end up either over or under spec’d and create more problems than you started with.

 

Stakeholder engagement

Consult with and know the needs of every stakeholder in the business. What are the processes, data requirements and current systems of every department? What do they need now and what could they achieve in the future with upgraded functionality? What do they definitely not want? Getting this right will increase the likelihood of high user adoption.

 

Platform research

Look at the bigger picture of each CRM platform. The functionality, licensing approach, customisation possibilities, compatibility with existing systems, sector suitability and its scalability are all considerations.

 

Choose the right partner

Meet potential CRM partners. We often find that it’s the people in our business that make all the difference to our clients. They will be working alongside and within your business during implementation and staying on hand to support you. It’s worth having synergy.

When CRM is implemented well, it can catapult your business into a more forward thinking and profitable approach. Start with the basics and you can build CRM into your business to be the bedrock of more innovation.

Although we are a Microsoft Dynamics 365 partner, our webinar series, 8 Steps to CRM Implementation Success, is an objective look at the process that anyone charged with investigating CRM for their organisation should follow.

Throughout the series, our MD, Billy Lyle, guides businesses through each step of the CRM journey. Step 2 focusses on what CRM solutions are out there. Watch this short webinar learn about your CRM options and continue your own journey to getting CRM strategy, planning and stakeholder engagement right first time.

CRM – the bedrock of bigger thinking

The businesses that are growing despite the stuttering economy and uncertainty all have one thing in common – customer insight. And they’re not afraid to use it.

It’s not surprising but many businesses looking at their competitors might think that they have a better management team, bigger budgets to spend or an easier product to sell.  Yet we know that the most exciting business growth comes from customer insight because without it, products would be misfired, resource wasted, leads burned and opportunities lost.

Don’t be mistaken – many of the businesses that you are perhaps comparing your own with are probably working hard at the foundations. The hidden hero of customer insight is the structure where it’s all pulled into so that patterns can be detected and opportunities spotted. Without that, none of the forward-thinking innovations would be possible.

Following the DMA Awards last December, we were reminded of why insight is so important.

Ikea’s strategy to boost family card swipes happened because they knew usage rates from their data. The insight led them to the opportunity and that led them to their campaign which then went on to revive a stagnant customer loyalty programme and increase revenue. We can guess that they are continually monitoring that data now and looking for more insights for future initiatives.

When Royal London wanted to increase over 50s life cover sales and market share through paid search, it targeted individuals, not keywords. To do that, they needed to know enough about their existing over 50s customers. Their outstanding campaign results meant they also needed to continue that level of individuality on the customer journey that followed.

Virgin Trains could never have run their public transport customer survey through multi-channel marketing automation without efficient and thorough insight analysis guiding them to their next move.

A CRM strategy  can help your business gather the insight and analysis you need to drive business change and growth. CRM is not the result, it’s the strategy to get it. It’s the structure that holds up the award-winning campaigns, initiatives and results so that they’re effectiveness can be forecast and their results analysed.

It’s the engine that keeps the business running as a unit, not as a collection of silos. It’s where staff can singlehandedly spot an opportunity to pass on to other departments. It’s where insights surface in the most unexpected places.

It’s not just where technology can increase the efficiency of every team member and every department. It’s not just a repository for segmentation and delivery. It’s not just a boon for compliance, GDPR and data security. It’s not just a place to organise and see the sales pipeline.

It’s where ideas can come from.

And like all good things, there is a way of doing things that will bring better results and that will challenge you to examine the reasons for wanting it.

So, in your rush to get to those business headlines, remember the role that CRM plays in getting you there and give it the time and focus it needs to bring it into play effectively.

Want to know more about building a CRM strategy and what CRM can do for your business? Watch our Webinar Series ‘Your 8 steps to CRM Implementation Success’ and start scoping your CRM business case now.

5 Must Knows for your CRM Research

So, you have the remit to explore CRM for your organisation.

You might be the CEO, the CTO, the COO or the Project Manager. Or maybe you’re just expected to report into them with your findings.

Either way, the CRM scoping and selection process knows no job titles and whilst the journey can be shortened, be very wary of missing out each of the important steps.

 

Here are five important things to note:

  1. CRM is way beyond a sales management tool. It’s a business strategy that lets you identify the needs and behaviours of your customers to win their loyalty. This isn’t just about seeing what they’ve bought and knowing what to sell them next. It’s about their every single interaction with your organisation and CRM lies at the very core of every area.
  1. Finding the right CRM system isn’t about which one is the most popular, or which one is cheapest, or indeed which one your competitors use. It’s far more complex. Integration with existing systems and software, customisation options, the appropriate levels of functionality for what you need now and in the future as well as user adoption all matter. Indeed, even the way that a software vendor interacts with its partner network is important so that you know where responsibilities lie for proposals, implementation and ongoing support.
  1. Whether you are migrating from one CRM system to another, moving from Excel, working with sector-specific compliance software or upgrading existing CRM, the process is king. There are objectives for every stage of the CRM scoping process, all of which are designed to help your business meet its objectives for CRM. And in most cases, create new ones once you know what is possible.
  1. It’s not a solo effort. Creating a CRM strategy and finding the right solution takes not just process, but collaboration. Stakeholder engagement is important. Every department can benefit from CRM but only if the right questions are asked of the right people from the outset. Customer services, operations, compliance, data security, IT, sales, marketing, administration, product development, distribution. The list goes on.
  1. Preparing a business case is crucial. It provides your board with the rationale, recommendation and expected ROI of your CRM proposal. However, what starts out as a detailed document is often reduced to no more than a few pages for the C Suite to read over. Make sure you know what they are looking for and stay true to the original objectives, as well as identifying the new opportunities that CRM creates.

 

Step-by-Step CRM Webinar Series

We’re often asked about every single one of the areas above. So, we’re running a free (and objective) Step-by-Step CRM Preparation Series that will make sure you have thought of everything.  It’s one thing to know what should be done, but sometimes insight from people who have done it before makes all the difference.

 

STEP 1: Your CRM Strategy in 2017

In the first of our webinars, we look at what a CRM strategy is, as well as why and how businesses across every sector are using CRM to meet their business objectives and challenges.

Watch our webinar and find out more about the whole series, here. And if you’d rather bypass the webinar series but still want the knowledge, why not give one of our consultants a call on 0845 226 8170 or have a look at our discovery day options.