Although CRM software has become more popular over recent years, there are still a number of myths about how the technology affects businesses, as well as uncertainty over the way it really works and the benefits it offers.
These myths can prevent companies from spending cash on their CRM system, perhaps because they feel like the much-vaunted benefits it offers have been over-stated by experts or chief marketing officers keen to make their stamp on the business.
Here, we will seek to dispel some of the most common misconceptions about CRM, clearing up some of the issues around the technology and highlighting what it can offer to companies keen to automate elements of their marketing system.
However, we will also point out that companies need to ensure they have their house in order before they decide to invest in the software.
CRM is just about customer service
Customer relationship management (the clue is in the name) is often considered to be simply about dealing with the links between clients or consumers and the business they are purchasing goods or services from. While this conception is understandable, the reality is that CRM offers a considerably more holistic system than this formulation allows.
Although CRM software will help combine the disparate elements of sales, retention, customer service and client support, it will also make it easier for marketers to analyse data and utilise information to produce actionable insights.
With the emergence of big data as a worldwide trend and the increased technological capabilities of many industries, being able to deal with large amounts of information is crucial for marketers.
Last year, research from Forrester Consulting found that only 17 per cent of firms consider themselves to be mature professionals when it comes to behavioural marketing, highlighting just how much this area is set to develop in the coming years.
Only 45 per cent of marketers surveyed were capturing and consolidating customer behavioural data from multiple channels in a single database. Doing so could help firms get ahead of the crowd.
In addition to its basic function of managing and automating elements of customer service, CRM can offer a great deal of help to businesses keen to sift through the vast morass of data they gather each day and turn it into something that can provide leads and guidance to their marketers.
CRM is too complex
Many people, especially smaller business owners, may feel that investing in CRM technology will prove to be a complex and confusing task, instead preferring to stick with their own tried-and-tested methods.
While their caution is understandable, the reality is that a well-integrated CRM system, tailored especially for a company, should be intuitive and helpful rather than complicated.
Although it is important to have the right staff in place to utilise the software effectively, a company should be able to get the best out of its CRM assuming it considers all the possibilities available to it and opts for the most suitable one during the initial purchase period.
CRM is a one-size-fits-all solution
This misconception is a common one with companies investing in CRM and can cause major problems further down the line, if firms feel that the software will solve all of their marketing problems and fail to ensure it is sufficiently tailored to their industry.
It is crucial a company is clear about its needs and demands before installing its customer relationship management programme, as if it is not it can end up with an unwieldy system that proves difficult to use.
Conversely, particularly for larger companies, it is vital their CRM is customised to ensure they have all the facilities they need when it comes to managing both data and clients.
One of the great benefits of CRM is the number of changes that can be made to it depending on how a firm wishes to utilise it. For instance, companies can install a relatively simple system and then add to it over time as workers become more capable of using it effectively.