52% of all CRM projects fail to meet customer expectations.
We often hear that a CRM system is a key investment companies make to enable and measure the success of marketing campaigns and to boost sales performance. But does it really work?
Research shows that CRM implementations often under deliver. Many are late, over budget, and companies don't realize the expected or anticipated benefits.
In my opinion, it's due to several key factors. I'll attempt to give you some insights and tips on how to be successful, whatever system you choose to implement. As a Gold certified partner of Microsoft, we are biased towards the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform but these principles hold true for any CRM project.
Tip 1: Define your business outcome first. What do you expect out of the system? What business results do you want? How will you measure them? What else needs to happen, other than a new CRM system to get the outcome you are looking for (think people, process and technology?). It’s easier to achieve benefits when you know specifically which benefits you’re looking for.
Tip 2: A CRM implementation is not an IT project; it's a business project. Choose a partner that can help with the business processes and people issues, not just with the implementation of the software. Like any business project, you need to focus on 3 areas: People, Process, and Technology. Failure to execute properly in any of these 3 areas will cause your project not to be as successful as it could be.
Tip 3: Learn to crawl before you run. I would not recommend a full rollout to all sales and marketing personnel at once. Start small with a few people that are early adopters and that will become champions for the roll-out to the rest of the organization.
This will allow you to:
Iron-out any issues that were not caught during design / testing with people that will be more accommodating than a large audience of new users
Test the business processes and make changes as needed to ensure the expected benefits can be achieved
Test the training prior to delivering it to the majority of users
Have an early success story!
Tip 5: If you don't have a good marketing process, define one. How will you bring in new prospects? Do you have access to a database of companies and contacts? Do you create campaigns for mailers and calls? What are the outcomes you are looking for and what will you need to do to achieve them? Does the contact form on your web site automatically trigger a quick response from marketing? Is your LiveChat an ongoing source of leads? Best practice is to respond to an inquiry, whether it's through a web form, email, or LiveChat within 10 minutes. If you are in Canada, is your communication plan Canadian Anti-Spam Compliant? If not, you can face fines in the $1,000 to $10,000+
More marketing automation information can be found HERE.
Tip 6: CRM should help sales people do their jobs more efficiently. If you can't convince all your sales representatives to use and maintain CRM, you have other options than forcing them. A practice some clients use is to assign a sales coordinator to one or several sales reps. That person's responsibilities are to:
Manage entries into CRM (sometimes dictated over the phone as the rep drives between meetings)
Confirm bookings for sales reps (Call ahead for all scheduled meetings to confirm the prospect is still available)
Sequence meetings to minimize travel and down-time and to maximize results
Make travel arrangements as needed
Take care of all admin functions and leave as much time as possible for the sales reps to do what they do best - close deals.
If you have a sales team, ask yourself how much time they spend in admin and how much time they spend actually in front of prospects. What would be the impact of significantly increasing that face-to-face time with new prospects? If you don't already have a sales coordinator, how fast would you be able to make that investment pay for itself?
Tip 7: Choose a partner who understands your business and can help you with both the technical side of your project and the business side.
Typical benefits organizations get out of a proper CRM implementation include:
Increased sales, enabled by the availability of information. What the best performers are doing is visible, and what the worst performers are not doing is also visible and can be corrected.
Sales and marketing working together. Example: Sales identifies a good market segment to go after. Marketing creates the campaign from their marketing contact database. Marketing sends an email to the list, sees who opens and reads it, who goes to the web site, etc. CRM automatically creates follow-up tasks for the sales team to call those prospects that meet a qualification criteria. This whole process is automated and managed. Review Sales Automation.
Don’t settle for just a software system. Get a business tool that will make employees' jobs easier, while making you more money.