Are you Using CRM Software to the Best of Its Ability?

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We are currently living in the information age. Having access to customer information is a crucial part of the current marketplace. Customer relationship management software is a powerful tool that helps you learn about your consumers and utilize data created by customer interactions.

Some companies are so quick to begin CRM implementation, they do not gather enough information on how the software can best benefit their business. A Business Know-How article stated the biggest mistake companies make when adopting CRM systems is that once they're installed, the company assumes all issues will be addressed and solved automatically. CRM software is a system, not a single solution. Here are the questions a company should be asking when they are planning, implementing and using CRM software:

Is it working with previous system?
Business2Community warned companies not to throw out old systems when they adopt new CRM tools. The data and processes the company was working with before should be used to ease the transition to CRM software and provide data to build from, rather than replace.

A company should ask which existing systems could work in conjunction with the new CRM system. It is suggested you start with a pilot program to test the system. Make sure previous data is accurate before you build your new CRM system using it. You should work with a CRM partner to determine how to put your current data to best use when implementing new software solutions.

Take implementation slow, check each benchmark to ensure the software is working the way you and the other members of your company want it to.

Is it empowering employees?
Do the employees feel like it is hindering them? Once again, this issue should be addressed at the implementation stage. Ask your employees what they want to get out of new software.

Customer Dynamics points to constant data entry as a sore spot for some employees who use CRM software. First, you can find a CRM software that automates a good deal of the data input.

Second, it is important that employees know why the data is important and how it can benefit them. Empower employees familiar with the benefits of CRM solutions to promote the use of the software. Encourage these employees to take the lead in training sessions and future CRM software use. Continued support is essential to the system's success.

Which teams are using it?
The answer should be "all of them." Every aspect of a company can profit from the data created by CRM solutions. Yet, Business2Community suggested too many companies view CRM implementation as a project that should solely be handled by the IT department.

Modern software should be used to integrate an office. Insight into customer preferences and habits could benefit management decisions, product design, marketing strategies and it should revolutionize the sales force.

Business News Daily highlighted the many ways CRM tools could boost a company's sales. The software can be used to create leads, forecast sales, nurture prospects and track sales for you and your competitors.

Is it building relationships?
CRM technology shouldn't be cold. The automation and data management tools shouldn't make your company more robotic, it should foster better relationships built on better information.

Having a complete customer history should allow a company to appeal to his or her specific needs. Too many companies use the automation tools to email blast clients without making full use of the data. CRM messaging should be personal and impactful. Ask your customers for feedback on the new system strategies and the CRM software, then put their answers to work.

The information should also promote company cooperation. Different departments working with a uniform set of data should foster communication. Ask each department what they have taken from their CRM experience and how they believe the data can be used to benefit their needs.

Are you utilizing all modern tools?
If a company wishes to remain in-step with the modern customer they need to utilize current technological tools. CIO published an article about how CRM tools can be used for modern trends like social media marketing.

Social media is an excellent source for collecting customer information and promoting a company's products and goals. CRM software can coordinate social media messaging, promote a dialogue with customers, gage success of interactions and influence purchases via social networking.

CRM solutions are the adaptable tools that companies need to remain competitive in the ever-evolving, customer-driven marketplace. To make sure they stay adaptable, though, a company needs to be constantly asking the right questions.

by The TM Group

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