As part of our business advice series, TheLondonEconomic.com spoke to Neil Slater, General Manager at DMC Software about the Most Common CRM (Customer Relationship Management) mistakes that businesses make.
Whilst Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions have been around for a long time now, many businesses are still finding that their solution is not living up to their expectations.
Adopted as part of a vital strategy for growth, they have become a tool for all businesses to enhance their customer management, and with CRM systems now more affordable and more varied, the options can be an overwhelming one for those who are unsure of their business needs.
Choosing a system without a conscious requirement in mind, can quickly result in common mistakes being made when designing and implementing a CRM system.
Avoid the risk of your growth strategy faltering and take note of these all too familiar mistakes.
Protect Your Investment
Unfortunately, despite the amount of content there is now available surrounding CRM systems, businesses are still choosing systems which are inappropriate for their requirements.
Always ensure that you have researched the market place for the ‘best-fit’ CRM solution for your business now and for the future. Carrying out due diligence on your software choice and indeed your preferred supplier will pay dividends long term.
After all, once you go live with your CRM solution, this is only just the beginning.
Your CRM solution must be capable of evolving with your business, and the supplier relationship becomes critical to enable change as and when you require.
Establish a Project Team & Supporting Staff
Whether it’s CRM or any other form of technology, it’s often easy to overlook the one person who’s going to make it work – the end user.
It’s well known that user adoption is where CRM often dies, as they lack the knowledge and understanding to use it to it’s full capacity.
Assign roles and project responsibilities to key members of staff from each business area. These members will form the project team and should be capable of making decisions on behalf of the teams they represent. Ultimately, these members will become system champions for the departments which they represent in order to ensure rapid user adoption/buy-in and encourage system usage.
A Project Manager will be required in order for suppliers to liaise with as a single point of contact. The project manager should be in a position to be able to acquire any required information, make decisions or indeed acquire approval from senior management if necessary.
The project team should also consist of a technical resource from the I.T. department to discuss data, security and software compatibility.
Adopting a CRM without a ‘wish list’ of exactly what you want it to do, is a little like baking a cake without a recipe.
Failing to prepare is only preparing to fail!
Prior to the initial scoping session(s)/workshop(s), the project team members should ascertain the requirements from their own business areas by compiling a ‘wish list’ and a list of pain points currently being experienced. This often enables suppliers to potentially re-engineer business processes in order to optimise efficiency and help build synergy between departments. Workflow diagrams are an ideal starting point.
Reporting Requirement & Templates
Not knowing the types of reports you require or the templates you want, will instantly set you back when you come to pulling data from your CRM system.
This area can quite often be overlooked by businesses and only realised once a CRM solution has been implemented. It is crucial for you to consider your reporting and template requirements from the offset as required outputs can often determine the design of a CRM solution and how data should be captured to give the desired results. Whilst these can be applied retrospectively, it could also be costly to a business if further development are required.
System Integration & Data Preparation
Many businesses fail to realise that there is a lot of preparation that needs to be done before a CRM system can become successful. And it’s a stumbling block that many come across, as there’s a common misconception that it’s a simple installation and you’re ready to go.
However, consideration should be given as to whether the CRM solution needs to be integrated with other front/back office applications such as; Accounts and/or ERP.You should consider what data needs to be extracted from previous systems and ascertain from your suppliers the required formats.
CRM has gone through an extensive amount of innovation during it’s history, but many businesses can still be naïve as to it’s extensive development.
CRM solutions can be installed on premise or hosting in a cloud environment by your Supplier/Vendor. Hardware and Software compatibility should be considered regardless, especially if integration is required to other 3rd party systems or add-ons.
It is widely acknowledged that CRM has become business critical in enabling growth, but these common mistakes are still hindering the progress of many despite 77% of organisations in the UK now using a CRM system.
As detailed from this list, research and training are the clear areas which businesses need to address in order to fully utilize the benefits of CRM systems.