CRM is Better Than Water Cooler Chit Chat

You are standing at the water cooler at work, making chit chat about what you did last weekend when the conversation slowly turns to work related topics.  You find out, standing at the water cooler, the company has received knowledge about which new products a key account will be accepting .  This information has an extreme impact on your day to day priorities.  A new product prototype that you were responsible for developing was a key component in the presentation. You had been anxiously waiting to hear if it had been accepted, because the future development of that product were hinging on the acceptance of it by a key account as was what you would be focusing time and energy on in the upcoming months.  You aren’t even breathing as this particular water cooler story is told.

  
“They want it?” you say, excited and a little scared. “When did we hear?”  You find out the long awaited decision finally came through in the early part of last week, and that they want the product immediately.  Of course they do.  “Last week?” you say, “As in, we found out a week ago that they want this product right away?”  You are looking dumbfounded at the sales person, who is still standing there with a large grin on his face and his chest all expanded with pride.  “You realize that was a prototype you presented? You know the product doesn’t actually exist yet, right?”


That did it.  The smile is gone and the chest deflates like a balloon with a gaping leak.  That is when the excitement really starts.  Why didn’t the salesperson know it was a prototype? Why didn’t the sales person tell product development the moment he received word the product had been accepted?  Marketing had given him detailed sales materials, so he had every right to assume the product was already in inventory, right?  Why did Marketing create the sell sheet already if it was still in prototype phase?  Is it being manufactured overseas? How long is it going to take to get here?  Oh no! How much will air freight be coming from overseas?  This is a nightmare!  This is a key account, we HAVE to hit the agreed upon delivery date!  


As you run (literally) back to your desk to try to find answers to some of these questions while simultaneously expediting the development and shipment of this product, a thought creeps into your head.  When exactly would have I found out about this if I hadn’t happened to be standing at the water cooler at that exact moment?  Seriously?!  The communication in this office is REALLY messed up!


Does this saga sound familiar?  Who needs reality television, right?  Real life is SO much more exciting!  Only in real life reality, nobody wants THIS kind of drama, do they?


It really doesn’t have to be this way.  CRM software provides the single platform for multiple departments to share information about key accounts and projects in a live environment.  All of the communication gaps that led to this predicament could have been avoided through the use of CRM software.  It is a single location for all customer facing information in an organization.  Information will no longer exist in department silo’s.  Individuals across the organization can make daily tactical decisions based on solid information instead of speculation.  Can you imagine how empowering that would be?


In a situation like this it is not uncommon for a company, after the fire has been put out, to have a meeting.  In this meeting everyone will be expected to take accountability for their part in the communication breakdown and then everyone is supposed to commit to never letting this happen again.  Wouldn’t it just be easier to implement the right tools?  What is worse? The cost of change or the cost of staying the same?  In this case you could answer that question rather quickly.  What WAS the cost of air freight?

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Contact Kym Riedel at Resolv to learn more about what a CRM Business Strategy and what a software solution could mean for your company. Kym can be reached at kriedel@resolvcrm.com or at 920-268-4074.

Visit www.resolvcrm.com to read other educational articles specific to CRM solutions.

Does Customer Satisfaction Drive Loyalty?

The age-old question of whether or not higher customer satisfaction leads to superior economic returns raises it’s head again as companies invest in CRM strategies and CRM software implementations. 

CRM, Customer Relationship Management, is all about the customer, and is therefore frequently used to drive higher satisfaction ratings from customers.   However, is satisfaction the measure companies should be using to determine the effectiveness of their CRM or for predicting future economic returns?

Customer Satisfaction

Let me sight several examples to the contrary.  First, is McDonalds.  McDonalds owns the fast food (hamburger) market.  Sure, they have competitors (Burger King and Wendy’s for example), yet they are two to three times larger than that of Burger King and Wendy’s.  If you were to base their success off of satisfaction you would assume that McDonalds has the most satisfied customers.  However, of the three listed, McDonalds rates dead last.  In fact, in the 18 years of ASCI (American Customer Satisfaction Index) ratings, McDonalds has always ranked lower than Wendy’s and 17 out of 18 years they ranked below Burger King.

For another example, we can look at Wal-Mart stores.  In a recent ASCI study, Wal-Mart ranked lowest among discount stores.  Yet, with over 140 million American shopping at Wal-Mart is the most popular shopping destination in the country.

Finally, let’s look at the world of Health & Professional Care Stores.  ACSI rated Rite Aid, Walgreens, and CVS, with a fourth category of “all others.”  Who scored the best for customer satisfaction:  All others, of course.

So what does this mean?  Should you not care about customer satisfaction?  No, but realize that I can increase your customer satisfaction numbers by simply advising you to get rid of your least satisfied customers. 

Ultimately, satisfaction surveys can be useful in helping companies know how to improve their products and services, and it helps you to measure whether the changes you make are working, but keep in mind that a previous satisfying purchase does not automatically lead to another purchase.  For example, I enjoyed my stay at Ritz Carlton; however, I don’t stay there often, because Ritz Carlton doesn’t always meet my needs (or values) for most of my hotel stays (that being proximity to a location, comfort, and price). 

Along the same lines, I was a very satisfied Cadillac owner.  I enjoyed the smooth, quiet ride that it offered.  However, my life changed, and my needs (or values) for an automobile changed.  I had three kids, and needed a vehicle that I could easily transport my children and all of their gear.

Taking the time to understand your current needs and values customers (especially the top 10 to 20% of your customers) will help you to position your products and services to their needs, which in turn will help you to retain them as a customer longer.

 

Luke Russell
Resolv, Inc.

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CRM Software Selection – The Test – A Sad Story

I spoke to a CRM software prospect today.  They have about 25 people in sales, and another 10 at the home office who are internal support or management, so roughly 35 CRM seats to start.  A very typical small-mid size business. I have spoken with her several times over the last year.  The first time I spoke with her she told me that I had missed the opportunity and that they had already decided on a CRM software.  Ok.  Sometimes we don’t make it to the race.  I tickled her in my CRM system to follow with her several months later just to see how that had worked out for her.  Turns out they didn’t actually implement the CRM solution company wide.  They ran a “test” with a few people and in this test no one was using it.  The result of that test was that until sales could prove to management they will use it, by using the Excel solutions they have put in place in the interim, they are not going to pursue CRM further.  AAAHHHHHH!!! (That was an exasperated exhale.)


Ok.  Allow me to start by saying that is NOT how you implement a CRM solution.  I have about a hundred questions I want to ask this prospect to help guide them along the path of how to do this correctly. To name a few of those questions,  I would like to ask if sales was consulted prior to making the original software selection?  Was there an understanding of what the needs were of the sales department and the other departments that would be utilizing the solution?  I would like to ask if there were any discussions about aligning current process and culture to the intended software solution?  If so, have they identified areas where change needs to occur? How will they communicate that change?  I would like to ask what exactly it is they want to accomplish by implementing CRM?  What is the goal?  What do you hope to gain?  I want to ask what they intend to give sales as a result of the implementation?  Do they want to give sales better reports? Better visibility to all accounts? Better ability to manage prospects and customers activities and opportunities? Does sales understand what they stand to gain by using a new system?  Does everyone understand what the company stands to gain? Is it increased sales? Reduced costs due to improved efficiency? Is it both?  Ok, I’ll stop here.  I fear I sound like I am ranting, which I am not.  These are REALLY important questions.


The first step to selecting a CRM solution is NOT to pick a software.  It is actually one of the final steps!  I would also like to point out, that although CRM “free demo’s” are available online for you try, be very leery of using that as a companywide test of a solution.  A successful CRM solution is about company-wide collaboration.  It’s about defining what information you want to collect and measure and clearly articulating to all of the users what they as individuals and the company stands to gain from the collection and sharing of this information.   So, that being the case, how then could a test with a couple of individuals be a measurement of success?  If everyone isn’t using the solution you technically still have little or no visibility to information and without everyone using it, you have no ability to use it as a management or reporting tool, which is one of its greatest benefits.  So why would you be surprised that it’s not performing to your expectations? 


A “test” also carries a pass/fail connotation with it, and I don’t know about you, but if I have a choice, I choose NOT to take a test I’m not prepared for.  So, unless this is a top-down mandate, and you have extensively trained the users on the solution you are asking them to “test” they are going to opt out (not participate).  Training costs money.  Money that companies are typically not willing to spend on a solution they are not yet entirely committed to (which is pretty clear  to all when you call it a “test”). Can you see the problem here?  A CRM test is typically a very bad idea because it is destined for failure before it starts.  The worst part about it is a company will walk away from one of these tests and believe their organization is not “ready” for a CRM solution, when the one thing this whole exercise did prove is how incongruent their communications really are and how much they really do need a better communications solultion!


I have planted the seed that the CRM selection PROCESS was likely the culprit here, not the poor sales guys who are now under the gun to use a tool that is not designed to make them effective and efficient.  A single department alone cannot change corporate culture.  I believe this company is serious about change.  I believe they will evolve to using technology that will make them better at what they do.  Perhaps this article finds them and guides them along that path.

Choosing a CRM Business Partner

In our industry, when a developer and consultant, such as Resolv, works with an existing software publisher (like Sage for example), our relationship is called that of a “Business Partner”.  Angela, one of our company’s Principals, and I were talking about the relationship between us and our customer.  We were discussing whether or not our relationship with our customers is appropriately described when using “vendor/client” terminology.  Really, it is not.  We are without a doubt, “Business Partners” with our customers as well.

 

Our sales process begins by educating the customer on the process of successfully selecting and implementing CRM software.  You will quickly learn by reading the many blogs and the verbiage on our webpage that we believe the most important decision you will make regarding your CRM software implementation is your Business Partner.

The reason for this is because in order for a CRM implementation to be successful your organization’s culture and processes need to be in alignment with your business strategy.  It’s an evolution.  It is not about downloading software on to your computers and telling everyone to use it.  It’s about understanding what you want to accomplish and when.  It’s about having measurable or quantifiable goals with a realistic timeline.  It’s about knowing what you want to ACCOMPLISH by implementing CRM software and being able to measure that result after the implementation.

A Business Partner is someone who works with you to define those goals prior to an implementation and holds everyone involved accountable to those predetermined results after the implementation.  A Business Partner is someone who will advise a phase plan approach that makes the implementation manageable and executable at a tactical level.  A Business Partner will make sure that it doesn’t just sound like a good plan, but that it IS achievable based on prior experience and expertise.  A Business Partner will look to the future with you, to begin to visualize those next plan phases and begin to work with you to incorporate them within a realistic plan.

A Business Partner is someone that you will be working with for years to come.  When you begin the CRM implementation investigation process, don’t ask yourself, “Which software?”  Ask yourself which partner you want to be working with a decade from now.  Because, if you do it right, the consultant you hire to implement and develop your CRM is someone you will know for many many years to come.

Kym Riedel

Resolv, Inc.

Culture Part II – The CRM Champions

“How a company manages change during a CRM implementation is a major factor in the difference between a CRM implementation success and a CRM implementation failure.”  Luke Russell, Resolv Founder

I’d like to start this article by striking a little fear into everyone.  It is estimated that over roughly 50% of all CRM software implementations fail.

  Yikes!  That IS frightening!  CRM software for any business is a significant investment.  With a 50% failure rate you might as well take that significant investment to Vegas and throw it all on either black or red at the Roulette table, right?  Wrong.  There are very specific reasons that CRM software implementations fail.  Knowing those reasons BEFORE implementation, and avoiding those pitfalls, is the key to ensuring you are on the right side of that 50%.  It is not about chance or the odds being in your favor.  This is an outcome you control.

 
Let me start by saying that CRM implementations don’t fail because of the software.  They fail because process and culture don’t align with the tool (software).  “So,” you ask, “how do I make that alignment happen?”  Fair question.   There is not just one single answer to that question.  I could answer it by going down many paths, but the path we are going to talk about today is the one that is the FOUNDATION for achieving all the others.  The answer to that question that we are going to be addressing today is:  “You choose the right champions to be on the CRM implementation team.”

In my previous blog, Culture – The Top Down Directive, we talked about how important it is for senior management to lead by example.  Few will dispute the importance of the macro to micro form of leadership and the necessity for it at every company.  However, CRM  software is about so much more than just macro to micro management.  CRM software has so many layers that it can be many things to many people.  Let’s face it, in many companies senior management may not even KNOW what a lot of their employees do daily so they couldn’t possibly begin to define how CRM software could help that individual on a daily tactical basis, right?  That’s not being critical.  It’s a reality of how businesses function.

That’s where champions come in.  As you select the CRM implementation team for your company you are NOT just looking for higher up decision maker types.  They are only one component of that team.  You also need the doers.  You need representation for the departments that really make the company function at a tactical level on a daily basis.  If a department comes into direct contact with the customer they need to be represented.  CRM software manages all customer facing activity.  Start by defining what that is and who, internally, that represents.  

Let’s dive just a little deeper into who the champion of that department might be.  In addition to having an intimate understanding of their respective function in the organization, and that of others in their representative group, the champion needs to have a specific personality type.  All individuals fall into four basic personality types;  Victim, Bystander, Critic, and Navigator.  
The Victim is the person that is always terrified.  They are terrified of change.  They are terrified they won’t be able to cut it on a daily basis.  If your prospective department representative “expert” bears this personality type, they should NOT be on the CRM implementation team.

The Bystander is the person who stands by, hopelessly hoping things won’t change, or if they do change, will wait and see what everyone else has to say about it before developing their own opinion.  If your prospective department representative “expert” bears this personality type, they should NOT be on the CRM implementation team.

The Critic is the person that not only resists change, but rallies others to resist change.  Now here is the interesting thing about the critic personality.  They are typically the loudest person in the group so you are inclined to think that if you had them on your team they could make some big waves quickly, right? You only have to win them over….  Oh they can make waves alright.  They will crush your optimistic belief they were going to support change and send negativity through the company like a smoke bomb.  Resist all inclinations to put a critic on your CRM implementation team.  Think about this one carefully, because critic personalities are sometimes hidden behind smiling faces.

The Navigator is someone who assesses change and accepts the value of it.  The Navigator is the person who will quietly contemplate the pros and cons and discuss both in an “educate me” style.  The Navigator is someone that others respect because they know this person does not make rash decisions or harsh judgments.  They may not be the fastest or most efficient person in the group, but they are the most methodical and the most respected.  That is the person you want on your CRM implementation team.

The objective is to find a Navigator for each customer facing department in your organization.  That is your CRM implementation team.  It is often interesting, when considered from this perspective, who surfaces as the representative choice.  It could the one with the most seniority or the one with the least.  It may not be the first person that comes to mind when you think of a specific department in your organization.  Here is something to consider…put the definition of the Navigator out to each department and have them select the one person in the group who best fits that personality definition.  You may be surprised at the result.
The secondary qualification for being on the CRM implementation team, of course, is their knowledge of their respective function and the functions of others in their department.  Personality type is qualification factor numero uno, however.  What they don’t know about process they should have the capacity to collect from those that do.   

Choosing your CRM implementation team is the first factor to a successful CRM implementation that you control.  You control them all, and recognizing that and planning appropriately will ensure CRM implementation success.  The implementation team is one of the most powerful tools you will have to manage the culture aspects of the implementation and ultimately of the long term success of your organization.  Choose wisely.

At Resolv, we are happy to aid you in your CRM implementation team selection and all other aspects of your CRM implementation solution.

Kym Riedel

Resolv, Inc.

Be a Miraculous Marketer

I have been tasked with writing the company newsletter in my past lives…and anyone who has shared that responsibility knows the associated dread that comes as the next publish date approaches.  It’s tough being creative on queue! 

You know you had a brilliant idea at one point during the last 30 days that you fully intended to carry the newsletter with, but it now escapes you as you stare at the blank template.  When these dark moments come you start thinking even more negatively.  “Who even reads this anyhow?” you start to ask yourself and “Am I just wasting my time?”
 
Though I am using a newsletter as an example in this story, we know these same doubts often apply in many marketing campaigns.  Marketing sometimes feels subjective.  You have to “believe” your efforts are having an impact because you haven’t been able to actually quantify them.  Marketing is an important role that sometimes leaves its champions feeling a little lost behind the scenes.
 
Allow me to let you in on a secret.  It doesn’t have to be that way.
 
I like to think of myself as creative (at least selectively), but more importantly I think of myself as analytical.  Show me the numbers!  The beauty of CRM is that it can provide analytics for previously subjective activities.  You can use CRM to track how many of your email campaigns have been open, viewed or read.  You can begin to quantify that fact that leads came from your marketing efforts.  And here is the real magic….when you are feeling creative you can create campaigns (like newsletters!) in advance and set up automated processes for them to release on a predetermined schedule. 


Imagine…writing all 12 of your newsletters in one industrious day and allowing the automated process to send them on schedule.  Better still, let that automated process automatically update the contact record that it has been opened and read by the prospect and then auto notify the appropriate sales person so they can call in “warm” instead of “cold”.  When that prospect becomes a client…you now KNOW your efforts played a part in securing that business.  Create a report in your CRM that notifies you on a monthly basis of all the prospects that were converted to clients after having opened and read your marketing emails.  Evaluate which marketing campaigns created more leads, improve your campaigns or target market based on specific groups to achieve the results you desire.
 
You won’t believe what an impact creativity combined with analytics can do for your departmental objectives or for your morale! It will seem miraculous!

Resolv – What We Believe

“People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.” Simon Sinek

We work with businesses everyday to help them understand that the relationships they establish and maintain with their customers are the life blood of who they are, regardless of what they do. Regardless of whether you sell a product or service, regardless of whether you work from a magnificent corporate glass building or work out of the trunk of your car, relationships are the key to success for any organization.

  So one has to ask themselves then, why they want to pursue these relationships.  Why does your organization want to establish communication with that particular outside party?  What do they hope to achieve or accomplish?  Why do you personally want to engage with the representative of that customer?  What does it mean to you personally to complete that task or objective?
 
It is our belief that there is no greater reason to explore the answers to these questions than when you are in our profession.  The profession, ultimately, of advising others how to  manage, maintain, and improve business relationships.  CRM software and the correct development and user adoption of that software provides companies with a tool to manage, build and truly master customer communication at all levels within the organization.  So, why, we ask ourselves, do we want to do that?  The Principals of Resolv, Luke Russell and Angela Talano take that question and more importantly, their answer to that question, very seriously.

Ultimately, it is because we have seen the incredible changes that companies experience when CRM is successfully implemented, developed and adopted into a company.  To be part of something that can literally catapult a company to the next level is an exciting and inspiring endeavor.  To truly partner with a client and understand the fine details of their business and to contribute to their success by providing the most important tool they need to achieve their goals is a phenomenal experience.  Honestly, we struggle with how to translate that passion into verbiage.  We do what we do so your company can achieve its goals in a measurable, knowledge based environment.  We believe, in our absolute core, that we have the tools and experience to help you make that happen.
 
We Believe …
– Organizations can see dramatic improvements when CRM software is implemented as a tool when in coordination with a solid business strategy.
– More productive, successful employees will be an outcome of proper usage of CRM software by all people in within an organization. 
– Profitability and customer loyalty come as a result of simple changes to culture and proper usage of technology within an organization.

If you get a chance, and have about 20 minutes to spare, take a look at Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk at the link below.  The basis of his seminar is to educate others about the importance of understanding WHY you do what you do, and that once you have learned to lead with the WHY, instead of with the traditional HOW or WHAT, you will have truly distinguished yourself with the elite businesses that refuse to fail.
 
http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html?quote=710

Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle
 Simon Sinek Golden Circle

We do understand WHY we want to work with our clients, and with our prospective clients.  Simon says to “work with those who believe what you believe”.  Do you believe you can achieve greatness if you have the proper tools to create productive, happy employees and profitable, loyal customers? If so, we certainly look forward to working with you.

Kym Riedel

Resolv, Inc

CRM is CRM, right?

I have been asked the same question several times in the last week or so, so I thought I should blog about it. The question, “What makes Resolv different?”


So here goes … First, I have been working in the CRM industry since 1998.  That’s right, I have been doing nothing but CRM consulting and CRM implementation for over 13 years.  Over the course of time, I learned a few things, but one thing really stands out.  That one thing is:

Implementing CRM is not success.

SalesLogix CRM Success

What I mean is that when I started in the CRM industry, I started working for a SalesLogix Business partner.  This partner would sell CRM as a need that all companies had.  A company would bite, and the goal was to implement CRM.  We would successfully implement CRM, and we had many successful failures.  We failed because implementing CRM software should never be “the goal;” it is part of the solution.   This means for an implantation to be a success, businesses need to define what need or needs that CRM software will play a role in solving.

When I started Resolv, I vowed that we would not implement successful failures.  If a company’s goal is simply to implement CRM, Resolv is most likely not the right partner for them.  However, if a company is looking to implement CRM in response to real business needs and goals, we are the CRM company for them. 

It’s rather simple; our goal is to help our customers to be unbelievably successful! We implement CRM software in alignment with solid business strategies.  We understand that CRM software, process, and culture all must be in alignment with business goals for a CRM implementation to be a success.

Luke Russell 

Resolv, Inc.

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Harnessing the Value of a Consultant

I have been consulting on CRM (CRM best practices, CRM user adoption, and CRM implementations) for over 13 years.  During this time, I have learned a thing or two about CRM.  I have spoken in over 70 seminars on CRM covering such topics as: Avoiding CRM Pitfalls, Realizing ROI in a CRM implementation, Improving Forecasting, Increasing Customer Retention, etc.  The list is quite long, actually.  So why am I telling you this?  Because, over the past 13 years I have seen many customers successfully harness my knowledge, and the knowledge of my team, to their great profit; I have also witnessed many others who truthfully didn’t gain anything from a relationship with Resolv.  Which brings me to my point, how can you harness the value of a consultant?
 

First, I believe that a company needs to understand the difference between a "consultant" and a "value added reseller".  According to Webster a consultant is "one who gives professional advice or services : expert"; likewise, according to Wikipedia "A value-added reseller (VAR) is a company that adds features or services to an existing product, then resells it (usually to end-users) as an integrated product or complete ‘turn-key’ solution. This practice occurs commonly in the electronics industry, where, for example, a VAR might bundle a software application with supplied hardware."  Unfortunately these two definitions do not help to draw a difference and there-in lies the inability for some companies to truly harness the knowledge of a consultant.
 
So, what is the difference?  In my own words (and in relation to CRM) a VAR adds value to their clients by implementing CRM to meet a company’s self-prescribed expectations and guidelines.  Everything they do is related to the product or products they are implementing.  While a consultant may do this, they also do many of the following:
  • Seek to understand the current business and user culture and make recommendations for change related to CRM and CRM system roll-out and integration
  • Review current processes and relay the need to change processes as systems change with recommendations for an improved process
  • Actively seek to avoid known areas of failure and major pitfalls through change management
  • Ultimately, a consultant assesses the weaknesses of an organization (in relation to a CRM implementation) and offers recommendations and solutions to address the weaknesses.  Often a consultant is called upon to assist in implementing the recommendations.
If you always do what you've always done ...Knowing this, it is easy to see why some companies do not receive value from a consultant.  Many companies are simply looking only for a VAR to implement a list of items developed internally, rather than have someone consult with them as to the viability of their ideas and assist them with best practices.  They do this believing that they know their business better (which they do) and they have a solid understanding of what CRM is (most likely not the case); however, they have a fear of change, so they simply seek to implement a CRM system with as little change to their processes, user experience, and existing methodologies as possible.   Therefore, in their reluctance to change, or their fear of change, companies avoid the process and culture sides of a CRM implementation and simply implement features and functions, basically keeping the Mark Twain adage alive: "If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got."  The bottom line:  Simply implementing CRM software is not doing something differently.
 
The goal of a consultant is to ensure that you don’t always do what you’ve always done in relation to CRM.  But change can be frightening, and is therefore avoided by many companies; even change for the better.  So, companies rely on internal resources (who have got them to where they are now) to implement CRM and the change related to CRM, rather than following the advice of an expert who has multiple times more knowledge of the way to successfully implement CRM software for maximum impact.  Ultimately, A CRM consultant understands the roles process and culture play in the overall implementation of a CRM system and recommends the best course of action for a successful implementation.
 
 

Luke Russell 

Resolv, Inc.

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Can CRM Software Improve Efficiency?

Efficiency:   According to dictionary.reference.com efficiency is “accomplishment of or ability to accomplish a job with a minimum expenditure of time and effort: The assembly line increased industry’s efficiency.  

With that definition, sure, CRM Software can improve efficiency.  Unfortunately, the efficiency comes with a cost.  However, notice that efficiency is not defined as “doing more with less”.  Let me break it down using the assembly line reference made by dictionary.reference.com.

CRM can improve efficiency, but not like an assembly line.

Prior to an assembly line, an automobile could be made by one person.  True that person may only make one auto every 180 days, but a single person could in effect start an auto manufacturing plant and run it himself.  With an assembly line method, while being more efficient according to the dictionary definition, it takes 100 plus people (according to some articles, thousands of people) to make one automobile.  Certainly, the assembly line is creating many more autos per year, and even more than the same number of people could create each working on an individual automobile, but the efficiency did not come without a heavy cost.  Millions of dollars must be spent and thousands of employees must hired and trained before the first car comes off of the line.

The same is true with CRM Software in relation to sales and customer service.  CRM Software can help you to know more about your customers and remind you to take action on that knowledge.  However, in order for this to happen, processes must be designed and implemented and training given to all users.  Data must be compiled and kept up-to-date.  Users must use the system and complete the action as recommended by the system.  A lot of time and effort will go into the initial implementation and setup of the CRM system before a single benefit is seen. 

Ultimately, it is my belief that a CRM software system can increase efficiency, but it is also my belief that a CRM system should be implemented because a company desires to improve customer service and the customer experience through a broader understanding of the customer’s needs and purchase patterns.  Remember this when implementing CRM Software:  Superior Customer Service is Inefficient!

Thousands of companies world-wide are reaping benefits from CRM Software, including increased efficiency.  These companies each understood and committed to:

 

  • The investment of time and money
  • The importance of training
  • The mandatory usage of the software by all involved
  • The commitment to continuous process improvement brought about by a better understanding of their customer

 

Much like companies implementing assembly lines in the early 1900s, companies with successful CRM implementations focused on the long term gain offered by CRM Software.  These gains include such things as:

 

  • A more thorough understanding of their customer
  • Improved communication with the customer
  • A proactive approach to sales and customer service
  • Automated processes for prospecting and sales 

 

Luke Russell 

Resolv, Inc.

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