Customer Relationship Management is coming of age. There have been a number of things during its lifetime so far which have turned CRM on its head including cloud-based computing and SaaS getting to the stage they are now. The economic downturn of the past few years has also meant that companies large and small have had to streamline their business or face the prospect of going under.
In the face of such facts it is surprising that many companies have not yet adopted a CRM solution. Among those that have, many have simply taken CRM on board as “it is the done thing” – and without implementing the tools properly, they are disappointed by the lack of results.
Some of the advantages of cloud-based CRM systems are their relative ease of implementation and low price. A cloud-based solution means that there is no need to buy into new hardware or software as the information is all kept on the internet. This has a further benefit in that there is no need for a technician to come and install any program or equipment and any upgrades will be carried out behind the scenes instead of the tired technician coming back out to upgrade your system.
This is all so good so far, but despite this rapid installation the user is only at the start of the long journey to becoming a CRM champion. Once the system is in place there are many challenges that lie on the journey to becoming a success:
- Lack of education. Although a modern CRM system is intuitive and will feature a design loosely based on programs familiar to many, training sessions are an essential introduction. A large amount of work done will consist of “learning by doing” but a kickstart session will save hours of clicking around the system and potentially prevent any destructive activity. Training a system administrator within your organisation to a high standard is also a great way of creating an internal trainer.
- Lack of motivation. For a CRM solution to work effectively, it needs to be embraced by the whole organisation. A directive from “above” informing staff that they have another work tool to learn is not likely to be welcome by many. But if a CRM solution is implemented across the board and is shown to empower every user, this takes hierarchy out of the workplace and puts the whole workforce on a level field. It isn’t just a magic wand that can be waved at employees in the vague hope that the company will benefit – it’s a tool that can and should be used throughout the organisation. But once a workforce has understood what CRM can do & how it can increase efficiency and save effort, the system should be successfully adopted.
- Lack of adoption cross-departmental adoption. CRM is such a valuable tool which provides information across the organisation. But if for example, a sales team is not using the system to register data, the rest of the machine falls down. Similarly if marketing is not playing an active part, the sales team will not be able to work effectively. A CRM solution has the ability to break down the silos and walls that partition information in an organisation, it’s up to the users to embrace this.
These are simple hurdles that ought to be overcome, yet across the board there is still a huge amount of money being thrown at software that is not getting used properly. It is also worth remembering that a CRM solution is a permanent work in progress. It does not start and finish with the import of companies records, but should be viewed with long-term goals in mind, with information being added to the system making your organisations knowledge richer and more valuable every day.
The benefits of a CRM solution are countless, far too many for inclusion in a short introduction. It has the power to be the core of your business; it’s up to you to make that happen.
To find out more on how your organization can benefit from adopting a cloud based hosted CRM system, do check out OpenCRM today.