Is your customer relationship management (CRM) system delivering ROI?

Do you remember the last time your dentist remembered your birthday, your favorite airline sent you free drink coupons, or your car dealership reminded you to schedule your next oil change?  How did you feel when you received those communications? Chances are, these were all thanks to your service providers’ customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

Today’s modern CRM systems are more than expensive rolodex systems. They are complex tools for creating, maintaining and improving client relationships by enhancing client communications and automating sales force activities. While they can be powerful business development assets, it takes time and dedicated effort to achieve alignment between the software and key business processes.

There are many CRM systems available for businesses to use, each with their own list of pros and cons. However, even once the right software is selected and the C-suite is on board, improper implementation of a CRM system across an organization can be detrimental to corporate culture and wind up costing a lot of money with little return on investment (ROI).

CRM is a great way to leverage data and engage with customers and prospects, but it’s not magic. In the planning stages, before any software is purchased, an organization needs to figure out who will use the tool on a daily basis and what those individuals need to integrate the new system into their everyday work. Upon roll-out, strategic change management and employee training is critical to successful implementation and long-term adoption.

When it comes to CRM, management’s goals are often very different from the goals of the sales team. Management often wants to own the contacts, yet this makes sales uncomfortable, as they feel they should own and manage their relationships, especially when it relates back to their compensation. Sales people that are against the nature of CRMs will often refuse to use them in the way they’re intended.

The key, then, is to set up CRM to go beyond its traditional role as solely a salesforce automation tool, and facilitate integration of information across the organization. Done correctly, CRM can provide a window into company operations that will help sales people be more effective at their jobs. This can include information about inventory, financials, order processing information and more. If sales people can easily pull information from other areas of the company, they will be more likely to embrace the tool and less likely to see it as just another tool for giving management data about their sales performance.

CRM systems are at their best when they are tools for helping sales teams sell more efficiently and more effectively, decreasing sales cycles and increasing customer satisfaction.

If you have a system in place that isn’t delivering the ROI you imagined, contact Hartman today to begin a conversation about how to move forward in the most effective manner.

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