5 Key Challenges in CRM Implementation
23 Dec. 2011 Software Development
Mobility & innovation are the two main key drivers to reach the business goals for any enterprise. Today, Customer Relationship Management or CRM plays a crucial role for managing numerous interactions with existing and future customers. CRM also helps to collaborate between sales, marketing, customer service and technical support functions in the organzation. This article explains why CRM is important for your organization, and what are the key challenges faced by enterprises while implementing CRM.
Why is CRM needed for Businesses?
Customer satisfaction is the key to success in any business. In order for a business to consistently maintain success, it needs to satisfy its customers by providing high quality products or services at the right price. That’s why businesses need to constantly interact with customers in order to understand their true needs.
It needs to track and analyze those interactions in a systematic and organized fashion in order to build lasting customer relationship which translates to long-term success.
“The customer experience is the next competitive battleground.” – Jerry Gregoire, Dell
One example of this is Zappos. It started off as a shoe selling company with a true focus on its customer service. Now, it sells products from clothes to handbags and commands revenues north of $2 billion. It was no surprise that Amazon purchased Zappos for a sizable amount, in order to capture the essence of their customer service.
Building customer relationships seem simple; however businesses around the world have struggled with it. The key element of this is the need to get a 360 degree view of customers, which is why massive investments in CRM solutions are currently underway globally.
CRM – Software or Business project?
CRM is not a software project. It’s a business philosophy. It is a strategy, implemented using a software solution that typically covers all customer interfacing departments like sales, marketing, customer service, etc. of an organization. It cannot be delegated to the IT department without the true understanding of how it will be used in the organization. Any company that aims to do so will fail – sooner or later.
Which CRM product is best suited?
While short-listing CRM products, it is essential to analyze overall capabilities of the product. As the company matures, the expectations from the CRM system multiplies. As a thumb rule, consider only those CRM products that offer multiple modules like Sales Force Automation, Marketing Automation, Customer Support & Services that can be added as and when needed without much effort. By doing so you are investing keeping in mind the future of the company and not just the immediate need.
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Key Challenges in CRM implementation
Defining Clear Objectives
Appointing a Core CRM Team
Defining the Processes
Managing the Application
Finding the Right Partner
The organization should have a clear set of objectives which it would like to achieve through the CRM. These objectives need to be listed and defined as measurable metrics. Without doing so, the company can’t assess the benefits or the ROI of the CRM system.
The CRM initiative is not an IT project. A core CRM team should be formed in addition to the participation from Top Management, Senior Executives, Customer Service, IT and end-users. Only after the requirements are clear should they be handed over to IT for implementation.
It is important for the processes to be clearly defined and enforced in order to set up the CRM project for success. One good practice is to create a central repository, accessible to all, which stores all the process definitions. This allows the document to be available for referencing by anyone using the system.
Key processes that need to be defined from the start are Change Management process, Feature Re-evaluation process,etc. Also, clear security measures with access management need to be in place to make sure that important data is not accessible by those who shouldn’t be accessing it.
Once the CRM has been rolled-out, it is important to re-align the work culture of the teams around it. The business operation should properly map with the CRM application. This also means that end users should perform day-to-day operations through the CRM application by default and not optionally.
The rate of CRM success considerably goes up with the right solution partner. Ideally select a partner who can do both, strategy & implementation. It is important that your partner shares the risks of your CRM implementation. Working with a vendor who understands local work culture, technology limitations and listens to the employees, are ideal.
How can CRM Solution help Businesses?
CRM solutions can help businesses increase their sales effectiveness, drive customer satisfaction, streamline business processes, identify & resolve bottlenecks, all of which directly contribute towards the bottom line revenue as well as assurance of repeat business. CRM solutions are not just a nice-to-have but a necessity in a world where customer retention is of prime importance.
Integrating CRM with your other enterprise applications can help your management take the right business decisions.