Implementing a customer relationship management platform has become something of a necessity for modern organizations, driven by demand among sales professionals for greater efficiency. CRM implementation tips and lessons learned from others’ projects can really help an organization’s project succeed.
According to a recent report published by the Aberdeen Group, a research and consulting firm, there’s a tendency among many companies to blame the CRM software when they don’t meet their sales goal. There are a few reasons for this that you can use as CRM : First, it’s much safer for the sales team to emphasize any deficiencies in their software to deflect any shortcoming stemming from personnel. Second, it’s very likely that an implementation wasn’t completed with sufficient planning and forethought. Third, and often as a result of poor implementation, employees aren’t able to make the most effective use of the CRM software.
The need for an effective CRM system can be seen in multiple industries, especially in the eCommerce sector. An Australian pasta brand provides a clear example of why a CRM system is necessary, but only when it fits the specific needs of a company.
According to CMO Australia, the pasta company, Pastabilities, had been in business for 20 years but wasn’t able to achieve the kind of growth that it wanted. Operating as a business-to-business organization with four main audiences – food service, specialty stores, supermarkets and retail – the company was having trouble organizing information about their customers in an intuitive way that gave members of the workforce a clear idea of what each type of customer wanted or needed.
Luciano Schettini, director of Pastabilities, explained the company’s sales and marketing manager was spending an inordinate amount of time trying to aggregate and organize customer data. This meant the manager had very little time to actually engage with existing customers, generate and nurture leads and identify new sales opportunities.
Pastabilities brought its eCommerce platform together with its CRM software and accounting system, which allowed it to collect customer data into one primary location that’s accessible to everyone with permission. This information includes order history, contact details and preferences.
When the sales and marketing teams are equipped with this depth of customer information, they’re able to connect with clients in a more personal and customized way. For instance, when a buyer calls, the pasta company is able to immediately pull up reports detailing every interaction he or she has had with the business and use that information to guide their conversation. It makes it easier to up-sell or cross-sell.
The benefits of a helping hand
Implementing a CRM system will require the help of an external service provider to ensure the solution meets the needs of the company. According to Aberdeen, organizations that seek the assistance of a systems integrator are able to improve performance on multiple levels.
In fact, those that use an SI to implement and deploy their CRM software are able to achieve a customer retention rate of nearly 70 percent. Organizations that don’t often see rates around 58 percent. At the same time, just 35 percent of sales reps achieve their quota when their company doesn’t use a system integrator to implement its CRM system. That number jumps to 41 percent for companies that do.
When organizations integrate their CRM with other systems, they’re able to get a much clearer view of their customers. Everything from order history, feedback from satisfaction surveys and data management improves when all information is accessible through a unified platform, instead of trapped in silos. With a CRM implementation that precisely fits a company’s needs, it’s far more likely that the sales team will use the software and see the benefits in terms of customer retention and meeting quotas.