Ah, yes…business leaders everywhere have often heard this complaint. Maybe you are the one to notoriously shout from rooftops, “My company should not waste money and time on CRM. It is expensive, and besides, nobody looks at that stuff!” Sound familiar?
The truth is that in 2018, some type of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution is absolutely essential for any business, whether it is a large corporation serving customers across the globe or a small family-owner business providing goods to the local community. Does your overall business plan include having more customers than you can count on one hand? I should think so! Even owners of the very smallest of companies do fundamentally require a centralized place to store all of their customer data, interactions and conversation history. Sure, you probably have basic accounting software – or maybe you pay a bookkeeper or an executive assistant to manage some level of data entry and reporting in various spreadsheets – and that’s a good (workaround!) start. However, it is important to acknowledge the fact that accounting software was never designed to pinpoint specific sales process issues, help your team be more productive, or utterly delight the customers that you already have. Further, general ledger reporting, while critical to investors and your Board of Directors, isn’t exactly actionable information for most of your staff.
How about a quick dose of reality?…
#1. If you aren’t managing your department, organization or company according to transparently-communicated KPIs (that is, key performance indicators – or standard performance metrics), your business is already suffering.
Why? Because if you aren’t measuring any other outcomes aside from gross sales, then you aren’t actually holding your internal team(s) accountable to any specific objectives. This lack of accountability breeds an overall culture of status quo, which leads to mediocre performance, and finally, tons of missed opportunity. What gets measured in your business gets done. Period. CRM is designed to solve this measurement problem for you, and as a business leader you should care deeply about this.
#2. Even if you think you have communicated solid KPIs to your team, you must still ensure that capturing all of the supporting data fits into your business processes in a way that requires daily measurement.
It is a common pitfall of leadership to inadvertently create a loophole for your managers to craft a narrative that suits their own respective positions. If you don’t have a well planned business tool for your company’s customer related metrics, it should come as no surprise when your functional group leaders (e.g. marketing, sales, product, customer service…) end up telling different stories. Even if the stories are relatively accurate, you are surely missing the opportunity to discuss less obvious but more impactful changes that could be made. For example, your marketing team may take great pride in sharing their very low bounce rate, or their high open rate on outbound email campaigns, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that your marketing team is emailing people who have any known interest in what you are selling. CRM is designed to highlight and encourage standard business practice by shining a light on your hidden issues.
#3. If you aren’t using a CRM, your employees are fundamentally wasting precious hours every day by emailing information that should already be centrally accessible to all customer-facing staff.
If any of your customer or prospect information resides in one person’s head, the rest of your colleagues and staff are not aware of it and thus cannot possibly make fully informed decisions. Every business leader can certainly recall painful examples of misfires or miscommunications that have either killed a deal, enraged a customer, caused internal drama, or resulted in negative public reviews and refunds. In nearly every case, the root cause can be traced back to the fact that key information was not readily available to the right colleague(s) at the right time. “I emailed that to you a week ago” or “I thought we discussed this account already!” or “I didn’t realize you needed that today” (Sigh). A CRM that is regularly used by everyone as part of a daily routine will significantly reduce re-work and needless emails, and will dramatically improve your team’s ability to execute in real-time.
If you aren’t experiencing good traction with your existing CRM implementation, don’t despair and don’t give up. To be truly competitive in 2018, you need to double down on encouraging proper use of technologies like Salesforce.com within your organization. Change can be hard, but deciding to embrace the very best of what current technologies can do for you will ensure that your business realizes improvements today that will easily scale for tomorrow.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can make the switch to Salesforce.com or even your own fully customized Force.com applications, please contact us. We know that you can do this, and as our customers will tell you, the A2B team can definitely get you there!