How to maximise your CRM investment

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In this blog we consider key questions on how to maximise your CRM investment.

The cost of a CRM system varies widely across organisations based upon the core package chosen, user and data storage pricing and additional functionality such as quotation & advanced reporting management. In addition, integration with other back-office systems will also add costs to your CRM solution. For larger, more complex organisations, there is not really a ‘one size fits all’ solution and configuration or customisation will be required.

When it works well, a CRM solution allows organisations to gather customer data swiftly, identify the most valuable customers over time, and increase customer loyalty by providing customised products and services. It also reduces the costs of serving these customers and makes it easier to acquire similar customers down the road.

However, according to Gartner, 55% of all CRM projects don’t produce the expected results. So what pitfalls should you be aware of so that you can maximise your CRM investment?

Is Your Organisation Ready for a CRM Implementation?

Implementing a CRM solution effectively requires a clear understanding of your customer acquisition and retention activities and the processes that support them. It also requires a clear vision of how you want your organisation to interact with customers as well as collaborate internally and with other key stakeholders.

Some executives implement a CRM solution in their organisation without fully understanding its capabilities. There’s a common misconception that CRM is a contact management tool. Although that’s its most common use case, there’s much more that a CRM can provide. Take the time to learn how you can use CRM to improve customer relationships and retention, innovate service and customer experience, build collaboration among teams, help run the organisation better and so on. You’ll be better able to set your short and long-term plans if you know all the ways a CRM can impact your operations.

If an organisation wants to develop better relationships with its key customers, it needs to first ensure that the central business processes that relate to customers, from marketing and sales to order fulfilment and customer services are fit for purpose. Having a strategy is not enough: A CRM implementation will succeed only after the organisation and its processes have been updated to better meet customers’ needs.

What information do your teams need to do their jobs effectively?

Data is one of the primary drivers of business strategy and projection, however, many decision makers don’t fully understand how inaccurate data collection and poor data maintenance can negatively impact their marketing, sales, customer services and ultimately their bottom line.

Customer relationship management software allows you to build and maintain good relationships with your customers, from when they first show interest in your products and services to beyond the point of purchase. However, collecting and analysing client data with your CRM can be intimidating, especially if there are dozens of data points per person.

To unleash the full potential of your CRM, you need to be aware of the different types of data it can store. These types include identity data, which includes customer and prospect names and contact details; descriptive data, which gives you insight into customer preferences; qualitative data, which gives you an idea of their attitude and behaviour; and quantitative data, which gives you the frequency and value of their transactions.

Along with the four types of data that exist in your CRM, you also need to understand data structures. These structures are composed of clusters of data that help you track your interactions with a lead or customer.

Both the type and structure of your CRM data will allow you to send personalised communication to both potential and existing customers, helping you build and strengthen your brand’s engagement with them.

Are your teams ready to use a CRM Solution?

One of the biggest challenges organisations experience when implementing a CRM solution is employee resistance. Some employees try to resist using the system altogether, whereas others only use it when they’re forced to, their reluctance often just being due to their unfamiliarity with the system.

Thorough and comprehensive CRM training can go a long way towards minimising, if not eliminating team member’s reluctance to use the technology, with the training demonstrating how such solutions can simplify each team member’s duties, streamline various core processes, and optimise the customer experience. Furthermore, the sooner users become comfortable using a newly adopted CRM solution, the sooner the organisation’s efficiency, productivity, and customer service will improve.

Another benefit of training employees in the use of CRM software is ensuring that your company maximises every advantage provided by your CRM system’s features. Training in general use of the system is certainly important, but not all your team members are going to be using it in the same capacities or for the same purposes, meaning individual training is crucial. That means first determining which of your employees need to fully understand the software, then what their roles will be in using the CRM system. Then comes effectively passing on that information to the team.

For many companies, customer service, sales, marketing, and accounting departments need to be aware of how their CRM system works, but such requirements often vary according to each business’ goals, daily operations, and expectations of their respective CRM solutions.

Improving customer relationships through better experiences is becoming increasingly critical to maintaining a competitive advantage. When properly utilised, CRMs can be a huge asset to your organisation’s customer experience strategy and a worthwhile investment.

If you would like to discuss your business challenges and how ViewPointCRM can help your organisation, please get in touch with our expert team today or book a demo.