A critical look at CRM
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a term often abused. CRM is most often confused with Sales Management systems.
Customer First, or Business First?
CRM Systems put the needs of the Customer first; Sales Management Systems put the needs of the business first.
True CRM requires this “What are the most important things that customers want to know when they communicate with us”. It is not what the Sales Manager wants to know about how his sales team is performing.
CRM typically requires integration between front line staff systems and back office systems. For instance in a retail sales environment you will have real time access to accounting, sales order processing and delivery information. Stuff that will impress the customer the most.
If you really want Sales Management then there are excellent products. Both in the cloud and for in house installation.
The best products have easy-to-use integration tools. That allows them to call themselves CRM systems. They have recognised the need to incorporate external data (from elsewhere) in order to beat their customer’s expectations of service.
The big GOTCHA is that the integration tools and implementation do not come cheap. Look first at the products where the integration tools are free.
So it’s Sales Management then…
If what is wanted is a Sales Management System then, in my experience, the 2 big dangers with such a project:
Salesmen First, or Sales Managers First?
1. The sales team spend so much time keeping the system up to date so that management get their sales forecasts that there is a huge drop in productivity.
2. The sales team is so worried about other members of the sales team stealing their leads that they do not put information on the system until it is too late to have value.
CRM and Sales Management systems do different things. Well implemented, they both benefit your business; However the culture, rationale and benefits of these systems are worlds apart.
Give us a call to discuss whether your current systems are in fact a CRM. Even an accounting system can provide CRM information if that is the most likely thing a customer wants to know.