Back in September, I wrote about the growing recognition that even the best CRM technologymay not be worth much if it isn't part of a larger process-improvement effort.
Here's a post from The CRM Consultant blog in which Richard Boardmanillustrates this point with several examples whereby companies (not clear whether they are hypothetical or real world) use CRM to improve sales-conversion rates, increase customer satisfaction, reduce the volume of help-desk calls, boost compliance rates, and keep staffs lean and mean.
Embedding processes in a CRM system where they can be more effectively monitored and managed can help companies achieve the above, and likely more. However, writes Boardman, it won't be easy. Doing so requires five major steps:
- You must thoroughly review existing processes and identify areas for improvement.
- You might need to tweak CRM systems to support unique processes. (As a surprising number of them might be.)
- All employees should use the system in a structured and consistent way. (Which is why training is so important, as I mentioned in another post with more good advice from Boardman.)
- You may have to develop a custom reporting tool or tools, since those included with off-the-shelf software might not reflect the way your company conducts business.
- Build flexibility into the system, so it can accommodate the inevitable process changes that will occur over time.
A process-oriented approach to CRM isn't for everyone, notes Boardman. He writes:
The potential benefits of doing it are huge, but there's an overhead as well. For organizations that are rapidly changing, and/or don't feel they can persuade their employees to consistently use a system, this is not a good approach. The key is to know what camp you are in. It's a lot better to recognize up front that it's not in your DNA to use CRM technology in this way, than spend a lot of time and money proving it.