The Essential Guide to CRM
Customers decide your fate. The right CRM solution can help you deliver great and lasting relationships. Here’s what to look for.
Sameness is the enemy of success. Setting your business apart from your competition begins with better customer experiences.
McKinsey research found that leaders in customer experience can grow revenues by 5% to 10% within two or three years. In a recent Gartner survey, 89% of leaders at consumer-facing companies said customer experience is their primary differentiator. There’s a dark side as well: another survey found that 25% of customers will defect after just one bad experience.
CRM, when it first started, was more about keeping your contacts in a central location. Today, CRM is the foundational component of a customer engagement strategy.
— Brent Leary, CRM Essentials
A great CRM system serves as the key that unlocks superior customer experience by tying your business together. When you look closely at various solutions, you’ll find important differences in features and functionality. This checklist will help you ask the right questions to narrow down your choice.
Security and compliance:
CRM success starts well before the technology purchase. It’s important to begin with a blueprint encompassing business alignment, team building, and change management. These foundational elements will help to ensure maximum adoption and business benefit from your CRM solution.
“When it comes to choosing a CRM system, you have to get your objectives in place,” says Greenberg. “What do we want to do? What is the strategy? How do we want to go about executing? If you don’t have those questions answered up front, the buying decision is going to be based off of old information or maybe no concrete information at all.”
A successful CRM deployment involves getting buy-in from key stakeholders across the business. These are the things they care about most:
It’s essential to define your success metrics for CRM as part of the buying process, because these metrics will help you determine the functionality you will need in order to deliver positive top- or bottom-line results. You want to measure CRM performance with precision for optimal outcomes
You don’t choose [the technology] and then decide what to do with it. You figure out what you need to do first, then you put in the CRM to enable you to accomplish what you plan on doing.
— Paul Greenberg, The 56 Group
You’re getting closer to a purchase decision, but you’re not quite ready to buy yet.
“The last thing you do is choose your technology,” says Greenberg. “You don’t choose it and then decide what to do with it. You figure out what you need to do first, then you put in the CRM to enable you to accomplish what you plan on doing.”
Your business doesn’t stand still, and neither should your CRM system. A CRM solution should put you on a path of continuous improvement, with the most exciting advances in key areas such as mobile and artificial intelligence. The future of CRM is about fine-tuning the ability to deliver the right information to the right user at the right time — even if they don’t ask for it.
“There’s so much information out there that using technology to bring that needle in a haystack to the CRM user is going to become increasingly important for an increasingly competitive world,” says Wettemann.
As CRM systems become more adept at consuming large amounts of data, and leverage machine learning algorithms to generate insights more quickly, they will allow every user to better know every customer, and to anticipate and predict customers’ needs more effectively
— Brent Leary, CRM Essentials