As I peek around the CRM market I often find an oversaturated hype machine obsessed with marketing everything as “fast” and “easy”. But, contrary to popular belief, making effective use of CRM is neither fast nor easy. Successful implementations require time, energy, commitment, leadership and collaboration from all involved parties. It is imperative that everyone involved be included and allotted time to actively participate in the process or the CRM venture will surely fail to deliver desired results.
Debunking a Common CRM Myth
In an imagined, albeit slightly dystopian future, CRM software will do most of our work for us, it will manage our information, take notes on our behalf, schedule tasks, and keep track of our opportunities. To the dismay of some futurists, we have yet to live in that world. Yes, this means that we still need to do our own thinking! CRM is NOT an automated, one-size-fits-all solution. Anyone with even the slightest bit of experience in the world of CRM software can tell you that successful implementations require the combined effort of everyone involved and organized changes in thought, behavior and process.
CRM software may not be as fast, fun and “sexy” as some marketing campaigns would like to have you believe, but it has quickly and quietly become an invaluable part of today’s business marketplace. Despite the pervasive sales campaigns attempting to influence and manipulate public perception regarding software in general and CRM specifically, there is still hope.
The good news is that although making productive use of CRM software is not quite as easy as downloading an application, it is worth the extra effort. As the old saying goes, “nothing worthwhile ever came easily.” Take this analogy for example, attending college or university is not easy, but it is worthwhile. You may spend hours reading and writing and at times it may seem like a pointless exercise, but if one sticks with the process, they will eventually benefit from having exposed their mind to new ideas and theories, which assist in personal growth and help one figure out who they are and what they believe in, which in turn equips the individual with the skills required to make it today’s fast-paced marketplace.
There’s No Quick Fix
Any CRM implementation project should be viewed as a continuous improvement program. So relax – it’s just not humanly possible to get it right the first time. Set pragmatic, achievable goals and see them through to successful completion. Maintain a diary of the improvements so you can see how far you’ve come (and maybe even gloat to the CEO that you were involved in driving the project!) Everything encountered along the journey then becomes another phase toward optimized business performance and prowess.
Working as both a software developer and vendor, we know all too well what it’s like to pay for something and not get a return on our investment. Keeping this knowledge in mind is what motivates us to stand behind our promise, that customer success is more important than simply selling software. We want our clients to grow with us, maximizing their potential, taking advantage of information and opportunities while reaping the benefits of a relationship management framework that is tailored to meet their unique and specific needs.