Let’s travel back through the hallways of history to before the advent of the vehicle and the personal computer. Back then, the vast majority of people couldn’t travel long distances easily and the scope of communication was restricted to what could be expressed in the local area.
A lot has changed – and for better or worse, technology is now integrated into nearly every aspect of culture and our lives. What was deemed impossible can now manifest with help from the ever-expanding reach of technology.
It’s clear to even a casual observer that the spread of technology has fundamentally altered the substance, style and form of human society. Put simply, technology has expanded the range of what can be conceived and subsequently achieved.
The Value of Change
One ever-present example of the inescapable nature of modern technology is that of the personal vehicle. The meteoric rise of the motor vehicle has reshaped both physical and psychological worlds. What began with a discovery of the internal combustion engine has since evolved into an increasingly intricate network of roads, symbols and regulations. This goes to show that technology doesn’t arise in a vacuum and that new discoveries often have lasting effects in other seemingly unrelated areas.
Now you might be wondering why I am talking about the vehicle on a CRM blog … well it just so happens that the vehicle is a perfect analogy for Customer Relationship Management system.
The vehicle, like CRM, is a tool. It’s a tool that can be utilized in nearly any situation to support an effort in getting from a starting point to a destination. While the vehicle runs on fuel, CRM runs on effort. You wouldn’t expect your car to run on good intentions alone, so why expect that from your CRM system?
We have seen for ourselves how effective implementation increases the value of business information in the same way a vehicle increases the amount of distance a person can travel in a set amount of time. It’s important to remember that before a vehicle can do what it was made to do, it needs fuel in the tank. When it comes to CRM systems information is like fuel but the fuel won’t pump itself. Ultimately, your efforts will be the driving force of the vehicle.
CRM systems can bring about significant improvements within an organization but it’s not as easy as just buying software. Getting significant value from CRM is often the result of integrated approaches to implementation, rollout and use. An integrated approach is an inclusive one that considers, with users and IT people, the short and long-term benefits and perceived challenges, faced as individuals and as a team, that can come about when working with a CRM system.
Team discussion can invigorate users while allowing them to get acquainted with changes in process that may be required. In our experience, a structured and integrated approach to implementation and rollout is often a deciding factor in whether or not a new CRM system will be successfully incorporated into an organization.
Know Your Requirements
Whether you’re in search of the right vehicle or the right CRM system, it is important to recognize the difference between needs and wants.
It is crucial that both business and IT people collaborate to communicate their respective understandings and needs before actively seeking out CRM solutions.
Although CRM systems, like cars, tend to function in similar ways, they are not all made equal or for the same job. It doesn’t make sense for a family of five to expect a 2- seater sports car to meet their needs in the same way it doesn’t make sense for a business to expect solutions to complex business scenarios to come as the result of new software alone.
Effective decision making should be both considered and strategic. By taking available resources and unique needs into account you can find a balance between meeting short and long-term goals. As American Hall of Fame basketball player, Rhodes Scholar and former three-term Democratic U.S Senator Bill Bradley once said,
“Ambition is the path to success. Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.” Think of where you are now. Think of where you would like to go. Now, think of CRM as a vehicle that can help you get where you want to be.