There is a general assumption that since CRM software has been around for many years it should be ready to deliver instant results. In fact, many software vendors lead their potential clients to believe this common CRM myth. This is simply not realistic.
Imagine this analogy: You have a garden that’s become so overgrown it’s beyond the point of tending to, not to mention harvesting from. With this in mind, would you then invest even more time and money into planting new seeds on additional plots of land? Of course not – even if you’ve spent a small fortune on gardening supplies and equipment. Without an action plan to maintain the garden you already have, chances are you’ll be disappointed when you don’t get much of a return on your investment (if any). After all, planting seeds is only a fraction of the total formula.
The same is true when it comes to deploying new CRM software. Deciding what kind of CRM system to select as a solution is only one part of the total equation. In order for a software implementation to fulfill business needs and achieve desired outcomes, it is imperative that there be a plan for how the software will be used to deliver actionable information. That is to say, information that is valuable to the organization because it creates opportunities by enhancing the knowledge base of its users.
Valuable information creates connections between people. Out of these connections, beneficial actions, opportunities and results can arise. In a world where we are often overloaded with too much (and sometimes useless) data, it’s now a necessity to be able to securely store and access the most important and relevant information to your business.
CRM demands framework and strategy in order to provide the “wins” you seek from it. Many times new CRM users need a transitional period to conform to such structure. This is especially true of Sales professionals who sometimes must “fly by the seat of their pants” or have a varying course of action each day as they try to move along deals with prospects. And like gardening, adapting to change doesn’t occur overnight. It takes time – people need to adjust to new processes, and businesses need to align procedural methods with technology.
When evaluating your current CRM system or considering the purchase of a new one, first think in terms of what information is important before you begin the software selection process. Start with a simple approach:
- Determine your base requirements
- Know exactly what information you wish to glean from your CRM efforts
- Cultivate a plan on how that information will be used to benefit the business
Editor’s Note: Our CRM software solution, SharePoint Flex, is geared toward starting small and evolving over time. It is also geared toward personalization and self-configuration. We don’t pretend that the unrealistic is possible. We make every effort to hold our customers back, have them start small; help them to think through the important factors. We do not pull a noose around our client’s necks… in fact we try to set them free. When they stumble, we are here to help move them forward.
Our expertise is not in selling software, but in ensuring customers can finally have a CRM solution that will move forward with them, aligning with their internal capacity and the capacity of their people to identify areas of rational improvement and ability to adapt to change.