CRM: There’s a reason CRM starts with “Customer”


Care about customers, not softwareCustomers don’t give a rat’s patootie about the software you use to manage your relationship with them. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is an enabler, not an driver. In other words,  it’s not the software that strengthens customer relationships. In fact, with the advent of social CRM, customers want to feel engaged, not “managed.” So why is it that many businesses start their CRM projects with software selection?

To some degree, many CRM software features are a commodity. We expect CRM to support contact management, send emails, manage sales opportunities, maintain histories, and the like. The point of software selection is to find the system that supports your workflow and processes around those tasks.

Here’s a simple definition of  Customer Relationship Management: it’s a system of processes and technology tools used by human beings to help other human beings. Yet, human interaction and the needs of the users and customers are often found at the bottom of the requirements list – if they appear there at all.

The system should enable collaboration and engagement between people, promote effective internal and external communication between people, provide analytics for users and management (more people), accelerate workflow, and, ultimately, foster greater profitability for the enterprise.

A CRM imitative should be guided by business requirements and long term strategy  – all of which must be in service of meeting customers’ (there’s those people again) needs.

Let’s break that down. Who are the human beings who should be utilizing a successful CRM system? Every customer-facing team member in your organization. That includes:

  • All levels of management
  • Marketing staff
  • Sales personnel
  • Customer service and support representatives
  • Any other customer-facing team member

Managers will say they use CRM to boost productivity, lower costs, and increase margins or profits. Those results aren’t realized merely because you turn on a computer and launch CRM software. Results are realized by using a process and engaging the people in your enterprise to follow it.

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