Implementing customer relationship management (CRM) strategy and technology is imperative to compete in business today. More and more businesses are realizing the importance of having a customer-centric strategy, but often they don’t know where to start. It’s important to understand exactly what CRM is so that your business can get started on the right foot. Knowing what to avoid might help your business be more successful in implementing a CRM strategy and a CRM technology.
Avoid thinking of CRM as only software — It’s important to realize that CRM is not just a piece of technology or software, but it is also a business strategy that is realized by using the software to keep organized, collaborate and stay on task. CRM was done before we had software! Software just makes it easier to do it efficiently and expertly. You probably do some sort of customer relationship management already, but it might be disorganized and haphazard without the software that can automate and improve the overall top to bottom development and implementation of the company CRM strategy.
Avoid making one person responsible — It’s tempting to put only one person in charge of the CRM choice, or just department heads, but this is the worst thing you can do. It’s important to involve the entire company and all personnel and stakeholders in the decision making process when implementing CRM. Customer relationship management concerns all departments and not just the sales force. Proper CRM considers the customers’ entire journey through your product funnel, even invoicing and payment. Therefore, it is imperative to include all departments in the design of the strategy, the choice of software, and the evaluation and implementation of both.
Avoid not considering IT costs — Many small businesses do not have an IT department. Therefore, they often do not compute the savings realized by using a cloud-based CRM, or add in the savings of not having to hire an IT person, thus misquoting their true ROI. Savings are as important as cost when implementing CRM as strategy and as software. Today, a very small business can afford to invest in CRM software because they can avoid most of the costs associated with IT. Instead, with cloud-based technology they can focus on implementing the strategy.
Avoid not evaluating your return on investment (ROI) — Your entire company, and every department, including stakeholders need to be aware of the cost of CRM and they also need to be able to evaluate the returns appropriately. You must pay close attention to people, procedure and strategy, developing benchmarks along the way to properly evaluate successful implementation of customer relationship management as strategy and customer relationship management as software.
Avoid not doing your research — It’s imperative that you, and your entire staff educate themselves on CRM. Read blogs, books and eBooks; see what other experts in CRM are saying about customer relationship management, and truly understand all its implications before trying to develop a CRM strategy and choose a CRM software. There is a lot of free information available by experts on CRM. GetApp, with the help of many industry professionals has created an informative eBook called: “Customer Relationship Management For Small Business.” You can download this eBook free of charge, you don’t even have to provide an email address to get it, and you can feel free to share it, as well.
About the Author: Elke Schmitt is an English Philologist from Germany with a passion for Online Marketing and Internet trends. She currently works as an online marketing manager for GetApp, the #1 Cloud Business Apps Marketplace. Her motto is : “Your life is what your thoughts make it.” Connect with Elke on Google+