To most people when they hear the acronym CRM in a business setting, the first thing that comes to mind is that it is a software program and therein lies the problem. The notion that CRM could stand for a set of processes that promote sound business strategies leading to increased profits is definitely not what they first think about when they hear it; yet that’s exactly what it truly means. Additionally, the thought that there are activities involved in maintaining good human relationships that lead to increased sales is very foreign to most people, yet that is exactly why the software was developed.
CRM application also known as a contact management system is a computer software that businesses use to maintain the customer record for the purpose of selling more goods and services. As widely used as this application is, most people who use the software have no idea what it is and why they are using it, only that they are suppose to put the prospects information in the application and miraculously it will do all the work necessary for them to make more money.Unfortunately it is not all their fault as this is how the software is sold by most vendors citing the tremendous sales increases that companies have experienced using their software. What most fail to mention is that there are other contributing factors that caused the spike in sales such as incentive programs, hot products or even good record keeping. The fact is that no software will increase your sales without some form of human intervention either in the programming, telling it what to do or in the external activities, doing what it told you to do.
So the key to success in CRM is in training the operator and I do not mean put the name and address in this field or that. I mean training the operator on how the application will assist him or her build, maintain and mange their book of business better. Here is the problem, software is written by people who in most cases do not like other people! Think of it this way; imagine someone who speaks C++, a programming language having a conversation with a salesperson who speaks features and benefits and you will understand why you are not able to get a positive return on your CRM investment. However, I am here to tell you that you can begin to make your CRM investment begin to pay for itself and it does not have to take long nor is it complicated.
As a matter of fact, it is just a decision and the implementation of a few simple processes away. The key to success in CRM lies in the understanding that C = Customer; R = Relationship; M = Management; stay with me. The reason most CRM programs fail to produce results is that the emphasis is on the software and all the bells and whistles that it possesses and that approach is totally wrong. Let me point out the obvious again, in CRM the R stands for relationship, which means that the operator of the application has a job to do! The problem is that in most cases the operator has no idea what they are doing so the application can prompt all it wants because the operator is just going to keep marking it complete, complete, complete. The true value of CRM is not found in the application, the true value is found in the application’s ability to help you build, maintain and manage your book of business. It is there to help you provide proactive care for those important relationships that secure your business.
So here is the solution: R stands for Relationship. The user of this application must know how to engage, interact and build relationships during long and short selling cycles. It is important that they understand the how the application works especially the marketing sequences so that they are able to speak up when triggers and marketing pieces are inappropriate for the client they are sending it to. Providing people skills and technical skills training is a must so that they are able to interact effectively and communicate with the different personality traits they will encounter. They need to become comfortable using the phone as well as face book and the twitter so that it is not all about business so the relationship can grow and so on. Success with CRM will translate into sales only when the lines of C-customer become blurred by R- a real person, not a sales person is having a relationship with them by sharing this life experience in a natural organic fashion. But the most important aspect of this process that is violated regularly is the M-management, those thoughtful predetermined prompts and triggers and carefully selected marketing pieces being delivered at just the right times in the clients life that shows that you are sincere, such as a hand written anniversary note instead of a computer generated template that you can spot a mile away!