Retaining Team Members with CRM
There are so many aspects of what makes employees productive and countless little things that make your people loyal and dedicated employees. A decade ago many organizations were just figuring out how they were going to approach technology and now most of us feel like a slave to it. The reality is that for most company’s employee retention is high on their priority list but few take into account how their employees use technology and its impact on the psyche of their front line personnel. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is one of the tools that can make a huge difference in those efforts.
If you ask twenty people you would probably get twenty different definitions for CRM. In simple terms a CRM system helps you find new customers, enables sales people to work through the acquisition process, and then enables your customer service teams to keep your customers happy so that you can expand your business relationship. In software publisher terms CRM is a 360 degree view of your customers and prospects from a Marketing, Sales and Customer Service perspective. In the real world a CRM system can be the operational heartbeat of your company and a centralized place that holds everything you know or want to know about your customers. More importantly, it can also handle many of the critical handoffs and processes between various departments.
The Information Superhighway
One of the most frustrating parts of any job is not having the right information at the right time in order to do the job you were hired to do. With the speed of business and customers expecting things in “Internet time” the pressures of performing have been taken to a new level. This is where CRM can help alleviate stress and bottlenecks in your organization. If people have access to the information they need (even if they don’t know they will need it) then job satisfaction and morale can stay high. Add to the mix the fact that so many employees work as remote employees or are always on the run at client sites or meeting with prospects, then you will see why the access to information has become more important than ever before.
Practical Customer Approach
One of the most often asked questions is how should you approach CRM considering there are so many aspects of how the technology works and what it can be used for. The answer to the question is usually as unique as your individual customer environment. The best practice to figure out what people need is to pull them into a room and ask them directly. Find out what are the most common pain points in either trying to marry Sales and Marketing or the most common requests that come between Sales and Operations or Service to understand your high priority items. Then, come up with a plan to address a few issues at a time while building an evolving plan for what your CRM environment should look like.
Case in Point
Many of our customers are focused on trying to build their businesses with limited resources and many do not have full time marketing teams. If this is the case a CRM system can help you build the business by enabling your sales team to receive leads quickly and give marketing people feedback on what works and doesn’t work when trying to attract new customers or business from existing customers. Other customers are more focused on the process for onboarding new clients utilizing a systematic process for workflow and notifying team members at key points in the sales process – which CRM can help with by automating your sales cycles. Lastly, when a customer say “Yes” and needs to move into your financial system or have orders placed most CRM products now have integrations to your back office that can reduce or eliminate duplication of efforts. All of these scenarios can help you make the organization healthy and happy. More importantly, you can realize lower training and recruiting costs and realize more productivity per employee.
Food For Thought
If you have already employed a CRM system or what you have tried in the past doesn’t seem to have the effect that you want it to have, then maybe it is a good time to engage in people that specialize in CRM. It’s always a good idea to take what you know and get a second opinion. In many instances we have found that there are simple tweaks to an existing system or small enhancements that go a long way towards CRM adoption. If you are a neophyte in the world of CRM a consultant can also educate you on many of the pitfalls and how to avoid them so that your CRM system becomes meaningful and critical to your success. Whether or not you rely on external experts to help with your CRM, it is very important that you establish a feedback loop with your most important assets…your people. As the marketplace is constantly evolving your CRM platform will never be “finished” but more likely move from phase to phase as you adjust to what the market demands.