Defining desired business outcomes, focusing on the relationship, and understanding the value in business optimization.
Over the last several months, I have been involved in assisting several of our customers with planning and implementing CRM upgrades to improve the acquisition, retention, and growth of customers or clients.
The organizations ranged from traditional industrial/supply chain companies and professional services organizations to industrial service suppliers in the financial industry and even two technology-consulting companies. While every one of these organizations takes a different approach to attracting and building relationships with their customers, they do share a few common CRM objectives that will better align their teams to achieve their business goals.
- Improve customer relationships
- Improve business optimization & efficiency
- A better experience for everyone involved including the sales and customer service folks
These objectives significantly differ from the objectives or goals initially identified by many organizations when first selecting and implementing a CRM system. This new approach of focusing on desired business outcomes, as opposed to the functional or tactical expectations for system (I.e. We need to implement a database to gather our data or we need to track our sales resources activities, etc.), is driving solutions with greater efficacy, improved adoption across users, and better overall results both for the solution ROI and the rate at which the company goals are achieved.
Here is a brief overview of some of the “functional” aspects of the CRM solutions that our clients are requesting which is allowing them to meet, and in some cases, exceed their goals:
- Better Visibility to gain a stronger understanding of how they interact, with their prospects and customers, to grow the customer base or increase the loyalty of their existing customers.
- New ways to work and communicate to take advantage of all the organization’s assets (systems and resources) to increase their new customers or grow relationships with each existing customer.
- Improved marketing and communication integration with the ability to provide the right information to the right audience, segmented by their desires, at the right time; then, track qualified inquiries or responses and present that information to the sales team through the system without a great deal of manual intervention.
- New strategies to grow existing “customer” relationships by utilizing the information available in the new system to identify opportunities that can be shared with marketing, inside and outside sales teams and leadership and offer new solutions to existing customers. Being able to suggest recommended alternatives, or additional items based on other similar customer interactions, will create better solutions, and is one example of demonstrating functional need.
- More inclusion and collaboration by reaching across departments and teams that have daily interaction with the customer and bringing all team members into the “system”. Inside sales, order entry, customer service, support, and even design and development teams that interact with the customer have valuable information to share that affects the relationship and how we interact.
- Improved inside sales team performance by recognizing the value and increasing the interaction of the inside sales team as a part of the overall customer relationship
- Better mentorship and management by using the tools to accelerate the sharing of information, that can help team members be more effective, identify potential areas for focus and improvement to reduce admin meeting time, which then allows them to spend more time working “on” the business of selling and supporting their customers or clients
Not every organization we work with is looking to achieve all of these functional aspects; most are looking at multiple functions to help them achieve their objectives.
As these desired functions have kept recurring in our range of customers, I thought it would be valuable to share more details about each of these focus area, highlighting not only how our customers are implementing these requirements, but also some options that you can use to determine if this approach might also improve your CRM solution.
Here’s to moving your business forward, faster.
Read the other blog posts related to the Affiliated series on CRM Optimization: