Tag Archives: Customer Relationship Management

Out with the old CRM and in with the new!

I have never been a big fan of New Year’s resolutions as I think too many people set themselves up with unrealistic goals and ultimately fail.  I am a bigger fan of making small business and physical fitness changes in my life that can provide quick and measurable impact.  This year instead of sitting around trying to come up with a resolution I just grabbed a trash bag and headed into my office for a major clean out.  When I was done I felt liberated and ready to tackle the New Year with a well-organized office. On the physical fitness front, I decided to forgo my typical weight training routine in place of a yoga class.  I measured my short term success with this by the next day pain I felt all over my body!  I am sold on the stress reduction benefits, coordination and flexibility thing as I was trying to master the downward dog!

I suggest taking this same approach with your existing CRM platform and make minor modifications to the system in order to receive new and immediate benefits with focus on CRM end-user give backs.  Below is a short list of suggestion on how you can take your old CRM system and make it feel like new again and win back user adoption!

  1. Time how long it takes an average user to do the top required tasks in your system.  Start with the creation of an activity, entering a new contact and creating a new opportunity.  Your goal should be to cut your time in half on every required task you evaluate.  This can be done by reducing the number of required fields on entry or turning many fields into a pick list entry.  Your organization should be asking yourself why you are capturing the information and who is benefiting from it?
  2. Introduce a more usable way to access the CRM system.  Sure everyone provides a desktop client but do you really want your sales force sitting at their desk or in front of prospects and or customers? CRM Sales Mobility is an easy way to start winning back your selling organization by allowing them to use the mobility tools they want in order to update the CRM system you have in place. 
  3. Send out a survey to your user base and ask what is liked and disliked around your system.  Although the survey hyperlink in this article is more customer facing in nature, it will give you some great suggestions on how to set up, execute and measure a survey.  I see this as the best way to keep your users engaged in the process of user adoption and avoid CRM failure.  This should not be a onetime thing, but something that you perform on an annual basis for process and system improvement.
  4. Take the time to automate a process that is a time sucker!  This goes back to supporting the #1 point in the list.  If the system can do it then let the system do it not the users.  If a new lead comes in off your web site as an example, then stop asking your sales organization to create a new opportunity to support the pursuit.  Most CRM systems come with inherent work-flow tools so script repeatable processes like the creation of a new contact and opportunity record with assigned tasks for the users.
  5. Measure CRM system use then make it competitive and fun!  Another mistake most companies make is they do not have a good feel for who is using their CRM system and how.  Many CRM vendors have add on tools like the one featured via the hyperlink that will allow you to publish who is using the system on a regular basis.  Doing this will creates a competitive environment which most sales people thrive in.  Sounds strange but giving recognition and awards on a quarterly basis for good and consistent CRM usage can drive the level of adoption off the charts!

Make CRM system adjustments a priority in the New Year and your organization will demonstrate successful, repeatable processes with performance measurements that will deliver strong CRM user adoption.

– Tracy

CRM system end-user givebacks?

Don’t assume that a trip to the barber shop will produce a predictable outcome!  The end result for the individual can actually create more work like the need to apply hair gels, mousse & hair spray with no givebacks for the effort.  I survived this experience but can tell you I received nothing for my investment outside of a great conversation piece many years later.

That brings me to this week’s blog topic of “What do users get in exchange for buying into a CRM platform?”  My 26+ years’ experience working directly with customers has generated a common theme.  That theme or promises is that the users will see productivity gains and process improvement, but the facts point to a high percentage of post implementation let downs. 

The root cause behind most of the lets downs starts with the selection and implementation committee.  This team is driving the CRM platform decision and many times  is out of touch with the day-to-day needs of the user community they are trying to service.  Yes the committee usually does departmental use case interviews which produce a standard collection of requirements.  Then comes the challenge of balancing what the users need out of a CRM system vs. what senior leadership wants to justify system costs.  Below are my thoughts on this topic.

Kinsey’s stab at defining what user’s really need out of CRM  –

  1. Should be able to access the CRM systems through companies existing message and calendaring standard to remove additional authentication or log in time.
  2. Must eliminate need for user driven reporting – my favorite!
  3. Goals & performance should be surfaced at the user level through dashboards.
  4. CRM system interfaces should have some level of personalization.
  5. Entry of data has to be simple and fast.
  6. Each way to access CRM should demonstrate some level of consistency (fat, thin & mobile client)
  7. Performance must be well-tested.
  8. Data should be filtered so I am only working with “my” relevant information and not sifting through yours!
  9. Duplication of data should be addressed prior to system go live…I do not have time to figure out which T, Tom, Timmy and or Timothy is the right record to record my activities against.
  10. Should not be asking users for their list of prospects or important customers that should be added to the holiday card mailing list.  Marketing lists should be dynamic and maintain by the systems.
  11. Sales stage and or probability of a deal pursuit should not require an update by me.  If a sales process has been implemented the CRM system should update automatically when I complete required steps.
  12. Every department that interacts with the customer in any way should be using same CRM platform.
  13. Modification of data fields and forms should be easy to do at the administration level or forget it.
  14. Users had better be able to go offline because we all know that on any given day the janitor just might kicked the plug out of the wall and your internet connection will go down.

I believe that if your organization keeps the mentality of user experience and productivity as a priority you will generate strong user adoption and the gains promised which in turn will drive ultimate return on your investment.

Watch for my next blog on “CRM system training” – why do companies always get low user adoption?

– Tracy