3 Ways CRM Improves Your Business Processes

Everybody knows that the use case for CRM. It's in its name, after all: Customer relationship management. But how does that really improve the way your company does business?

By David Taber
Fri, November 01, 2013

CIO — Go to any CRM vendor's website and you'll be inundated with wondrous tales of how the CRM system can transform your business, increasing profitability and customer satisfaction at the same time. Providing executives with a 360-degree view of the customer relationship, enabling real-time responses to myriad customer problems, and improving sales productivity and predictability, all while whitening teeth and freshening breath. The good news is that there isn't a single lie in any one of those websites. (What they say has to be true in some universe, if not the one we inhabit.)

Of course, a CRM system itself doesn't transform anything. It's a piece of code providing visibility, automation and follow-through. What actually will change business performance are the behavior changes in your people and the process improvements enabled by the CRM system.

Buying the best CRM in the world is like buying a Ferrari or Lamborghini. You won't immediately win any races. In fact, by themselves, these cars won't make you a better driver.

Related: How Much Should You Spend on CRM Software?
Also: Why CRM Implementation Needs Training Wheels, Not Racing Gear

Seen in this light, a CRM system can be viewed as a tool that helps you realize your team's potential. It's like buying a better tennis racket or the coolest new skis. If your organization doesn't have the potential to really do what you want — to play tennis, as it were, or to ski — the CRM project merely exposes that.

Think realistically about your organization's readiness and the breadth of how you actually manage and cultivate customer relationships today. There are plenty of business categories that have yet to evolve to need everything that's on the CRM menu. So let's look at the big three CRM use-cases from 50,000 feet.

1. The CRM System As a Smart File Cabinet

In professional services firms and boutique financial services, for example, the main focus of the CRM system is to make sure everyone in the organization knows the history of the relationship. The relationships are long-running, sometimes lasting decades, and there's no classic sales focus.

Continue Reading

Our Commenting Policies