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Author Vadim
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Do You Think That It's Time To Implement CRM, But Your Company Isn’t Ready?

Companies invest significant resources in marketing, customer service, order fulfilment, production, project management and other operational activities. Logically, it makes sense to build links between sales records and the effectiveness of these activities.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) it is a system that allows you to manage relationships with the client (the client also means sales channel and channel of promotion of goods and services of the company). In a broad sense, it is a kind of methodology, a tool that allows you to build the relationship of the company with the outside world in a right way, leading to the desired business results. If you look from the point of view of the software, it is an information system that provides storage and management of information, management of relations processes between the company and the outside world.

If formulate simpler, with the help of CRM you can store and manage information about leads, history of interaction with customers, orders, partners, sales channels, sources of transactions, contracts, sales territories, accounts, and in general, everything that concerns the management of business processes of the company and closing transactions. In fact, due to such a variety of customer requirements and existing business models, there is a huge number of proposals on the market called CRM system.

First of all, before implementing a CRM system, it is necessary to understand the processes of your own company and determine the areas of automation that the implemented CRM system should automate.

Why your company may not be ready to implement CRM system?

Successful automation means that business processes have already been created in the company and will be changed in the form of software. If your company does not have established business processes, regulations are not prescribed, then automation can facilitate some work, but it will be rather the semblance that the company has stepped forward in its development. As practice shows, an attempt to automate poorly described, unimportant processes leads to sabotage. Sellers fill in the information only to make the manager receive reports on the " sales funnel " at the end of the reporting period, and in their hands, CRM becomes not a tool that facilitates life, but vice versa.

If you try to automate chaos, you will have a chaos and automated system.

Automation is needed to track data on the work of the sales department, marketing, customer service department, etc. in a convenient format and with saving time, as well as to make management decisions.

First of all, it is necessary to understand and describe what processes should be built, how the teams within the company should interact with each other, in which reports information should be collected to serve the progress in the company, and then begin to search for a CRM solution provider.

You also need to understand that you can implement not only the classic version of CRM, which is more of an accounting system - it keeps a database of potential and real customers and the history of relationships with them, but also a more complex system that is closer in functionality to the BPM system. That is why it is necessary to analyze the possibilities of the integration of the process of customer relationship management with other processes in the company. For example, you can not only track the request from the customer but also automatically invoice him, create a contract on a template at a certain stage of the transaction or control the payment schedule.

In addition, it is worth considering not only the accounting of data but also the automatic management of them. For example, at a certain level of sales, the system automatically transfers the customer to the new conditions of work (additional discount is provided), or a personal manager is assigned to him.

If a new employee has joined the post of General Director of your client's company, the system can automatically notify all employees working with documentation, and if necessary, create a task to obtain the necessary documents from the counterparty (for example, the approval of a large transaction).

It is also necessary to decide how and where you will place the purchased system:

  • You can buy a SaaS model solution.

This is commonly referred to as a cloud solution what is misleading: the cloud is not just what is sold on the SaaS model

  • You can buy a solution for placement on IaaS platforms. 

It will also be a cloud solution, in which you give the infrastructure to the provider, and the administration of the application is up to you or you can transfer this function to the partner.

  • You can also deploy a private cloud, and put the application there. This will also be a cloud solution, but in this case, you will have to administer both the infrastructure and the application itself.

Cloud cover is characterized by the way the application is hosted and the technology that lies beneath it, not by the availability of solution from the Internet; you can go there through a web browser, or it is sold on a subscription model.

When choosing an application, the first thing to consider is how the provider offers a solution, whether there is a possibility to migrate between the SaaS model and the application's location in the public cloud.

When is it necessary to implement CRM system?

If you can not cope with the data. You lose trades or cannot find information on customers, determine the most effective channels of attraction - all of these are the signal that CRM is must-have!

Spreadsheets, stickers with records, notebooks and e-mail will help you perfectly at the stage of the emerging business, but only a flexible automation system can connect everything into a reliable information space, which is convenient to use.

When you are wasting the time of employees inefficiently to enter the same data into different systems. It will be correct if the data is entered into one system and then transferred to other systems using the corporate integration bus. When planning the implementation of CRM, it is necessary to clearly identify systems that are systems with master data and organize integration.

You don't understand how effective sales managers and your sales team are. It is important to be able at any moment to get data on the results of the team (process execution status, sales funnel), regardless of whether the staff in the office or not.

Employees do not have remote access to customer information. On the road, on a business trip or from home – you must have access to any necessary information for the work.

For the organization of e-mail newsletters, employees spend a lot of time. The CRM system allows you to segment customers by various parameters, create intelligent sales territories and organize mailings according to certain rules, which significantly reduces the routine.

Your customer service department does not meet the expectations. It is difficult to win the trust of customers, and if the customer service department is not working at the proper level, you will not be able to keep them and increase the customer lifecycle.

Your marketing and sales teams don't work together. These two teams often blame each other, but it is important that they work in tandem to build the business effectively. A manager should know how much it costs to attract each client, on what transactions it pays off, which channels are most effective. This data allows you to get only simultaneous automation of marketing and sales processes.

Your employees spend a lot of time writing reports. Automation allows you to quickly unload reports on the specified algorithms and the configured schedule.

The company is significantly increasing its staff. It becomes more difficult to manage processes, transparency of activity decreases. Scaling operations are easier when the control model is compact, simple and scalable.

If you are facing serious tasks of client interaction automation, then when choosing a CRM system, you need to take into account not so much the current functionality of the system, as the technological capabilities of the solution for its configuration and refinement, scalability and cost of ownership of the system. An important factor in the success of the CRM system is not so much the presence of classical sales automation functions, as the possibility of the core of process automation, on which the CRM is created.

Modern CRM-systems are designed to automate the work with the client and provide the most convenient service for the consumer. One of the most important tasks of systems of this level is the organization of interaction between divisions of the company at service of the client. For example, in a modern metal trading company, several departments may be responsible for the "quality" sale of products. The sales department is directly responsible for the sale of goods to the customer. Warehouse - for the rapid formation of the team party and direct shipment of goods to the customer. The transport department - for the timely delivery of goods, etc. in other words, several departments are responsible for the quality of customer service in the sales process. If one of them fails, the client may be lost. In practice, it is not easy to coordinate the work of departments serving customers, but today it is vital for any company.
Despite such extensive functionality, the system can work differently in different companies, so it is very important to take into account its industry specifics.

Despite the obvious advantages of the CRM system, its implementation does not always meet the initial expectations of companies. There are several reasons for this. In order to further practical usage, we outline the main difficulties faced by companies in the implementation of CRM-systems.

  1. Before implementing CRM you should make sure that the company is ready for this

In some cases, additional service equipment may be required, which will, in turn, require additional costs. The company must be organizationally prepared to the proposed changes (already described main business processes, and established the procedure for the collection and analysis of information). In this case, the effectiveness of the implementation of CRM-programs will be high. 

  1. Managers do not use the system fully

For example, various price discounts or standard CRM promotions can be sent to customers automatically via email after the promotion or discount comes into effect. In practice, there are often cases when the manager after entering the action into the information system begins to call customers and explain the benefits of the new system of discounts in the company. It is obvious that the effectiveness of such actions of the manager is quite low. In the end, it may be believed that the system does not actually provide significant advantages in working with the client, and the invested resources in its purchase and implementation are beginning to be considered as a waste of money. To change this trend is possible by training sales staff on how to use the advanced functionality of the system. To test the effectiveness of training, it will be useful to introduce a system of certification of students.

  1. Selection errors

Companies that implement CRM often face a number of problems that do not depend on them. 
The reasons for this may be:
surface approach to program selection;
insufficient qualification of personnel when working with databases (some of the required functionality of the program can be simply ignored);
the rate of " autonomy " of the implemented system.

Integration of the system with existing programs in the company gives a powerful synergistic effect, at the same time "single", inconsistent with other systems implementation of CRM minimizes the main benefits of its application.

  1. The implementation phase of a CRM system is long

In some cases, the top management of the company expects "immediate" results, forgetting that the implementation of the CRM system requires patience and adjustment. If the implementation begins to prolong, the management of such a company may well, without understanding the reasons, stop financing this process. In this case, the company is guaranteed to lose both time and money already spent on the implementation of CRM.

  1. In the preliminary calculations, the features of the company are not taken into account

Implementation of CRM-systems is mainly carried out by third-party IT-companies, which can simply "ignore" the organizational and management features of the enterprise. As a result, you may face-silent resistance of the staff who do not want to adapt to the "inconvenient" program or lack of well-established processes of interaction with customers. For effective implementation of CRM, consultants are needed. Only in this case, you can count on the maximum effect of the system.

  1. Staff resistance to the introduction of CRM technologies

Any innovation is always perceived by the staff of the company cautiously, which can lead to additional failures in the work. There can be many reasons for resisting innovations, but the main ones include the complexity and incomprehensibility of the key aspects of the system. This can be overcome by training personnel in new information technologies.

Also, sales staff often just do not want to disclose information about the client because of the fear of losing it. Do not forget about the fears of staff before dismissal in the case of successful implementation of the system. A well-established CRM system increases productivity, so the need for additional staff can really disappear with it. It is possible to eliminate all these difficulties in the implementation of the system if the motivation system is changed in a timely manner. It is necessary to speak openly about the plans and final goals of the changes, actively interest them in sales staff.