Many companies that want to increase their sales or improve their services to existing customers choose to implement a CRM solution. What they often don’t sufficiently realize is that CRM only pays off if everyone who is in contact with customers is willing to change their working methods and be completely transparent in their activities.
Greater chance of winning orders, more loyal customers
In a CRM system, you maintain information about customers and prospects in a single central location. The more information you capture, the easier it becomes for colleagues to take over work from each other and the more data you have to steer the marketing and sales process. This makes things a lot easier for both office and field staff. No more emailing documents back and forth or having to search for information. No more stuff falling between the cracks. The CRM system reminds you to call a customer back or issue a quotation. Follow-up of customer queries is enhanced. And you have much more insight into the sales funnel. In the end, this results in a greater chance of winning orders and garnering more satisfied and loyal customers.
Caught with their trousers down
That’s all great, but these goals can only be achieved if everyone records everything in the system. Not just the deals they closed, but also every customer visit that was unsuccessful, every complaint and every quotation that did not result in an order. Now, the organization can decide for itself who is allowed to view which information and what is protected, but it’s a given that the functioning of all employees with customer contact becomes highly transparent. All employees in marketing, sales and customer service have their work exposed. And that’s quite something. Because while transparency is beautiful in theory, it can of course be terrifying in practice.
For example, you can see how much energy is put into a certain customer and what ultimately comes out of it. On the one hand, that’s nice, because it allows you to manage your pipeline much more efficiently and focus on the best customers instead of the customer who calls you the most often. But it can be a little scary too, because you also get to see which customers you’ve actually been putting too much energy into. Which might not be such a nice thing to hear for the account manager in question.
Working in a structured manner
Another thing to get used to is that everyone has to start working in a uniform, highly structured way. For people who love structure this is a blessing, but for those who are naturally a little more chaotic it takes some getting used to the fact that they have to record everything.
Finally, there is the question: do customers come for the company or for the people they’re used to dealing with? Of course, it caresses an account manager’s ego when customers say they’re what draws them in. But in the end, you want them to be drawn to the company itself. A CRM system helps you achieve that. Because when all the information about a customer is in the CRM system, the value delivered by individual account managers is perhaps less unique than they themselves were always inclined to think. After all, it becomes a lot easier for others to take over their work.
Mindset is the most important success factor
The implementation of a CRM system is therefore not so much an IT project as a project of fundamental change. Everyone must be aware of the importance of transparency. If this mindset is not there, employees won’t properly populate the system, and its value will therefore be limited. So, work on a good mindset first, and trust that the software is doing its job will follow.