Understanding the Challenges before and after CRM Implementation to Ensure a Fail-proof CRM Implementation
Customer information naturally accumulates in the course of business transactions. And if there is a need to utilize it in connection with business strategies, the first thing to consider is implementing a CRM. However, CRM has different challenges before and after the implementation, and how to solve or avoid them will significantly affect the implementation effectiveness.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a management method that focuses on building a good relationship between a company and its customers and refers to the software that makes this possible.
In this article, I will introduce some of these challenges before and after implementing CRM, and I hope you will find some hints to help you succeed in implementing CRM.
Table of contents:
- Challenges before CRM implementation
- Challenges after CRM implementation
- Thorough review of such an environment before implementing CRM
Challenges before CRM implementation
Implementation goals remain ambiguous
As the CRM management method has become available as an IT product, each vendor provides CRM solutions from various perspectives. This diversity has created a problem: companies' implementation goals remain ambiguous.
There are many cases where companies delusionally believe that CRM is the solution to all of their business problems and decide to implement it without a clear goal in mind.
The important thing is to clarify the relationship issues between the customer and your company, the needs of the sales and marketing, contact center, and service departments, and the expected benefits of CRM, and make the implementation goals clear and visible.
No awareness of end-users
One of the most common reasons for CRM implementation is that managers of sales and marketing departments raise their hands to implement it to enable more advanced customer analysis.
However, CRM is not a simple product to be used only by the department that wants to implement it. The points of contact between companies and customers can be extremely diverse. In most cases, the typical customer contact points are marketing, sales, and contact centers. But there are also more or fewer customer contact points such as maintenance and service departments after product sales; and finance and accounting departments that deal with customers around money.
Even if a specific department asks you to implement a CRM system, you need to create an environment where all the people are involved in the business can share. So, it is necessary to understand who the CRM system is for and who will be using it, and then implement it accordingly.
Understand that CRM implementation does not equal sales improvement
Many business owners may expect CRM implementation to increase sales. The success or failure of CRM depends on whether you have established an operational structure that links the strategy with CRM to realize your business strategy. So, remember that CRM implementation itself does not produce the effects of increasing sales, but how you utilize CRM is the key.
Can't choose a CRM that fits perfectly
It is necessary to choose a product that fits just right, not only for CRM but for all IT products.
However, CRM is a difficult product to find just fit among various IT products. When implementing a system such as financial accounting or production management, it is easy to choose a product that fits your company's needs because the business contents are clear and concise.
CRM, however, is a management method that is not originally part of the organization, so you will be implementing the system before establishing the management method. So, it is not easy to choose a just-fit CRM because it tends to seek high functionality.
Challenges after CRM implementation
Make a detailed operation plan.
As mentioned above, CRM tends to have vague implementation goals compared to other IT products. So, it is quite necessary to have a detailed operational plan after the implementation. If this is not clear, the CRM will become just a customer database, and you may not be able to maximize its effectiveness.
Create a mechanism to measure the cost-effectiveness
With a financial accounting system, by implementing it, you can perform the work that you have done with Excel documents on the system, and you will realize that your work efficiency has improved. Other IT products are much the same, but CRM is different. CRM does not systemize processes, which are essential for carrying out business in the first place but is a product for systematically implementing CRM management methods. As a result, it is often difficult to determine whether CRM is properly functioning or not. And companies that have implemented CRM often say that they cannot see the cost-effectiveness. It is necessary to create a mechanism for measuring the cost-effectiveness of CRM, and setting clear effect indicators will lead to sales improvement and customer satisfaction improvement from various perspectives to solve this problem.
Get the understanding from the sales department
Many salespeople manage customer information independently, and they shy away from implementing systems such as CRM and SFA (Sales Support System) that require a lot of input of customer information. Because from the salesperson's point of view, the increase in inputting work makes them feel that they are adding extra work. So it is necessary to make people understand that customer information entered into CRM is not used for the upper management or marketing department but rather for acquiring sales prospects and improving customer satisfaction. In this way, even if they feel it is a bit troublesome, they will start to use the CRM system to increase sales and gradually realize its benefits.
Add continuous improvement
After the implementation, many CRMs are left unattended and left to users. Of course, this is not enough to satisfy the business needs.
As you use CRM, the level of user expectation increases, and as your business grows, you will need more functions. So after the CRM implementation, it is necessary to conduct regular user interviews, conduct objective evaluations, and then expand the functionality of CRM in line with business needs and business growth. Also, there are cases where the operation does not go well after the implementation of CRM. However, since there is a customer management base called CRM, you can gradually bring out the effect by reviewing the consistency with the operational structure and business strategy.
Thorough review of such an environment before implementing CRM
The two most important things to pay attention to when implementing CRM are the company business strategy and departmental silos.
CRM is an IT product that can only be effective if integrated with business strategies and operational structures. But there are many environments where a company business strategy does not exist in the first place. However, even if the management and upper management have a clear business strategy, it may not be spread to every corner of the organization, so it is necessary to reconfirm and formulate the business strategy.
One of the characteristics of companies is that instead of managing the business as a whole, each department has its management system. As a result, IT systems are becoming very siloed, and each department has completely different IT products and master data.
However, CRM is an enterprise solution and only makes sense if it is used company-wide. Nonetheless, a siloed organizational environment does not promote CRM and reduces its effectiveness by half. Therefore, you need to take the opportunity of CRM implementation to remove barriers between departments or to operate the consolidated customer database with different interfaces for each department.
When aiming for success in customer relationship management with CRM, it is necessary to cover these pre-implementation and post-implementation issues and solve them one by one for success.