Imagine someone is buying a car simply based on the quality of the dashboard instrumentation. The speedometer is more accurate than an average car, there is a wonderful navigation system that provides the driver with details of their journey, and a number of additional instruments displaying the engine condition. All of this is nicely presented with an attractive design and interface. Now this person takes out the new car for their first ride and it turns out that the car performs poorly. The acceleration is too low to keep up with the traffic. The fuel economy, combined with a small fuel tank, forces the driver to make frequent stops costing valuable time. The exclusive focus on the dashboard led to the purchase of a car with low performance superbly displayed on a fancy dashboard.
How is this example connected to buying a CRM system? While everyone agrees that buying a car like described above is a big mistake and nobody would do it that way, but it is quite common in the CRM business. In many cases a CRM system is implemented to give management more transparency and control over their organization, or because marketing needs data for developing strategies and managing campaigns. These are important requirements in a CRM, no doubt. But is it right to start from there?
Often a CRM system that was selected predominantly based on management needs or analytics or marketing requirements is then imposed on the sales team that had not been sufficiently involved in the actual selection process. Sales people hate this, and the result is a CRM installation which would allow powerful data analytics with an impressive display, but does nothing to provide the results you want to analyze and display – business success.
Sales people hate this and the result is a CRM installation that would allow powerful data analytics with an impressive display if only the data being analyzed and displayed was complete and accurate. But if the data is neglected or incomplete, just like with the car, the dashboard is great and looks nice but the performance is miserable.
And with CRM, it is even worse. In the car, the performance is poor but the measurement of that performance is good. In CRM, both are dismal. The dashboard may look nice but the results it shows are inaccurate or even completely wrong. In such a case, the CRM system doesn´t serve any purpose. It neither helps to improve performance nor does it provide the management with the desired transparency.
The primary purpose of a CRM solution should be the performance improvement of a sales and marketing team and hence an increase in sales and profit. This can only be achieved if all information is logged in a timely, accurate and complete manner. And sales are where this mostly happens. Sales people interact with customers on a daily basis and it is on them to fill the system with relevant data. They will do this if the system gives them support in return for their investment of time and helps them to sell better. This is a win-win situation.
If a CRM system is centered on the sales process and hence provides value to the sales team, sales people will use it and it will almost automatically be filled with valuable data for marketing and management purposes. Filtered and analyzed, this data can be converted into useful Key Performance Indicators and displayed on a well-designed dashboard. Not only the will look better, it be more meaningful and accurate and contribute to business improvement.