On the face of it, Client Relationship Management (CRM) should be simple: install the software on your machine, learn how to use it as you go and get on with it! However CRM systems are known to have a high failure rate, implementation projects are often not straightforward, can turn out to be expensive or fail to reach their potential.
So why is client relationship management difficult? Is it really that complicated? After all sales people are experts in selling, so surely this translates directly across into an IT (CRM) system?
Well if you look at it another way if you wanted to build a house, would you do it yourself or instead; employ an architect to design it and a builder to construct it?
There are three things that make CRM complicated:
1) CRM is a business strategy; not just a simple downloading of a software tool. It enables sales, marketing and customer service to become better organised and work more closely together. However, this does not come naturally to many sales people are lone wolves who like working on their own and are sometimes not used to sharing what they do with others.
2) The business processes for sales and marketing are not as well established as other functional areas like finance, where accounting standards have existed for years. Every organisation ‘does sales’ slightly differently reflecting different customers and competitive advantages.
3) CRM connects employees to each other and with customers. Often CRM users work in different departments, but use the same information - everyone in a company has an interest in sales! However, this can result in different priorities for the system that need to be taken into account when setting it up.
The upshot of this is that implementing CRM is not straightforward. To compensate it should be introduced thoughtfully by experienced people working alongside your existing team. It needs a well thought out project involving not just the software, but more importantly the way you do things. This combined with the full engagement and training of your staff must be put into place to ensure success.