The true value of any CRM implementation lies in its ability to provide data to processes across other systems, both internal and external, making it a solution rather than a tool. As suppliers and customers communicate with your company across more services, it’s vital to be able to access this information, but integrating so many diverse touchpoints can be time-consuming and complex.
As a result, rather than the traditional feature-based approach to choosing a CRM vendor, you might have better results by choosing a CRM based on its ability to integrate with your business processes.
What Is CRM For?
The question is, “what is a CRM for?” This is more complex that it first appears, as the CRM is a tool which can be used in different ways by different people. That’s the trap many first-time (and indeed many others) CRM customers fall into: looking at the CRM implementation from the perspective of one type of business user, or only superficially considering how it affects others. For example:
CRM systems’ dashboards provide an excellent way for management to get a sense of what is happening in sales. Management can track opportunities, run forecasts, and even see differences in the way salespeople work. The problem is that this information may not be helpful, and can easily lead to a data-focused micromanagement view. One company I did consultancy for used its management dashboard to track how frequently salespeople logged into the system, in order to encourage adoption. That’s not very useful if you’re trying to force sales to use a tool they either don’t understand or doesn’t add value. Also, this is only a small part of the bigger picture, and ideally management should be able to see the big picture which often requires data to be pulled frommultiple systems.