CRM is an incredibly powerful solution for many organizations. It has been around for decades and during that time it has grown and branched out to support many different areas of business like field service and social listening. Once the decision has been made to integrate a CRM solution into your business, what's the next step? How do you get started?
At DPT, the answer is simple. We walk every client through a thorough process to determine their unique needs and goals and assess what resources they can devote to this project.
Define Your Success in Business Terms | Choosing to implement CRM is a big decision for many companies. There can be a lot of pressure to justify the cost and labor involved, especially for project leaders. To mitigate this, DPT meets with key stakeholders and listens to what they want CRM to accomplish in business terms, not software functionality. We also note their concerns, pain points, and any issues that may need to be addressed down the road.
Get the Lay of the Land | Whether it's analytics, marketing automation, or tracking different touch-points with clients--every business has a unique set of needs that they want CRM to address. Key stakeholder interviews give us a clearer picture of what our clients want and this step helps us determine how we can provide it for them. We analyze time constraints, cost, skills, people, and other available resources.
Plan For Change | Switching to a new CRM is a process and there are always staff members who resist the change. It's important to have a realistic plan in place so your team can know how to better manage the transition. We'll help you find the right balance between the "carrot and the stick" for your organization.
Deal with Your Dirty Data | Your organization has a lot of data and the fact is not all of it is clean. During this phase, DPT determines what it will take to integrate or transfer your data to useful information in CRM. This includes evaluating data quality, building a security plan to ensure your information stays secure, and determining how long the migration will take.
Draw a Roadmap | It’s common for companies to have a laundry list of things they’d like to use CRM for, but it’s impossible to attempt everything all at once. Instead, DPT will work with your team to identify which items are the most urgent and which can wait until later. Then, we'll build a step-by-step plan to introduce these changes gradually. This will help ensure that users become comfortable with and accustomed to the new system at a reasonable pace.
Take the Next Step | After all of the evaluating and planning listed above, DPT will put together recommendations on what to tackle first. Think of this as a summary of the steps above. Your team will be presented with the roadmap, cost, and timeline for the highest value functionality. If your organization chooses to move forward with the project, then you're well on your way to implementing CRM!
CRM is a powerful tool for your business, but it's also very dependant on its users. It's not a project that can be completed and checked off the to-do list. Instead, it needs to be maintained in order to stay effective.
These five tips will help it be just that:
Want to know more about making CRM work for your business? Let’s talk. Contact us today.
A robust Customer Relationship Management solution (CRM) may not be at the top of most nonprofits’ wish lists, but it really should be. Whether they’re volunteers, donors, or those receiving services, nonprofits thrive on good, two-way relationships with their constituents. Doesn’t it make sense to invest in them? The returns can be huge--saved time and money, simplified daily operations, more effective outreach.
How CRM can give nonprofits a leg up:
While for-profit companies have been using CRM for years, many nonprofits haven’t taken advantage of it yet. This is especially unfortunate because they actually have greater potential to benefit from implementing CRM than their for-profit counterparts. Based on the fact that so many of the people they interact with fill multiple roles, the impact of creating an efficient, accurate database to track and interact with them is much bigger. It fosters clear communication which ultimately means the nonprofit can serve more people.
That’s a win-win in our book.
If you’d like to learn more about how your nonprofit can leverage CRM to drive strong relationships and further its mission, contact us. We’d love to show you a free demonstration.
Your sales team has mastered the pipeline and opportunity management portion of your new CRM solution and sales have been on a steady increase for an extended period of time. Until recently. Sales have flat-lined with a very real fear they may actually start to show a downward trend. Worse yet, the marketing and sales teams are at odds with one another as to how to solve the problem. Apparently, in an attempt to keep up with the Sales team, Marketing has been flooding the sales pipeline with, shall we say, less than high quality leads. Marketing is frustrated that the Sales team is ignoring hot leads while the Sales team has all but given up trying to figure out which leads are worth following up on!
Let’s take a moment to review the events that may have led to the above scenario.
A number of organizations implement a CRM solution due to the growing pains that often follow increased sales and the subsequent demands it puts on the sales and support teams. At some point in time, without streamlining and scaling the sales process, the stress and strain of the sales volume can bring a team to its knees. An effective CRM solution can bring standardization, automation and increased visibility to the sales process which in turn can relieve many of the pain points and permit the sales team to focus their energies once again on closing sales.
The result? A new pain point; the Sales team needs more qualified leads, and the Marketing team needs a more effective way to nurture and qualify leads for the Sales team. If only there was a “CRM” for Marketing.
Enter Automated Marketing!
What’s the next step to improving the management of your sales prospects and increasing your lead conversion ratio? Streamlining and standardizing your marketing processes should be your next step to increasing not only the number of leads in your sales pipeline, but the efficiency of nurturing and the quality of those leads as well.
Automated marketing techniques have been around since the ‘80’s. The simple task of automatically inserting a name on an envelope or letter was one of the first, of many, mundane tasks a marketing automation tool performed. Today’s automated marketing tools do so much more than personalize communications. Wouldn’t you like to know that your emails are being opened? Or who is visiting your website, how often they visit, what they look at and how often?
Per our DPT mantra, before you focus on the tools you need to develop your Marketing Automation processes and strategy before defining which tool is the best part of your overall CRM strategy. Whatever Marketing Automation tool you use, your processes and strategies need to be integrated into your CRM strategy to enable your Sales and Marketing teams to work more effectively together.
Common functions include:
Much in the same way that your CRM has improved the effectiveness of your Sales team, Marketing Automation strategies and processes can help your Marketing team focus their efforts on nurturing a warm lead into a hot lead that any Sales team would love to follow-up on and close!
Have you heard of the CRM Death Spiral? Maybe you’ve experienced it. Over time, people stop using CRM because it doesn’t work for them, the data isn’t meaningful, and they don’t have the training and processes in place to know when and how to use it. So they gradually stop keeping it up to date. When this happens, the reliability and usability of the data decreases even more, which leads to less confidence in the CRM solution, which leads to less use of the solution… and the cycle continues.
If you want to get your CRM back on track, or are wondering how to get started with CRM the right way, here’s a look at the top five CRM success factors to help you avoid the Death Spiral:
CRM strategies are more likely to fail if compelling reasons for adoption aren’t provided to all users. For example, most sales people believe CRM is “big brother software” instead of a solution to help maximize their selling time and close more deals. Proper CRM strategic planning and design should provide obvious and clear value to the end users – to be more efficient and effective, AND to management – to enable better decision making.
Many CRM projects that fail are driven by a “load the software, train the users, and we are done” mentality, which severely limits chances for success. This approach ignores the potential for users to revert back to past practices. Successful CRM takes a comprehensive approach that promotes user adoption, best practices, and continuous improvement.
Selecting a software package first will lead most CRM projects right to failure. Likewise, defining processes and functionality before aligning the strategic drivers and measurements will also lower success rates. The proper sequencing of business strategy alignment, process standardization, requirements definition and tool selection is a key factor in determining success.
“What gets measured gets done.” This philosophy applies to CRM via management of sales (close ratios), marketing (campaign ROI), and customer service (resolution efficiency). Without an accurate compass CRM projects can drift away from what is truly important. Properly tied to business drivers, metrics are the necessary feedback component that drives improvement.
Scope control is important. Well-intentioned projects can go awry with trying to take on the world or focusing too narrowly on a small piece of functionality. Use of proven Project Leadership techniques for effective scope, stakeholder, and resource management will increase the odds of success with CRM.
Comparing CRM and ERP solutions is like looking at the difference between apples and oranges. Depending on the business problem you’re trying to solve, it may make sense to pick an apple or an orange – or in most cases – both. While ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) standardizes and automates the back-end functions of a business, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) supports the “front office” functions by collecting customer information to grow a business through increased sales, higher retention rates, and better customer service. Essentially – while there certainly is crossover – ERP helps you run your business efficiently, while CRM helps you grow your business.
Why wouldn’t I just use the CRM module of my ERP or an accounting system add-on?
CRM and ERP require a very different approach to each strategy and solution. As with a car needing both an engine and transmission to drive, most companies need ERP and CRM to grow effectively – they serve different, but critically valuable purposes. Another way of thinking about the difference is how you sell and market your services as compared to the processes you use to deliver them. Each area requires different approaches, skill sets, techniques, and more.
A good CRM strategy follows a “flexible processes driving technology” approach, whereas ERP typically comes with embedded predefined processes. Most cross functional processes utilize information from both systems. However, CRM is usually a consumer and producer of customer information, but ERP is typically only a consumer. The table below highlights a few of the other differences:
Manages customer interactions and touchpoints
Manages operational information
Benefits – Increased sales, service levels, customer acquisitions/retention
Benefits – Lower costs, growth scalability, compliance
Primary interface for customer facing staff
Primary interface for Operations staff
Requires flexibility to model complex customer relationships
Requires high level of standardization for efficiency
Supports “Owning the customer experience” approach
Supports efficient information management and access
Why do I need to hire a CRM specialist?
Sticking with the car analogy, if the transmission on your car goes out, do you go to a general auto shop or a transmission specialist? What this means is that getting the most out of your CRM means hiring someone that has specific CRM experience and approach to make it useable, provide value, and help your people see the need for using it. Most IT vendors and accounting firms trying to implement CRM the same way as ERP would be like hiring the general auto shop. Adoption is one of the biggest hurdles to CRM success – and ultimately, the ability to grow your business. Hiring the right CRM partner can make all the difference.
While most organizations recognize their need for ERP, they don’t necessarily see the need to have a separate CRM solution. As a partner to many Michigan-based companies, DPT helps evaluate your unique CRM success factors and create a solution that works. Contact us to start a conversation.
According to “Think Round,” by Martha Pease, 90% of most organizations’ staff do not touch a customer, however, they strongly influence the customer experience.
In our previous video, we talked about how CRM helps store and benefit your customer-facing staff in sales, marketing, and service areas. Today we’ll dive into how that same Voice of the Customer information can benefit people who don’t directly touch the customer:
It's about more than just communication preferences and data you're already collecting. Watch a 90 second video to learn how to leverage CRM and CRM processes to provide additional value to your customers through better marketing strategies, service strategies, and all other customer touchpoints:
This year our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) event topic, “The CRM Feud,” came from feedback at previous events, as well as DPT client observations. That feedback showcased the internal struggle between the bombardment of new CRM trends and functionality, versus the need to continue with more fundamental process and internal efficiencies. This struggle highlights the need to include both short term wins and long term plans and roadmaps for effective CRM strategy.
In a nutshell, while new trends and technology are often what initially attract people to CRM, the practical improvements are what sell it to the organization to move forward. Both are necessary, but each type of improvement caters to a different set of stakeholders.
A couple of examples are in order. One of the hottest current trends is implementing social CRM because prospects and customers are now interacting with companies in more channels than ever before through texting, blogs, and social media. The need to capture those conversations and proactively engage in them is within the realm of CRM functionality, however, the need to have a solid core CRM strategy and solution prior to attempting to manage all of the social CRM channels is critical. You need the car chassis and frame before adding on the slick paint job and wide tires. Additionally, the rate of growth of using the other social communication channels is tremendous and companies need to be able to handle those within the same CRM approach and solution.
On the flip side, the practical process and service improvements gained through CRM are key to getting user buy-in as well as time savings for team members to drive higher value add activities such as attracting and retaining new customers. For instance, reducing a sales person’s need to fill out reports and spreadsheets or attend weekly sales meetings can be huge in terms of time savings to focus more time on prospecting and selling. Eliminating “spreadsheet”-based information silos regarding key customer information reduces the time needed to search for and access the information, as well as improves the confidence that the information is correct by creating a single “source of truth.”
For clarity, we’re not advocating a choice for one (embrace trends) or the other (implement process improvements) – you need both. It’s more of an issue of timing, planning, company culture, work sequencing, and laying out a vision and roadmap to reach your goals.
Want to learn more about how other organizations deal with the struggle? Come to The CRM “Feud” on October 15. Learn from National Heritage Academies, Paws With A Cause, and Great Lakes Health Connect as they share their successes and struggles on their CRM journey.
In our previous nonprofit post we outlined four areas in which a nonprofit can benefit by leveraging for-profit business strategies and tactics. Now we will share some key points from a recent presentation we did at the West Michigan Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFPWM). Specifically, we will talk about how you can create an environment that allows you to manage ALL of your relationships with people, not just the donors.
Typically, nonprofits have a high level of sophistication around the processes and systems used to manage donor related information and activities. After all, this is the life blood and often what fuels the nonprofit to deliver on its mission. It is also common that other functions across the organization do not coordinate well with processes, donor management systems and data. Similar to what happens in a for-profit organization, functional “silos” result in many different special purpose systems and processes being maintained. No matter the cause, this results in your nonprofit team not being able to effectively coordinate to manage relationships at an organizational level.
Here are some indicators that your nonprofit may need to think about a new way to manage relationship information:
For-profit businesses solve these challenges with a CRM or Customer Relationship Management strategy and solution. In this context CRM is beyond a “system”, but instead a way to organize and manage the information and processes connecting your nonprofit with the people and organizations that are important to your mission. For most nonprofits, this could include volunteers, donors, clients, boards or steering committees, sponsoring organizations, foundations, benefactors, etc.
CRM solutions provide much more depth and value than maintaining your individual or organizational records. It also provides one “source of truth” for managing the entire relationship with the person or organization – no matter how simple or complex. The robust relationship, communication and task management functionality that for profit organizations have leveraged from CRM for many years in their sales and customer services processes can also be leveraged in a nonprofit. With it, you can:
CRM solutions are not cookie cutter. While the points above are generalized – the exact benefits that your nonprofit would receive are specific to your unique situation and mission. Whether or not you already have a well-defined donor management process and information system, CRM can allow your organization to more effectively manage all of the important relationships beyond just donors.
Next up in our nonprofit blog series…… ROI for nonprofits?