When Should You Implement CRM?

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CRM, customer serviceIf you’ve been paying attention to The Mission Suite Blog this week you can probably already guess how we feel about CRM. It is an incredibly important development in marketing, and has changed the way that brands interact with customers forever. However, just for the sake of argument let’s take a look at the talking points for and against implementing CRM for your business.

To start, let’s quickly review what CRM is and how it will affect your day-to-day business operations.

CRM, at its core, is how your business interacts with customers in order to keep them engaged and (hopefully) to also keep them buying from you. If you are worried about CRM entailing some massive software package or IT infrastructure, stop. Chances are that you already have a rudimentary form of CRM in place, if you choose to utilize software it will simply make the whole CRM process simpler.

So what, exactly, does CRM do? Well, CRM can do a wide variety of very helpful things: from managing leads and tracking and measuring marketing campaign performance, to setting up appointments. An effective CRM system will basically act as a personal assistant for the marketer or salesperson, doing all of the heavy lifting so they can focus on more important aspects of their job.

The point where many new CRM adopters get cold feet is when it comes time to implement a CRM “system.” This normally refers to a software package that is designed to aid in all of multiple functions of CRM. Some business owners worry that the fancy new software will change their whole business, while others think that just buying the software means they are practicing effective CRM. Neither is true.

CRM and its accompanying tools are there to accentuate what you and your marketing team are already doing every day. The best kind of CRM is simply an extension of you, it is their to ease your workload and streamline your process so that you can focus on being the most effective and creative marketer or salesperson that you can be. No matter how fancy and expensive your CRM system is, if there aren’t good people behind it, it won’t do you any good at all.

Let’s take a look at some numbers. A study in 2003, in the early stages of CRM, discovered that almost $2 billion in CRM software was sitting around, unused. Another study conducted five years later in 2007 determined that the biggest problem managers faced with CRM was actually getting staff to use the installed systems.

This means that a great deal of money is being thrown out the window on CRM because, for the variety of reasons I mentioned, people are still hesitant to implement it.

So does your business need CRM?

The answer lies with you. CRM gives back what you put into it. If you are a creative, consummate and open-minded marketer or salesperson who is looking for a way to become even more effective on the job, then CRM will be great for you. So before you implement a new CRM system be sure that your strategy is in order, and you’ll be enjoying the benefits of CRM in no time.

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