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I recently read an article in Tech Republic entitled Leverage your CRM to its full potential.  To say I loved it is an understatement. We work on all sorts of CRM projects and this article really “nailed it” for me. But as I always add my two-pennies worth, I thought I would here…

CRM Customer Relationship Management systems (or ATS – Applicant Tracking Systems, or even ERP – Enterprise Resource Planning) are NOT about tech, and they are NOT about software, they are about PROCESS! (apologies for the caps abuse…)

So often we see CRM projects hitting the dirt / taking too long / costing too much money / driving users mad, and all because they are being managed in a technical way.  Symptoms? System installed, but it is not being used effectively.

Process, Process and Process

I know that this type of software needs a technical input – your IT teams really need to be involved in the process for the business to get th thing installed and make sure that the user experience is a positive one, but to simply focus on the system as a complex series of zeros and ones is missing the point.

If you are needing a new CRM, ask yourself, is it really a new PROCESS you need?  And who is going to be using it – what’s their process?

If it’s a new process you need, then funnily enough you need to spend a little time identifying what the process is that you need.  And don’t fall into the trap of simply documenting your current process and looking for something that works better than what you currently have.

Who’s Data is it Anyway?

Unless you have been living in space for the last few years social media has really kicked the butt of CRM (and likewise systems) so now your data is all over the place – and you probably don’t have a practical policy for ensuring that what you assume you own you actually have on your CRM… (What you think is your data and what your sales team thinks is your data are often 2 very different things.)

Lots More Tech

Equally the advent of mobile / cloud tech have created a nice problem for you as data is being collected outside of your systems, and even network, so your traditional ways of backing it up are probably not covering all bases.  (How are you backing up the emails your staff are sending via LinkedIn or Facebook, for example?)

So, what’s my point?

So many of you may be looking to improve your business this year, and you may be thinking that systems should be the main element to focus on (I would say you are right!).  Maybe you haven’t invested in them during recent economic times (fair enough), but please focus on what you need and consider areas that you didn’t need to last time you looked at a project like this – social media, cloud, mobile tech – and THEN look at the process that these bits of tech effect and you’ll have an idea of which direction to move your project.

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