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Three Keys to the Success of Any Online CRM Deployment
By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor
Recently Umberto Milletti, founder and CEO, InsideView, posted some thoughts on CRM magazine regarding a successful CRM application. The entire post is well worth reading, a summary follows:
Much to the disappointment of the many companies who have invested in CRM, it often hasn't lived up to the massive productivity gains expected across the customer-facing organization, especially for sales. Nor has CRM delivered on its ultimate promise of "synchronizing" the business processes between two key stakeholders: the sales professional and the target buyer.
This is where the CRM application economy can help transform CRM into the true business-productivity platform it should be. But three key things to keep in mind.
Easy Intelligence. Applying Maslov's hierarchy of needs to business, organizing and automating processes are essential first steps for successful CRM. But while workflow automation can bring in much-needed efficiencies, it will not make customer-facing teams more effective in engaging with those customers. To complicate matters further, buyer expectations are changing dramatically.
Customer 2.0 is a savvy, socially engaged buyer who is much more informed about the companies, people, and products he is considering doing business with. And not surprisingly, this new breed of buyer expects salespeople to be more educated about his business, too. He wants to be engaged in a targeted and relevant conversation about how to solve his specific business challenges and urgent needs, not just receive a generic sales pitch.
Easy Adoption. For CRM to become the ubiquitous platform of productivity — the environment in which customer service, marketing, and sales professionals truly live and breathe — it needs to deliver this intelligence at the point of need: within the workflow. Congruently, if any CRM application is going to succeed, it needs to be developed to integrate directly into this workflow.
From the sales perspective, this means having account, contact, lead, and opportunity windows be transformed from out-of-date activity-tracking and -recording zones into trusted and real-time insights to initiate or accelerate any sales opportunity.
Easy Deployment. The most successful paradigm involves viewing CRM as sort of a loom upon which to weave an infinite number of capabilities, delivered via cloud computing in the form of plug-in applications. Without applications making it a comprehensive platform, CRM is likened to two sticks of wood. But the apps have to be just as easy to deploy as they are to use, both for the sales management personnel and the technology decision-makers. It's one thing to get individuals to adopt a new application, but it's another to make it easy for a supervisor to feel comfortable enough putting it in place for entire teams and departments.
It's a tall order for an application intended to be used by anyone and everyone, but it's the point we've reached in business process, CRM usage, and cloud computing. But it’s possible.
David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.
Edited by Juliana Kenny