Why you will first need to gain buy-in from Senior Management

The organisation you work for has existed for years; it has successfully swerved recessions, downturns, wars and civil unrest and still it’s in business. The senior management team continues to reflect on how they learn from past experience and make business decisions based on information from spread sheets and a variety of archaic bespoke systems built over periods of time.

In previous job roles you have worked with a lot of management teams; some who have adopted CRM, some who did not. Your own experience has shown that CRM is a philosophy which gives enhanced sales opportunities, gain higher customer satisfaction levels and their loyalty. You see the benefit in CRM and wish it to be adopted into this business.

When you are invited to the senior management meeting to present the business case to invest in a CRM product you will carry your experience, enthusiasm and knowledge to drive the proposal forward.

So why do they not see the benefit in the CRM?

• For a start there is the cost It’s not cheap and unless you’re going to employ someone to develop and deploy a CRM product you are going to have to find a specialist company. That can run into a figure that will scare off most senior management.

• Previous failed attempts. There is a fair chance that the organisation has already spent money on systems in the past that started as the panacea to all their data problems but proved not to be.

• The current system of spreadsheets and databases do the job, and a “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it” approach is adopted. This is even though someone spends a few hours a day copying and pasting data from one place to another so they can produce all the required end of week reports.

• The staff all know how to use the current systems. They don’t wish to go through another change management project and training having to learn a new product and new processes.

• All the sales reporting is in place. Senior Management know their sales team are doing ok because orders keep coming in. What they don’t know is that 90% of the sales are coming from 10% of the sales staff.

• They already have an efficient marketing process. The marketing department must be doing well; they recently set up a marketing campaign where an email shot to 22,500 potential clients was sent from their email list in Excel. Management were not told that half the emails didn’t reach the emailed person as their email details were out of date; from the rest, only 350 of the emails were eventually opened producing zero income.

• Customer complaints are at an all-time low, so customers must be happy with the service. Actually the customer services database they purchased two years ago stopped working so everything is now recorded in Excel. As a result the Customer services standards are not correctly reported upon.

Firstly, what are the reasons why you need a CRM?

When you start to look at the common issues your organisation has with making more sales, delivering better customer services and manages more focused marketing campaigns there will be a number of common elements. One of the key strategies which organisations use to address these issues is to deploy Customer Relationship Management. This strategy is usually the correct answer and deployed correctly the investment should very soon start to pay off. The irony is that most organisations have gone through this process and deployed a CRM system which, at the time, had the vision of sorting out all those problems, but as time progressed the CRM system started to creak. The staff referred to it by a nickname and departments were starting to find work a rounds by using other systems or returning back to spreadsheets. At this stage a CRM has lost its advantage and the vision has all but been lost.

Let’s examine the reason you wanted to deploy a CRM in your organisation.

• The data is shared across your organisation. A customer enquiry about one part of your business can soon turn into a prospect for another part.

• You have one set of data for each customer. As soon as you have a duplicate record there is the chance that information can be added to the wrong record and is never seen by anyone who can use it.

• Impress your customers with your knowledge of them. Opening a customer call with an “ice breaker” shows you took interest in your customer as a person during your last call. Knowledge of spouses or child’s name, football team or hobby is an effective way to win trust and build a relationship.

• Tracking activity on your prospects, opportunities or goals. This allows you to make decisions on when to talk to your customers and what to talk to them about.

• Setting reminders on future activity. If you tell your customer you will call them at 11am on Tuesday they will be waiting for that call. If you don’t make that call you could jeopardise an opportunity and lose business to your competitors.

• Querying the data to product prospect lists. If you have not had contact with a prospect for a few months, not even a “Hello”, there is a chance a competitor can sneak in and take your business. You can produce a list of prospects you have not called for a month and systematically contact them and remind them who you are and what you do.

• Management can see “real time” statistics. Thus allowing them to make business level decisions. “Who is our biggest prospective client?”, “Who are our most profitable sales teams?”, “Which marketing campaigns produced the most yields?” These cannot be accurately measured without correct data.

• Reduction in repetitive manual tasks. The automation within a CRM should allow your staff to spend less time on administration and more time making greater profits for your organisation.

So go buy a CRM!

You have got the ok from your senior management team to source a new CRM and have been given the job to Project Manage the process. The budget was tight but you researched the market and identified a product based on the products website and its cost. Your find a reputable supplier, chat to the salesperson, sign up a local IT company to install your shiny new CRM system and deploy it across your network, well done!

After three months you are called into a senior management team meeting to report on the CRM. You’re asked to prepare reports and data from the CRM on various sales and marketing activity.
That’s when you start to notice all is not quite right.

You were asked to produce analysis on the revenue increases against the company projections. According to the figures you get off the CRM only a few sales have been made over the last quarter resulting in very low revenues. To check your data you arrange a meeting with the sales manager who told you –

“We haven’t got time to put information into that CRM, we have got sales to make and targets to reach”.

Another report required from Senior Management is the satisfaction report from the customer services department. Senior management wanted to see a breakdown of case resolution times against the service level agreement. Fortunately your Customer Services department adopted the CRM and were fully using it as their case management system. Unfortunately, one of the key fields you needed to analyse this data does not exist. The CRM records the time and date the case was opened but not when closed, you are therefore unable to report on this either.

Customer loyalty and retention was another key report required by senior management. During the CRM rollout a data import phase was conducted to get your old data and to bring it into the CRM. What did not happen is a full analysis of the data post import, for some reason 22,000 records have gone missing and of those which remain there are 9,000 duplicate records. At this stage you don’t know which of these customers are existing, new or even if they are just prospects.

A further problem which you are still trying to resolve is that the CRM will not work with your email system. The CRM deployment company are blaming the email provider and the email providers are blaming the CRM company. The only way to solve the problem is to hire a software development company to bridge the gap and allow the products to interact. Without this you have two of your mission critical IT key products working in isolation of each other.

All in all, things have not exactly gone to plan. When you looked for a product you were faced with a plethora of CRM products and options. They all looked good and ticked all the boxes, but why are you now in a situation where your Senior Management team are questioning the product and your project delivery?

Deployment is the Key

Our project manager is now in a position where the project went wrong. Is it the product? Is it the IT Company? Is it the IT manager? Is it a complete lack of experience? The answer is probably all of these.

When looking at a CRM product there are a number of key elements you need to be asking.

• Why do you need it? You will need a full business case which identifies the reasons for a CRM deployment and which will highlight the benefits of a deployment. This should result in a document which will be a key driver to the implementation and will also be the reasons you gain the buy in from your Senior Management team.

• What you need? Once the benefits of deployment have been identified you have to find a product which matched the requirements. There are some CRM products which can be obtained for free, some will charge large monthly fees, others can be brought off the shelf. CRM’s can be hosted on your servers, hosted by the CRM supplier or remotely by a third party. There is a lot to consider and a lot of people to help you but you must ensure you are talking to the correct one.

• Do you need to get advice? You may choose not to employ a CRM consultant to guide you through the products and deployment options, after all you have an IT department don’t you. CRM consultants are experts not only in the product but in how CRM is applied. A consultant will understand the business requirement and propose a recommendation based on their vast experience of CRM. Most CRM consultants are technically minded so can interact with your IT team to recommend deployment options and products. CRM experts tend to specialise their skills on a few products if not just one, this way they can be assured the product they are recommending will completely match the business requirement.

• Can the CRM adapt to match future requirements. Today’s CRM can quickly become yesterday’s CRM if it does not allow changes in line with future changes in the business. CRM’s should adapt to change allowing for the data to be made available in different ways for future needs. In this way the initial choice of product is key to future success. Most CRM’s will allow for minor alterations but some CRM products will not allow for any significant changes you may require in the future. You could find yourself in a position where you are having to buy a new system and have the expense of making a connection between that and your CRM.

• Will it integrate with my current IT. Your IT is an important part of the business so if you’re new CRM system will not integrate you going to have problems. At a minimum you need to be able to integrate your CRM with your back office for email, word processing and spreadsheets. Even better is to link to your accounts software, mass marking processes and for it all to be available to your mobile teams via laptops, tablets, smart phones.

• Will employees understand and use it? You will need to ensure employees use the CRM, if they don’t the system is dead. Training is an important element of deployment, untrained staff will not use the CRM in the way it was designed and will soon find workarounds, and this will guarantee the data will go out of date. An important part of training is to instil to the users the importance of the CRM to the business and what the outcomes their parts will demonstrate. If users understand it and see the benefits chances are they will use it. So a bespoke training schedule backed up by experts on the ground and CRM “Champions” will give the usability a better chance and the deployment a greater success probability.

The success of the CRM is dependent on you getting the right advice and the right product. Moreover, the deployment of the CRM is critical. The world’s best CRM consultant and the top CRM package are of no use if the delivery of the CRM has shortfalls.

Deployment is therefore the third important element. Correct CRM deployment will delivery all the initial, medium and long term benefits you required. The product will be delivered to match the organisation requirements and will very soon start to achieve the benefits highlighted in the business case. The CRM will also be deployed in a manner that all future requirements will be easily added. It’s this deployment philosophy that ensures that the CRM will remain current today and tomorrow and will match the business change.

Correct deployment ensures that the users understand how it works as well as its importance in the business. CRM’s are a method which requires interaction from a number of different people. Ensuring each one is comfortable with what they are doing and why they are doing it can do no harm.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

As highlighted before, the product is only part of the story but the right product is an important component. Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s have been around for a number of years but it is only fairly recently that this product has reached it true potential. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 is the latest version of this product, and with it comes the backing of one of the largest software companies in the world who are pumping billions into its product growth.

Key features of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

• Data integration from any other data sources either by data import or data joining

• Integration with Outlook, Word, Excel, Sharepoint and a number of other software packages such as Sage accounts, Mailchimp and Eventbite

• As a Microsoft product it provides a familiar user experience, this is key for user buy in

• It can be customised to align to existing business processes

• It’s fully customisable for any future business change requirements

• Out of the box sales, marketing and customer service functions and processes

• Built in Workflows to automate repetitive manual tasks

• Dynamics CRM provides an easy to use reporting suite and displays up-to-date information on a series of graphical dashboards

• Multi deployment options – Local, on-demand or third party

• Access to the data on the move via iPad, smartphones, tablets

Whilst Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 offers a lot of the features which are found in other CRM’s; the key to its advantage is integration. There is a fair chance that your back office uses Microsoft Office for its day to day requirements. The integration between CRM Dynamics and all of the Office programs, especially Outlook, is seamless. This product allows users to access the full power of their CRM from Outlook to give a central program for all customer communication and liaison. Other CRM’s will connect to Microsoft Office but this is via connectors not written by Microsoft. If Microsoft chooses to change a cross-connection protocol they will ensure it will work for all their own products, all third part connectors will need to be adapted to take the change.

Then there is the cost. The on-demand version of Dynamics CRM 2013 is currently only £42.40 per user per month*. For this you get Dynamics CRM 2013 without the need to upgrade any of your IT infrastructures. All you need is an internet connection and a browser. You also get the full Dynamics suite as part of your subscription, not a cut down cheaper version with bits missing which you have to pay more for. There are some wonderful CRM systems to look at, but when you look at the compatible offer against the other high end CRM products Dynamics CRM 2013 is very competitive.

Arkom CRM

The delivery partner is important for the reason highlighted above. CRM delivery has given rise to a lot of new company’s which specialise in a number of different CRM products. It is important to get the specialist delivery pathway for your chosen product, most CRM venders have a delivery methodology which the delivery partner should adopt.

Arkom’s CRM department deliver the full Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 package following Microsoft’s own delivery scheme. This is a phased delivery to ensure the benefits of the product match the requirements of the business for today and into the future.

• Phase 1 – Envisaging. Understanding and learning the business requirements and required outcomes. This phase also encapsulates the consultative elements by suggesting different CRM 2013 integration products.

• Phase 2 – Development. This takes the core “out of the box” Dynamics product and turns it into the business centric CRM to take your business forward. All the configurations are undertaken resulting in a finalised product.

• Phase 3 – Data Migration & Delivery. Taking all the data from other sources and combining it within the Dynamics CRM. Populating the forms with the correct data will enable your teams to get up and running quickly.

• Phase 4 – Training & Support. Ensuring your teams know how to use the system is only part of training. Installing the importance of why they are using this system is equally as important. Users buy in and understandings are vital for the success of a CRM delivery project. When further help is required having a knowledgably person to help reinforces the quality of the product and the delivery.

Arkom has a clear path for successful Dynamics CRM deployments through an offer.

Arkom CRM will –

• Provide CRM consultancy based on experience and evidence

• Collaborate, listen and understand

• Develop a compelling CRM solution

• Work with you to achieve the right outcome

• Train you staff

• Give ongoing support

• Continue to review and develop your CRM with new ideas and perspectives

Help and advice

John Wiseman,
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Consultant.
Arkom Limited, Aizelwoods Mill, Nursery Street, Sheffield, S3 8GG
Tel - 0844 375 0742
Email – John.wiseman@arkom.co.uk
Web - www.arkom.co.uk/dynamics-crm

* Licence price current as of 16/05/2014.