Perfecting Service Management

Issue #106

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Addressing the Realities of (Sales) CRM Implementations (Part 2)  By Craig Bailey

In our last newsletter, we initiated the series on Addressing the Realities of (Sales) CRM Implementations. The first article contrasted the differences between Service and Sales implementations, outlining a key challenge that MUST be overcome, namely sales force adoption. A major factor in achieving sales force adoption is ensuring that they (the sales force) and all other stakeholders truly understand the value of CRM. In this article, we will share the value of CRM for key stakeholders including:

  • The Sales Representative
  • The "rest of" the Corporation
  • The Customer

Value of CRM to the Sales Rep
In a recent conversation with a Sales Rep about what he felt was the value of CRM, he quickly responded by indicating that the CRM system provides several key benefits that he couldn't live without.

  1. A central location for customer-related information. As a result I am clearly more organized because I have:
    • less scattered paper;
    • access to historical information so that I can recall what I did several weeks or months ago with a specific account;
    • the ability to review other interactions my customer has had with my company;
    • the ability to review other products my customer has purchased from us;
    • the ability to review issues my customer has experienced with my company and our products and services.
  2. Ability to identify deviations from the customer's ordering pattern. And, at the end of month or quarter it is easy for me to determine when a customer didn't place their order. As a result, I can take appropriate action to make sure I make my numbers!
  3. I can submit literature fulfillment and mail merge requests and not get bogged down in the administrative steps of letter writing and mailings.
  4. Finally, it enables me to better manage my manager. That is, as long as I keep the system up-to-date with my forecast and activities my manager has the information he needs and I can focus on selling.

The above are just a few of the value statements provided directly from a field Sales Rep.

Value of CRM for the Corporation

The "rest of" the corporation derives benefit from CRM, including:

  1. Marketing is able to evaluate the success and value of marketing programs.
  2. R&D can determine if new products are being discussed with customers and prospects.
  3. The business can better quantify, influence and support the forecast.
  4. Data can be converted into useful decision making information so that management can respond to market needs and changes, and more effectively allocate and align resources.

In the end, more of the organization can get a full picture of what's going on with all customers, and thus what is going on for the company.

Value of CRM for the Customer

We have worked with NUMEROUS organizations on CRM-related initiatives, and the number one thing that we hear from the end-customer (prior to CRM implementation) is: "Every time I speak with someone from that company it seems like I am talking to a completely different firm. The right hand simply does not know what the left hand is doing. Promises are made that aren't kept. I receive different answers/expectations from the various people that I speak with and worst of all, I must repeat myself every time I call. Why can't they simply look me up in the database and reference the previous interactions we've had?"

So, what is the key value of CRM to the customer? It is the fact that ALL customer interactions are captured in a single repository which enables the firm to deliver a holistic and contiguous experience to the customer.

The above was meant to share "some" of the key CRM value statements. Reinforcing these with each stakeholder throughout your CRM initiative is crucial to ensure sales force adoption. That is, if the sales force clearly understands the value, and others in the organization are pulling for the information that can be generated by the system, then your initiative will have legs to run on. If you don't have this, your initiative is destined to become another unfortunate statistic.

In future editions we will cover the remaining topics of this series including:

  • Importance of Senior Executive Sponsorship
  • Proven Technology Really?
  • Key (Controllable) Items Impacting Adoption
  • Proficiency After 2 days of Training?

In closing, if you are embarking on a CRM initiative, or are in the middle of a CRM program that doesn't seem to have the traction you'd like to see, give us a call. We'd be happy to assist you in framing up your initial project for success as well as provide objective insight on your existing initiative to ensure that you achieve the anticipated ROI.

As a reminder, our whitepaper Avoiding The Common Pitfalls of CRM is available for download from our website. Finally, if you are looking for a CRM implementation primer, consider the following book: CRM Automation by Barton J. Goldenberg.


+ Addressing the Realities of (Sales) CRM Implementations
+ Recommended Reading

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Recommended Reading
Looking ahead to 2007, Gartner has released its predictions for IT. Colin Beasty summarizes these in his CRM Magazine article Five IT Predictions.

Happy Holidays!
Customer Centricity wishes everyone a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2007!

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