CRM mistakes can be expensive. So, it’s worth noting that in the world of CRM (just as with everything else in the world), the times they are a-changin’.
As just one example, if the father of CRM is focused on AI, then perhaps you should be factoring it into game plan?
But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, it’s worth considering the most common mistakes we see when rolling out technology solutions. After all, if you can master the basics, you’ll be well on your way to powering the kind of profitability that allows you to invest in the fancy stuff.
CRM Mistakes #1: Putting the Platform Before the Process
Time and time again, this is enemy number one. If you start your latest CRM project thinking primarily about the platform, then you’ve already lost. You’ve made one of the most common CRM mistakes.
The truth is, there’s so much technology out there, that it’s pretty much guaranteed there’ll be a tool to drive whichever techniques you decide to adopt. Once you’ve decided to adopt them, that is.
Getting hung up on which platform does what, the details of how it works, the intricacies of how it’ll integrate with tech that already lives in your company, is a sure-fire way to miss the proverbial wood thanks to all those gosh darned trees.
What’s really required then, is a good map. A map that links the way your organisation actually operates to the ideal features a platform needs to facilitate your customer relationship management goals. Once you have a path, you’ll find you often arrive at exactly the right destination. Only then should you sign-up for the license at the end of the yellow brick road.
Mistake #2: Putting the Process Before the People
Just as cardinal a sin is putting process before people in your business. You’ve heard the saying: “you get what you give”? Specifically in relation to CRM, the more vulgar form of: “excrement in, excrement out” is certainly true. I’m talking about data.
For a platform to be productive, it has to be capable of producing actionable insights for your teams. Whether they are marketers, salespeople, customer service representatives or in IT, finance or human resources, they all need insight.
And it can only be productive if it has quality information to feed on in the first place. Great data in…
Time and again we see CRM projects fail, when how to get great data in (see platform before process, above) isn’t considered first. It’s one of the most basic CRM mistakes. Guess how data gets into your system? Sure, there’ll be integrations with other systems, enrichment via third-party tools and, ideally, as little reliance as possible on manual data entry and cleansing (human error, anyone?). But, and this is a big but, you can’t escape the fact that your people, at some point, have to touch the tools!
Marketers need to be able to connect and streamline data from web content, in-person events and other campaigns. Sales teams need to know how to (as easily as possible) enter and import new customer information and update existing records. To deliver the best service, teams in other functional areas need to see the full context of how contacts have engaged with the firm historically.
In all of this, biggest barrier to CRM success is adoption. To maximise uptake amongst your teams, people need to understand three things:
- The purpose of the project; and
- The value they’ll receive in return for their engagement; and (ideally)
- How easy it will be to implement and adapt existing processes for the greater good of the business.
Mistake #3: Putting the Business Before the Customer
The final fatal flaw is putting any one of the above (platforms, processes or people) ahead of those that fundamentally matter the most: your customers. If whatever it is you’re trying to achieve isn’t designed from the ground up around the people that pay you for your products or services, then what’s the point? The only real way to power profitability is to speak directly to those you bill and create changes with their needs first and foremost in your mind.
The first of the seven tenets of human-centred design concerns: getting past your own great idea, breaking free of the restrictions of your own knowledge and spending time with real people in real environments.
We see adhering to these principles as essential in receiving the return-on-investment every CRM project deserves. Ignore prospects at your peril and customer desires to your own demise.
CRM Mistakes Are Easy to Avoid
The good news is that working through these priorities in the correct order, is the key to unlocking CRM success and powering profitability in your organisation. Customer needs before business wants, people power before process perfection and process optimisation (via continuous improvement) before platform specifics.
The best tools are the ones that work and are used by your people, to satisfy your customer demands. CRM mistakes are easy to avoid if you follow simple advice.
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Note on the topic
This platform has been covering CRM stories for over a decade now including migrating your Facebook fans to CRM, and piece on how commun.it could be a CRM platform for Twitter all the way back in 2012! Remember that? We do!