CRM Software Strategy
Specifying clear strategy and objectives for any CRM software implementation and post-production environment are essential steps generally performed before or in conjunction with software implementation planning. To stimulate your thinking and creation of CRM software strategy, several common objectives are listed below.
Sample CRM Objectives
- Achieving a holistic view of the customer relationship. Some organizations refer to this simply as a single view of the customer. This enterprise-wide view of the customer relationship should result in customers receiving consistent information, regardless of touch point and further reducing duplication and redundancy for the organization. The goal is to efficiently utilize all of the organization's resources to present one friendly and knowledgeable face to customers. Customers should receive the same information about your company from any channel, including your sales force, customer support, call center, web site or marketing brochure.
- Provide users with any time, any place access to real-time customer information.
- Provide real time information to staff who can use that information. The ability to respond to events and conditions in real time can provide substantial competitive advantage.
- Ensure that each and every customer interaction in handled with the same degree of excellence using the same tools and information across all lines of business, geographies and sales channels. The customer deals with more than just the salesperson. The organization is benefited by a centralized system to share customer information across the organization for whoever needs to speak with the customer.
- Identify and target key customer groups. Quantifiable and detailed knowledge about each customer can drive specific efforts to target their needs and spending capabilities. High-value customers can be identified and given priority.
- Implementation of best practices. Allow the organization to uniformly apply the most effective sales, service and marketing practices.
- The utilization of a single, centralized repository for documentation (aka a Document Library) so that all resources are using, referencing and sharing the most recent and accurate documents.
- Achieve CRM analytics (aka a Decision Support System (DSS)) such as graphical views of customer information with visual indicators, planning and modeling (e.g. what-if scenarios or casting figures with a multitude of variables and assumptions) and drill-down analysis to source data. Advance from two dimensional row and column historical reporting to multi-dimensional dynamic reporting for improved insight and predictive capabilities. According to research firm IDC, organizations that have successfully implemented analytic applications have seen returns stretching from 17 percent to more than 2000 percent; their study found a median return on investment (ROI) of 112 percent.
- Fully integrated and linked sales order cycle. Linking a sales lead through the order, the invoice, the inventory process and fulfillment and replenishment with everyone connected – from the salesperson on the road, to manufacturing in Peoria to the customer on the Web. All information is reliable, accurate and immediately available 24 by 7 from any location.
Sample SFA Objectives
- Improve sales force satisfaction. Provide the sales force with the resources and tools to consistently win in increasingly competitive selling environments.
- Automate sales processes. Provide immediate correspondence, literature and information fulfillment with prospects and customers via integrated fax, e-mail and Web. Automate recurring sales tasks, such as activity reporting, pipeline generation and forecast reporting.
- Spend more time selling. Automate recurring and non-sales activities so that sales people spend more time selling (and less time performing administration). Remedy the all-to-common inefficient sales labor consumption:
- How sales people spend their time:
- Administration 40%
- Selling 40%
- Looking 10%
- Sending information 10%
- Expand the knowledgebase. Provide more meaningful, accurate and timely competitive information, product information and sales team information. Provide more timely pricing and promotion information. Software management to improve the delivery and effectiveness of sales letters, marketing collaterals, RFP responses, presentations and proposals.
- Revenue growth.
- Profitability growth.
- Better forecast visibility, accuracy and reporting.
- Increase in quality of earnings (consistency and predictability of earnings).
- Increase in account profitability and customer share.
- Improve sales analysis with existing customers. More accurate, more timely customer quantifiable information can spot ways which customer value is lost or unexploited. Identifying customer-centric behaviors, pattern and preferences provides the ability to identify and satisfy unmet customer needs and then cross-sell and up-sell effectively.
- Sales forecasting with ‘What If' Analysis. Understand the bottom line effects from changes in the product mix or delivery, e.g. If I reduce customer churn by 5%, what's the direct effect to the bottom line?
- Elevate sales coaching and sales mentoring.
- Enable team selling (sales professional and sales manager) techniques which result in a better decision making and higher closure rates.
- Improve sales and channel support.
- Encourage the collaboration and collection of the best sales executives practices and knowledge to put the expertise of the company's best salespeople into the hands of the new-hires and rookies. This enables the sales force to put the full power and resources of the company behind every sales opportunity.
- Standardize sales methodologies. Increase consistency in effective sales processes.
- Increase closer rates. Individual sales professionals closing a higher percentage of sales opportunities and promotion of a team selling environment.
- Generate more business from existing customers. More incremental business with less sales time and expense.
- Increase salesperson productivity. Sell smarter (e.g. sell more higher margin products and services); spend time more wisely and show how to immediately spend more quality time on existing accounts or assume more accounts. Shorten the sales staff or channel ramp up time. Increase top line revenues via increased revenues per sales staff.
- Better understand customer needs, desires and requests Understand key customer groups and establish long-term relationships with customers. Discover what your customers need and value, and to get to know your customers well enough that you can engage them in one-to-one marketing. Identify customer groups to target for new or add-on sales. Define products and services to meet your customer's needs. Optimize your delivery and fulfillment channels. Monitor and review your customer's response to your efforts.
- Achieve better internal controls such as customer lists, pipelines and forecasts, contracts, agreements and pricing information.
Sample Marketing Management Objectives
- Increase demand generation program yields (conversion rates).
- Implement marketing and advertising cost/benefit analysis. Understand which marketing and advertising campaigns generate the greatest ROI and which should be discontinued. Measure campaign effectiveness by revenue generated per marketing dollar spent.
- Increase revenues by producing more leads of higher quality.
- Reduce marketing costs by decreasing the time and labor required to execute.
- Effective lead management. Leads can be linked to the marketing campaigns that spawned them, so marketing investment effectiveness can be tracked and quantified.
- Better lead distribution. Leads can be funneled more effectively to the most appropriate sales staff or channel member. Further, leads can be better timed for transition to sales resources. For example, campaign leads which are not yet qualified can be placed in a nurture marketing queue until they become qualified and then turned over to the sales professionals.
- Re-establish the link between Sales and Marketing. Most organizations have a break-down of responsibility between the sales and marketing functions. Marketing claims they cannot be responsible for leads once they are distributed and put into the hands of sales staff. Sales staff claim that their time is wasted when the majority of leads received are not qualified. By providing marketing a tool which can hold and manage lead responses until they are qualified (i.e. nurture marketing campaigns) and by allowing marketing professionals real time visibility to all marketing-generated lead responses, every lead is accounted for and responsibility is not lost.
- More effective promotions. Products and services for targeted customer groups can be developed in response to customer history, preferences, interest or demand.
- Increase success of new product roll-outs by better target marketing and implementation of effective feedback mechanisms. Note: 2 of 3 product roll-outs fail to meet expectations and most have learned the hard way that excitement doesn't mean success.
- Gartner, the Connecticut-based analyst firm, stated at a marketing conference that those organizations that devote at least 50 percent of their efforts to advanced customer centric marketing processes will see a marketing ROI by 2007 that's 30 percent higher than those who don't.
Sample Customer Service Objectives
- Increase customer satisfaction and loyalty (via measures such as better responsiveness and ease of doing business). Each customer experience shapes the customers perception of the organization, including the value the organization provides and the importance the customer places on the overall customer-vendor relationship. Positive customer experiences drive satisfaction, trust and sustained loyalty. Negative customer interactions prove the opposite result and because bad news travels faster and further than good news, negative experiences harm the organization's reputation and ability to increase new relationships. No amount of internal speculation can simulate what it's really like to be a customer. True customer experience understanding is derived by seeking and acting upon customer feedback.
- Decrease customer churn / increase customer retention. Proactively retain customers longer (decrease customer turnover).
- Implement customer self-service. Provide customers increased responsiveness, accessibility and availability while reducing cost per customer interaction transaction.
Top 10 Guiding Principals Which Influence CRM Objectives
- Sales effectiveness tools only make sense when companies decide that selling is a process and not an art.
- Most sales force automation tools are designed to capture data on “what happened” not help the sales person make something happen. They focus on score keeping and not helping the salesperson score, i.e., close! SFA must provide the playbook needed to win, not just be the scorecard for management.
- Sales effectiveness tools must reduce the data entry time and management reporting time of the individual sales person if user adoption is to be successful. These tools must increase selling time and decrease administrative time.
- Management reports must be an automated byproduct of the sales process and not the goal of the sales process.
- The primary goal of sales process must be to put more and larger commission checks in the pockets of the sales people.
- Sales processes must be customized to the best practices any particular enterprise. Defining your sales process is a bottom up and then top down procedure (not the other way). That means capture the process from the “rainmakers” and customers, get complete by-in from sales management and have sales management actively participate in the roll out to the masses.
- Sales process tools need to not only guide and mentor a sales person through the sales cycle, they need to force the sales person to THINK and PLAN before they execute.
- Institutionalizing the sales process requires that the sales people use their real, “must win” deals during training. Nothing increases the SFA adoption rate faster or more permanently than using the tool to immediately close a deal.
- Make the sales process part of the sales culture for everyone – no exceptions.
- Use the sales process to define the common sales language and opportunity review process across the organization.