CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is a packaged solution that assists businesses in managing relationships and data between different business departments and customers. Before CRMs, businesses would either need to write their own computer systems from scratch or invest in massive and expensive ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems. You can see how it would have been difficult for SME-type enterprises to become computerised.
The origins of the CRM are a subject of some debate, and they date further back than a lot of people think. It is thought that the first software system that we may recognise as a CRM was 1987’s ACT (Automated Contact Tracking). This software is still available today in an albeit updated form. In the 1990s there was a boom in CRMs, even though that term would not be coined until 1995 – the term previously used was Sales Force Automation. CRMs are increasingly popular due to their lower costs, reporting capability, and their efficiency in streamlining the sales and marketing processes. Unfortunately, no solution is perfect, so what are the potential pitfalls?
Which one to use?Salesforce, Siebel CRM, Monday.com, Zoho, SAP, Insightly. That is just a short sample of the more popular CRM systems on the market, but there are over 730 different CRMs available! To further complicate things for some potential buyers, there are four main groups of CRMs: strategic, operational, analytical and collaborative.
Costs of implementationCRM systems may be on a smaller scale and cheaper overall than ERP systems, but that does not mean that you can run a CRM on a shoestring budget. Purchasing a CRM, licence costs, implementation, ongoing development and maintenance, and staff training are just some of the costs to consider. Then there are the “nice to have” packages that are released to install on top of the main CRM. Poorly implemented CRMs or a lack of staff training or poor stakeholder buy-in can mean that the return on investment is not what was hoped for.
Resistance to changeIt is a common misconception that young staff are more dynamic and embracing of change, while older staff members may be loath to shake off the cobwebs of that old COBOL system which has been serving the company reliably since 1983. Regardless of age, many people fear change and do not like to be pushed out of their comfort zones. Staff may show resistance to learning how to use the new CRM and this could delay the transition.
Training of staffIf staff are not properly trained in the usage of the CRM when it is first installed, it could result in loss of data, incorrect data entry, and a reduction in productivity. Such issues could cause a backlog of uncommitted new data along with the potential loss in business opportunities and even legal penalties as a result.
Poor implementation plansIf the implementation is not properly planned, it could potentially result in a newly implemented system that is not suitable for the business. The configuration of the CRM must be carefully planned to ensure that it covers all aspects of the business which will need to be migrated, and the new configuration must be able to accommodate any data which needs to be uploaded.
At Arlanis Reply we have experience implementing Salesforce solutions for some of the world’s best-known brands and can help you avoid the frustrations and costs that come from poor implementation. To talk with us about how Arlanis Reply and Salesforce can help your organisation, send us an email at