Customer Relations Management (CRM) systems are one of the most critical components of any business. Almost every company has some type of CRM system in place but just because the company owns a CRM system it does not mean that employees (end users) can exploit the full power of the system. An implementation can only considered successful if it results in high adoption. As for the CRM systems, the first sale you needed to make is an internal sale.
CRM systems have been effectively in use for more than a decade. Systems evolved and became a lot more sophisticated since then presenting a variety of tools for marketing and sales departments. An article on CRM Magazine shows that the implementation of CRM systems rose from 57% in 2005 to 72% in 2009. Furthermore, 41% of the remaining companies are planning to evaluate or implement a CRM system within a year. Based on these statistics it is natural to conclude that CRM systems are widely adapted among major companies and are an essential for highly efficient marketing and sales operations. A long awaited happy ending for companies, sales people and their customers. But, adds the article, a deeper analysis with more practical questions contradicts with the statistics mentioned above about CRM systems.
Unfortunately the increase in the number of companies that implemented a CRM system does mean an increase in the utilization of tools within those systems. By comparing adaptation rates between 2005 and 2009 the article warns that the rates have not increased significantly since 2005. Just because the company owns a CRM system it does not mean that the end users within the company exploit the full power of the system.
High failure rate of CRM projects in the 1990s raises questions about the effectiveness and efficiency of the applications used today. According to statistics this can be one of the factors behind the low utilization rates since 13% of companies surveyed told that they consider replacing their CRM applications. Obviously there are always projects that fail to deliver the desired results but 13% is not high enough to explain why the utilization rates today are still as low as rates of 2005.
It is always advised companies to survey and train their employees before introducing them to a new concept. The people who are supposed to utilize the system should clearly understand the advantages of using it for themselves. They should have a faith in the new system that they will work with less effort while achieving more. That is what these systems are for.
The salespeople should be convinced that their timely efforts for mastering the systems will pay them back. Otherwise they will concentrate on the basics of the system ignoring the opportunities provided by the more advanced level usage.
About 40% of the companies complained that they can only utilize less than half of their CRM systems. Another statistic on the same companies show that 43% of them said that their end-user training in CRM “needed improvement”. There seems to a fascinating correlation between the low utilization rate and lack of proper training.
The systems are not for more revenues, systems are for the people who use them for more revenues. As for the CRM systems, the first sale you needed to make with a CRM system is an internal sale. Sell it to your employees first and provide an excellent customer care.
Every day the business world relies more and more on the information systems. As the systems get more complicated while integrating with each other, the human element requires more attention.