This post is about stinky CRM – the kind of CRM (customer relationship management) that users find offensive and therefore avoid using and leveraging into their daily work activities.
This post also includes the top 3 ways to avoid a stinky CRM (stinky crm is worse than ring around the collar).
Here is an example. In a recent casual conversation with a family member, he said to me “you know CRM right? Well get this – the CRM I have to use at my company really stinks”. He went on to say, “corporate is making us now use a new CRM to track our sales activities but the CRM is impossible to use. It is from the same company out of Germany that does our operations software and our corporate thought that adding this CRM was a good idea. Well it is not set up right, it is so hard to use, the data in there isn’t right, and nobody on my team knows how to use it.” So there you have it folks – a good example of a stinky CRM.
Modern features help but really are not the cause of the stinky. In the above example, there was no mention of any particular feature or lack of features. Although modern CRM features help, the CRM in this case was stinky mostly because of basic implementation issues such as:
- Inadequate training on the way the CRM is supposed to support user processes.
- Poor data quality in the CRM make users not trust the data/reports. It is the bad data in-bad data out mantra (data quality could be a whole separate blog post).
- Not being set up in a way that the user understands. Not intuitive. Not purpose driven.
- The team was not bought in on the solution and has since turned against it.
- Provided by a company that considers CRM an extra module or after thought.
The best CRM can still be stinky. Even the best CRM solutions on the market can turn stinky. There is however a nice advantage starting off with a modern CRM application like Microsoft Dynamics CRM because it has a basic intuitive user experience across your device of choice. Built in sales, marketing, social, and customer care features that easily help users perform their high value activities more effectively. Yes these features help tremendously, but don’t let these features blind you into thinking that simply turning on a CRM in the cloud will immediately solve all CRM needs. If your CRM isn’t tailored to your unique processes, then it could become a stinky crm.
Top 3 Ways to Avoid a Stinky CRM
1. Don’t over complicate your most important user tasks. If you want your users to use CRM, keep things as simple as possible and included within an organized and logical flow. Work to understand how your users do their work now and how CRM (with the minimum of screens and clicks) can support/enhance that process – even enlighten with new information and analytics right on the same screen. Sometimes there is the desire to add every conceivable field to the screen that any department and any user might need. After all, this is an important process, right? Actually, this tends to crowd the screen with lots of fields that seem to have little or no purpose. Work to keep screens clean and purpose driven. If you have teams/departments that have different needs, consider using role based forms per department. Each department (role) would see just the fields they need included within a clean logical screen by screen flow. This makes the CRM easier to use for the most important tasks.
2. Sweat the small stuff. As powerful and easy as most CRM solutions are, don’t just turn on a cloud subscription to a CRM and expect your users to fend for themselves. I realize that there is the thinking that “we will do minimal upfront definition because we will just adapt our process to the way the CRM works”. This thinking may work on some areas of CRM but more than likely, this “just turn it on as is” type thinking is setting up CRM to fail. Take enough time upfront to sweat the small details – the unique processes, the data, the reporting needs, etc. This will leverage CRM within the organization and allow CRM to become the focal point to the entire enterprise. For users, it will make CRM meaningful and hence easier to use (and no stinky CRM complaints).
3. Start with a modern CRM. Starting with a modern CRM like Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides so many powerful features and advantages. Microsoft provides built-in integration to Outlook, Office, Skype, InsideView, Yammer, and more. Compared with custom-made CRM solutions or CRM add-on’s from software companies that don’t focus on CRM, the modern CRM leverages the latest technology. It can help reduce costs and increase profitability by organizing and automating your unique business processes that nurture customer/member satisfaction and loyalty.
At the end of the day, CRM is a just a business application. It is a tool. Even with all the advanced technology and features and built-in integration and ready to go examples and data import templates, CRM still has the potential to stink if it is not implemented properly.
Think you might have a stinky CRM? Not happy with how it was implemented? Feel free to contact me for guidance and suggestions.