Over the past decade, CRM solutions have become one of the ten business tools used by firms—big and small—to improve revenue, profitability, and organizational efficiency. Despite the popularity of these platforms, instances of CRM failures are alarmingly high with some studies indicating that a staggering seven out of ten deployments fail to generate any real value for the organization.
Strangely, the CRM platform market has witnessed a steady growth of around 12%-14% over the past few years. 2014 sales rose by 13% as compared to 2013 and total 2014 sales figure crossed $23 billion.
As a manager, you can derive two important conclusions from this data:
- CRM is a very popular business tool that you just cannot afford to ignore, and
- Simply following the crowd and deploying CRM just because everybody is doing it is a likely recipe for failure.
This is why it is important to impartially assess whether your organization will indeed benefit from the deployment of a CRM platform. Here are some parameters and benchmarks to consider before finalizing your decision.
Do You Need A Customizable Platform?
CRM solutions are not applications designed to perform specific functions and tasks. Rather, it is an ecosystem that is designed to host a large number of dynamic modules designed to perform different functions.
Does a shift to such an agile platform make business sense for your organization? Seeking help from a right CRM solution expert to do a comprehensive and holistic analysis of your business will give you a clear picture on how to make your CRM rollout a success. CRM is more than a software system that replaces excel sheets. To use CRM, a company requires to be involved with a drastic change in the way it performs core functions.
CRM platforms offer scalable and agile solutions that can help business streamline processes and standardize operations for greater collaboration. However, proceeding the CRM deployment without understanding the impact of it on an organizational culture can severely affect productivities and create users resistance which lead to CRM failure due to low user adoption.
If your firm is unprepared to utilize this dynamic, agile, and customizable platform, the best way forward is to delay the investment and continue on with current system until you are ready or to invest in a less expensive CRM system that fits your business objectives.
Are You Ready to Become A Data Driven Organization?
Many firms underestimate the extent of change that the deployment of a CRM platform will entail. This may result in a situation where employees—although ready to enjoy the benefits of data-driven decisions—are not prepared to adapt to newer processes and strategies.
A firm that is operating in a natively-digital environment may have more impetus to make the switch as compared to businesses that operate in sectors where conventional methods are still effective.
While centralized customer data and automated workflow & process offer many strategic benefits, managers should consider both the short-term tactical implications and long-term strategic enhancements of the CRM platform before making a choice.
Are You Up For An Integration Challenge?
CRM fails to yield results primarily because firms struggle to integrate the platform with existing processes. Shifting to a completely new way of doing business may sound attractive in theory, however, system integration involves too many disruptions and challenges—especially when evaluating the multitude of options available in the market. The hidden costs of system integration are usually two to three times more than the budget.
A firm that successfully integrates the platform—with other aspects and facets of its functioning—stands a better chance of enjoying good ROI in an accelerated timeframe.
Is Pan-Organization Standardization the Right Fit for Your Organization?
Not all organizations benefit from implementation of standardized tactics and policies across all departments. One more question that needs to be answered is whether or not standardized CRM policies work effectively in your organization.
There is a lot of gray area when it comes to planning for your CRM initiative. The above-mentioned questions need to be assessed by managers and employees during the assessment. If the questions are ignored, the deployment of the CRM platform can prove to be a disastrous impediment. The decision to opt for a CRM platform should begin only after a holistic assessment—of whether such a solution is required—gives the green light.