Normally, if a business is struggling, we always put the blame more on something than on someone. So if you are running a CRM solution, whether it is hosted or in-house, you would probably say that the system is not working out well for you. Then you start to regret the high cost of investment you made and think that perhaps you are better off with another kind of contact management solution or if it is a lot safer to stick with spreadsheets.
What one needs to know is that CRM is a philosophy that needs to be practiced. It does not stop once you buy the application, install or house it in one of your solid IT infrastructures, and let your sales agents run it whenever needed. Like any other thing, it ceases to become fully functional and useful if it is not utilized to its fullest advantage.
The Changes that Need to be Made
The purpose of CRM is usually for market automation. You want something that will provide you of instant reports and results, something that you can monitor if you want empirical data, and serve as a database of your leads, which can then be updated in real time.
You may, however, pair your CRM software with strong policies when it comes to customer management or service:
1. Determine how your customers can be accessed. A CRM can actually hold all major customer touch points, but you also need to determine the most ideal one for every customer. You want to minimize the time you spend in presenting your business to them, setting up appointments, or eventually selling a product or a service. For example, some may prefer to be directly called through their mobile or home phone. Others are better reached through their e-mail accounts. If you are dealing with corporations and busy businesses, you may have to send out proposals through fax machines, to give them ample time to read them when they are no longer attending to something else.
2. Come up with a set of metrics. If you want to evaluate the performance of your sales agents, you better come up with standards, based on the current processes that you have established in your company. What makes an excellent customer contact? Does it happen when the agent closes a sale, or is it enough to grab hold of their lead and make him interested of what you have? Whatever the composition of the metrics will be, it is very important that the information can be transformed to information that can be easily understood and measured, such as when they are expressed in figures. Thus, when a sales agent gets a score of 5 out of 10, it means that he needs to strengthen his sales skills or improve his customer service. The improvement in CRM may also entail providing trainings and workshops to sales agents, making sure that they know how to utilize the technology that is made available to them and match this knowledge with impeccable customer sales talent.