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Posts Tagged ‘CRM Best Practices’

5 Myths Scaring Companies from Using CRM – and Why They’re Bogus

September 10th, 2015 Chelsea Cole No comments

Diving into the unknown can be a daunting process. As with most unfamiliar practices, it is not surprising that companies can be ambivalent about introducing new software to their business structure. There are a number of factors that can scare companies away from implementing a CRM system, even though it provides a more comprehensive and accommodating customer relationship approach to business. Despite the proven benefits of using a CRM system, there are still a lot of myths that can delay or prevent a software search and eventual implementation. Check out these five myths preventing companies from using CRM, and how we have debunked them using Microsoft Dynamics CRM:

1. The Implementation Will be Too Complicated or Time-Consuming

The number one fear for many businesses when it comes to CRM systems is the implementation process. If implementation does not go as planned or becomes too complicated, companies worry they won’t be able to potentially fix the problem. This will leave them stuck with an intricate system that they cannot handle, wasting time and resources rather than improving business processes. The fear of installing a complex system that no one really knows how to use can keep companies from using CRM.

Solution

Implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM requires excellent execution. This is where choosing the right implementation team comes into play. A team with extensive implementation experience and a risk management system designed for getting businesses up and running on Microsoft Dynamics CRM can ensure success. Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services implements and protects projects while helping organizations improve the predictability and quality of implementation by simplifying and standardizing the process to realize business value faster. Proper implementation is also ensured by utilizing Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step, which is a proven framework of methodology and tools for implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The key benefits of which include predictable, on-time, and on-budget implementation. The robust combination of methodology coupled with best practices mitigates the common risks that can occur on a project, improves overall consistency and predictability, expands business agility, and increases the probability of a successful implementation.

Ignify overall implementation Process.

Figure 1. Ignify’s overall implementation process provides for multiple validation points so there are no surprises guaranteed from early on in the process. This reduces the risks during the application of the project.

2. CRM Won’t Fit with Current Processes and Systems

Some companies fear that CRM software might not fit with their current processes and systems. They believe that installing CRM will require a fundamental change in their current systems, which can disrupt the business process and cause more hassle than it is worth. If the transition is too hard or the software does not fit smoothly into the company’s already established dynamic then the results will lead to frustration and waste of the new CRM system.

Solution

When implementing a new CRM system, failure most often results from poor communication or expectation gaps between the consulting organization and the current business processes that the client is actively engaged in. However, specific processes are used to implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM that aim to bridge this gap. During the initial days of the relationship between Ignify and the individual client, the frequency of meetings is high in order to ensure that all problems are proactively identified and resolved so that configuration of Microsoft Dynamics CRM will best fit with the respective company. Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps employees by working the way they already do, and providing them with consolidated customer knowledge along with intuitive relationship management tools that are a natural extension of the Microsoft Suite, including Outlook. This tight integration with Microsoft Outlook allows employees to continue using the tools they are most familiar with and already use on a daily basis.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is integrated with Microsoft Outlook.

Figure 2. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is completely integrated with Microsoft Outlook. A user can convert a lead to an opportunity directly in Outlook, and the information will flow directly into Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Any changes and upgrades requested by the company are easy to make and the IT staff will be fully trained on how to manage and maintain current systems along with the new CRM program.

3. The Learning Curve Will be Too Slow

Companies worry that the time and energy spent on learning about and training on a new system will take away from productivity. This transition can seem like a long and difficult process that is best avoided. In other cases the employees themselves might be apprehensive about their abilities to use a CRM system resulting in open resistance to the new processes that managers and business owners do not want to deal with.

Solution

Formal training and proper knowledge transfer can minimize any potential for frustration that can come with learning a new system. Ignify has flushed out several strategic steps within the training process in order to guarantee the smoothest transition to Microsoft Dynamics CRM possible. Informal knowledge transfer happens with managers and IT staff early-on in the engagement with formal training in all functional areas to follow. Typically a “train the trainer” approach is taken and planned well ahead of time in order to ensure that the process becomes repeatable internally by management staff to end users. Adequate training is one of the most important steps in a successful implementation. Ignify also provides E-learning training to help users increase productivity without spending time away from the office. E-learning allows employees access to training 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so they can learn at their own pace. Microsoft Dynamics CRM works with familiar Microsoft Office software so that employees don’t have to learn a completely new application or juggle different applications.

4. Security Issues Can Cause Important or Confidential Data to Become Compromised

It’s natural for a company to worry about the security of their customer data or other types of confidential information. Implementing a CRM software means putting all of this customer information and sensitive material in one place. Having important information in one program can pose a security threat. Companies worry that if the system is hacked or a bug causes it to shut down, all of their important resources, information, and data could become compromised.

Solution

Ignify is, in partnership with Microsoft, committed to delivering the reliability, high security, and privacy expected by its clients through centralized management as well as options for application delivery based on factors such as device trust and type. Microsoft Dynamic CRM uses Enterprise Data Security as well as Customer Portal. Enterprise Data Security provides customer service while ensuring data security and implementing a system of appropriate approvals, reducing the risk of implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Customer Portal has a two factor authentication and role based security system that provides a unified customer registration and self-service module. A business unit framework is also created that establishes clear security boundaries. This is tested across two business units to ensure that while a unified customer master is visible everywhere, the legal boundaries of data access can be enforced in the platform.

5. Lack of Standardization

Due to the fact that CRM systems are easily malleable in order to fit into a system of operation in a variety of ways, some companies worry that this lack of standardization can lead to management difficulties. If the configuration of a new system is not implemented in a uniform way but constructed by multiple voices and opinions, then it can be hard to keep track of certain aspects of the company.

Solution

This concern can be easily appeased through assigning a lead person within the client company to work with Ignify and be immersed in the process. Ignify requires companies to assign a Project Manager from their own team to act as a contact person who will coordinate the project during its life cycle and will be the single point of harmonization. The project manager will be empowered to manage scope to ensure success of the project. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is built to make it easy to do business across locations and departments by consolidating and standardizing processes. With the Sure Step Methodology for implementations, Ignify has also developed RAPID, which acts as a layer above Sure Step. RAPID offers a set of standard and pre-built deliverables that are ready to use. If you would like more information on Ignify or Microsoft Dynamics CRM, please email crm@ignify.com.

Chelsea Cole is a Proposal Writer at Ignify. Ignify is Worldwide Microsoft Partner in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010, and offers eCommerce, ERP, CRM, Order Management and POS solutions based on the Microsoft Dynamics line of products. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing businesses in North America for seven years in a row by Inc. Magazine and Deloitte in the FAST 500 from 2008 to 2013.

CRM Systems increase sales – breaking the myth

March 1st, 2011 Sandeep Walia No comments

We spent time studying and analyzing over 100 businesses that had implemented CRM in the last 12 months and how their results had changed. Our first observation was that most CRM implementations did nothing for customer experience and did nothing for sales. Ouch! For someone who sells CRM systems – this was damning. We investigated further – less than 10% of the organizations actually had stellar results after a CRM implementation (“Winners”), a nearly 30% had minor improvements (“Minor Improvements”) and about 60% saw no change or had negative sales (“Losers”). We defined ‘stellar results’ as a simple metric of revenue increase of at least 5%. Those that had revenue increases but less than 5% fell in the Minor Improvement category and the rest fell in the Losers category as they had negative ROI with their CRM implementation. Ignify also had implemented Microsoft Dynamics CRM a little over 2 years back and we definitely had fallen in the 10% that had stellar results. Our revenue numbers had more than doubled in a 24 month period with zero increase in sales persons. Obviously CRM worked for some and could bring spectacular results. However, it didn’t work for most. So what differentiated the Winners from the Losers?

Revenue-Growth

Our research showed that businesses that had run-away success were able to do the following with CRM. Most of the Winners typically made 80% or more of the items on this list.

  • Attract more customers
  • Close deals faster
  • Improve Customer Retention
  • Improve Customer Service
  • Discover Insights about Customers
  • Enhance Customer Relationships

We found that the Winners did the following with their CRM implementations that made the difference between them and the Losers

  1. Deployed Organization wide: Made it pervasive – CRM was not just a sales side or customer service initiative. Typically all employees had access to CRM
  2. Familiarity: Selected a CRM system was intuitive and familiar to the users so that minimal training was required
  3. 360 degree view: All customer information was available to employees – an employee could look up a customer and see opportunities, incidents for the customer, order history, customer balances
  4. Rewrote Business Processes: Used CRM to redefine their sales, customer service and order management business processes and put in more formal controls in the CRM system to ensure higher consistency. Very often the businesses ‘templated’ their process and built into CRM the ability to send automated communication such as emails to customers, prospective leads to increase sales and improve customer retention with zero human effort. In addition the templates provides users a guide map on how to do their daily work.
  5. Adaptability: Had the ability to make incremental changes very easily – the implementation became a continuous process and new functionality was added as often as every week
  6. Started simple: Started with a pilot that had limited functionality – got user buy in and then increased functionality on the system. While this is a common approach, most businesses target a pilot with a limited set of users. These organizations deployed the pilot with limited functionality but to all users in the company.
  7. User Buy-in: Deploying CRM to the entire organization lead to quick feedback and lots of new ideas for improvements. User forums on the CRM system became the bed rock for innovation. Since the selected system was adaptable, these changes could be implemented fairly quickly. More importantly user buy-in was established early on and eliminated the biggest hurdle CRM implementations have.

Is it easy to get positive ROI on a CRM system. Yes – frankly even the businesses that had minor improvements got positive ROI since the 2 – 5% increase in revenue was usually more than enough to cover the cost of the CRM implementation. But it was by no means run-aways success. The run-away success lay with the winners that on average had over 15% increase in revenues in a period that most businesses struggled as evidenced by the Losers. However, the rules for success seem simple – and they are. That’s what made the results so amazing. By doing a few key things organizations were able to start an organizational transformation using a platform that baked-in best practices but with the additional benefit of user buy-in and a sense of excitement in the organization that gave it power to be successful. Many of the businesses that had minor improvements – selected lower cost systems or systems that were good enough for them as they were better than what they had in place – which often was nothing. However, the Winners selected systems that they felt could drive organizational transformation and fit in with their business. The systems were not just good enough but were powerful, adaptable and easy to use. The Winners then went on to make this the most important project in the company and with a limited pilot rolled out an early version in 8-10 weeks or less to the entire organization. Further improvements were made through user forums where the best ideas that bubbled up were implemented in 3- 5 week releases. The project became a continuous improvement cycle. On the other hand, the organizations that showed only minor improvements or no improvements went through complex requirements, and took months to get the project off the ground with a core user group. The projects in those set of organizations did not get user buy-in and CRM became another system that was pushed out to the users. It was also encouraging to me personally that over 2/3rd of the winners selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM – the product we implemented for Ignify and also the product that we sell and implement. Only 25% of the Losers selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Having said that – we don’t believe that the choice of system itself drove success but the implementation model used that ultimately brought success.

Back to the Myth – Does a CRM Implementation increase sales? No! But a CRM Implementation done the right way can absolutely increase sales dramatically.

Sandeep Walia is the CEO of Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of ERP, CRM, and eCommerce software solutions to businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 4 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine and ranked as one of 100 most innovative companies in the world in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2011.

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