lucidswitch's blog

Aligning Marketing and Sales for Business Success

Ask someone who has never worked in a sales or marketing department whether or not the two functions tend to be closely aligned, and they will almost certainly tell you that they are and should be. Some might even express surprise that the two are in fact separate entities. Ask anyone who has ever worked in a sales or marketing department, however, and they will tell a very different story.

CRM is not just about Technology

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CRM is not a piece of software you can simply buy, plug in, and watch while it transforms your business for the better.

Manage it well and it will radically improve your business; boosting revenues, improving the quality of service and customer experience, lowering operational costs, and enhancing the visibility of key business information to inform and improve business decision-making. However, it will only bring those benefits if it is managed well.

Central to this effective management is recognizing that it is more than a technology solution that you can plug in and leave to work its magic.

Think of it instead as a platform that enables change. In fact, CRM has far less in common with a piece of software than it does with an organization-wide program of change management. View it in that way and it is likely to be a success, and that begins with addressing the four Ps of CRM implementation: plan, processes, people and partner.

The 7 Deadly Procrastinators of CRM & and how to deal with them!

cut-procrastination-big.pngHitting the ‘go’ button on a new CRM implementation is a big decision. It involves a significant investment of money and time, it will probably involve reorganizing parts of your company, and it will have a deep and lasting effect on many people.

You know of course that the deep and lasting effect will be a positive one. You’ve spent time looking into the specific improvements CRM could make to your organization, you’ve assessed vendors and identified the one that’s right for you, and you’ve done the ROI calculation. It all adds up. You want to do it. But for some reason, you can’t quite bring yourself to hit that ‘go’ button.

You’ve entered the procrastination zone.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone there - far from it! Many of the businesses that start evaluating CRM projects don’t end up buying one, and whilst this is sometimes because they discover very good reasons not to proceed, as often it is because they drift into the procrastination zone.

CRM Project - where do you start?

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A vital, but often overlooked, step in any CRM project is calculating expected return on investment (ROI). Doing this successfully will ensure your implementation is aligned to specific business requirements so that all involved have clear and realistic expectations. It also allows you to allocate an appropriate budget and then check periodically to ensure you are achieving the expected return. Skipping this vital step is a key reason for CRM failure. So where do you start?

Know what you want

In simple terms, it involves gaining an understanding of the outcomes you want to achieve and the level of investment needed to achieve those outcomes. In broad terms there are four types of outcome that result from CRM:

  1. Revenue growth
  2. Enhanced customer service - leading to improved customer retention
  3. Streamlined business processes - delivering lower costs or greater efficiencies
  4. Improved management of information - allowing for better decision-making.

The importance of understanding your CRM requirements

Ask anyone who already has a CRM platform in their organization and they will talk enthusiastically to you of the benefits it has brought them.

They may tell you about how it has given all their customer service agents a single, immediate and complete view of the customer, and so enhanced levels of customer services. Or they might focus on the number of administrative tasks that have been automated and so the money that has been saved.

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Or they might tell you about how their salespeople no longer spend hours compiling reports to show management. Now those reports are automated so salespeople can be out in the field, talking to customers and winning new business. Others might talk to you about the quality of information it offers them and how that is helping them make better decisions.

There is much else they could tell you. Perhaps you have already heard stories such as this, and it is what has fired your enthusiasm for a CRM platform, to the point where you are now researching the topic. However, before you rush in to interview vendors and select the right system for you, it is important to step back for a moment and spend time understanding the specific CRM requirements of your organization.

 

Evaluate the ROI of a CRM implementation with Workbooks online calculator

Return on investment (ROI) is not a difficult concept to understand in its most basic form. When you invest money into something, you want to get back what you invested and hopefully make money off of it too.

But for many calculating the ROI of a CRM implementation can be a frustrating exercise. In order to reduce this frustration, Workbooks has created an ROI calculator that lets you explore for yourself at a high level, some of the financial benefits you can expect from implementing CRM, providing you with a starting point to focus the minds and drive expectations. 

Introducing the ROI Calculator

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We originally created the ROI calculator as a spreadsheet model after customers reached out to us for help in obtaining final sign-off for their CRM initiative. After the spreadsheet became popular we decided to create an interactive online version, which has the benefit of being faster and more user-friendly. Yes it is high level and we would encourage you to still dig deeper into the details but it is a good tool to start putting some initial numbers behind the initiative.

The ROI calculator works by scoring yourself out of ten on three criteria, which is used to compute against your total sales to provide a projected financial benefit of a CRM implementation. The financial figure is broken down across new business, existing business and sales management whilst also showing the full workings behind the calculation.

Interested in running the numbers? Click on the following link:  Access The CRM Calculator

How To Grow Existing Business Revenues & Keep Your Customers Happy - Using CRM

1. The importance of Customer Success

The more happy your customers feel towards your organisation, the more likely they are to continue buying from you. So how can we ensure your customers aren’t angry red but are happy green?

Revenue growth for happy customers

Using the three pillars of customer success:

  1. Customer Services - ensure you have a good customer service structure with the tools and services to underpin it
  2. Proactive Account Management - having the right tools in place to be proactive in keeping your customers happy
  3. Cross / Up Selling - targeting and selling, growing your footprint in a particular account

Calculating the ROI of CRM

Before you even think about calculating the ROI of CRM you need to ensure you understand the desired business outcomes and the improvements you would like to make to your business then work out what needs to change in order to achieve those outcomes.

Once you have the basic justification for your investment in place, you will be in a much stronger position to calculate your ROI – and ultimately reduce the risk of failure to deliver. 

Forrester analysts have written a report, Quantify the Value of CRM, which includes some advice you may find useful. Before you start, you may also want to read recommendations from analyst William Band addressing specific issues when it comes to calculating ROI – all of which will ultimately help you cut costs and boost sales.

But for now, let’s review the key elements you need to consider when calculating the ROI of CRM.

1. Revenue Ambitions

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What objectives have you defined in relation to the expectation that your CRM investment will help you to achieve higher revenues? The more specific you can be, in terms of capturing customer spending on different products, working out the potential to increase higher-margin product sales, cutting out obstacles that threaten the continuity of customer relationships or assessing the impact of applying discounts to different customer groups, the more accurate your forecast is likely to be.

Set your target. Imagine that your CRM project will generate five additional sales per month - or 60 per year. If your average sale is worth $1,000, CRM could bring in an extra $60,000. How?

Why Build a Business Case for CRM?

You know your organization needs a CRM solution, so why not start the buying process? You know all the benefits it will bring - revenue growth, lower operational costs and enhanced visibility of key business information to inform and improve business decision-making. 

Surely the sooner you get it in place the sooner your organization will start enjoying those benefits, so you should start reviewing vendors straightaway?

The problem is you will be pushing for an investment that is likely to be significant - significant in license and implementation costs, and in the amount of effort required by the organization. Very few Boards are going to simply wave it through; most will want to see a robust business case.

How to integrate your business systems together using Workbooks CRM

For a CRM project to maximize business benefit, there is often a requirement that the CRM system is integrated with other business applications within an organization. These business applications can range from ERP to marketing automation to finance / accounting and much more.integration-blog.png

Workbooks have made the integration process easy by pre-building common record structures, such as Order and Invoice records, Tax structures and accounting periods. This helps simplify integration and reduce integration work / cost. 

In addition, Workbooks provide a wide range of integration tools and approaches, allowing total flexibility today and for the future.

So what are the integration options available to customers and how do they work?

 

 

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