Finding the right CRM system
So you want to find a technological solution to help you manage your relationship with clients better. All the areas of the business want to see what is going on with the customer or the prospect. You want to put a layer of automation over the current systems and find a way of streamlining information gathering and knowledge management.
You need a CRM system! Or do you?
I probably shouldn’t be writing this, but a CRM system is not necessarily the answer to your problems. The companies that produce them, may tell you otherwise, but the very relationship they are trying to enrich often gets in the way of a smooth running system. The bells and whistles seem to be a great idea when you are deciding which system to choose, but they seem to get in the way when the system is implemented. The features that work for the sales department are not required for customer service, the reports are not given in the right way and the reminders are redundant in some cases and unavailable when they are needed. Does it integrate with your other systems in a way that is seamless? I thought so.
The concept of a CRM system is sound. Enabling the conversation to pass between different people so that those dealing with the customer at any given time has the information at their fingertips is an ideal we can all pin a flag to. But how often is that someone has forgotten to put the one key piece of information into the system that is the difference between a satisfied customer and someone finding they have to repeat themselves.
How well do your different teams speak to each other outside a customer emergency or firefight? How often do each of the departments shadow each other to find out what challenges each other face. Or even, how often do you meet someone you don’t even know in the process of assisting your customer and finding out they are doing the same thing. No CRM system is going to solve these problems for you.
You see, these are all relationships and they are messy and they work differently for different people. No amount of automation is going to help when people do what they think is right, or best or just what they want. So the right CRM system is the one that complements how your teams work together. The one that enhances and assists conversations and information sharing. The way you find out which one is right for you, is by finding out how everyone communicates with each other and then seeing what is missing. If the communication is dysfunctional, no CRM system is going to solve it.
First, start by building relationships, you may find that a CRM system isn’t what you need. Focus on connecting and relating to the people you work with – ask great questions, listen, observe and learn how to serve them better. People do not care how much you know until they learn how much you care. Building strong relationships create glue for the most sustaining results. Want to learn more about relationship? Visit our 5Ps of Leadership.