After two decades in marketing and advertising, I’m always amazed by how technology trends have made it easier than ever to perform numerous tasks on a daily basis without drowning in multiple software programs and apps.
Seriously, it’s awesome. One of my favorites is CRM (customer relationship management) software.
While CRM was originally created to help simply keep track of client information, it has grown and evolved into this colossally valuable business-building beast. Today’s CRM software is highly scalable and customizable, and it helps companies achieve their professional goals by streamlining current processes and workflows. Certain applications with more robust capabilities even integrate with content marketing software – creating stronger, more collaborative marketing and sales efforts.
Evolving from an über smart digital Rolodex to a fully integrated sales, marketing and customer experience tool, CRM software today can perform so many complicated business tasks, it just seems too good to be true. And, wait for it … it is! Dreams shattered. Executives weeping.
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So, what’s the defect? Every single CRM system comes with a nasty bug built right into the software as soon as you purchase. Somebody call the Department of Justice! Oh, and here’s the real bummer … there’s no quick and simple software update to download that will cure the flaw, failure or fault created by that blasted bug. Reason being, that bug is you.
Yes, a good CRM application has countless features and functionality that make them excellent tools for many small and medium-sized businesses, but the real issue is how people and companies implement them.
At their core, these applications are just databases. So, without the right processes in place for implementation, how can an organization ensure they will boost efficiency, productivity, sales, brand exposure and whatever else your customized, pumped-up modern version of CRM software can accomplish?
Here’s where the rub usually begins. Many companies purchase a stellar application with nothing but the best of intentions – planning on capitalizing off all their customized version has to offer. The CRM application is pure and bug-free. Ah, software Shangri-La. Then, the complacency infestation begins.
Companies fail to assign a strong administrator from the onset. Corners are cut on training and rules for entering new opportunities aren’t enforced. Then, managers stop committing to long-term communication campaigns using the data collected and maintained by their once bug-free CRM system to keep their prospects informed and their customers close.
In brief, everybody got lazy. They lacked both commitment and the follow-through in using an incredibly powerful business tool. Worse, in the end, so many scratch their heads regarding ROI and miss the collective value their effective instrument could have provided if only executed correctly.
While CRM applications are still about managing customer relationships, they’ve grown and advanced to helping create a more personalized and meaningful experience with a brand and ultimately drive awareness and demand. However, missteps like the ones listed often lead to just the opposite. And the result is unleveraged brand opportunity.
Creating deeper, more relevant brand connections has become increasingly complex, but never more important. A good CRM system for a business can truly help. But only when properly implemented, managed by the right people and fully supported by ownership. If not, well, you can always invest in a good Rolodex and some skywriting.