Implementing a CRM system will turn your sales organization into a smooth-running sales machine, jump start your marketing campaigns and help you drive down your customer support backlog. But achieving CRM success takes organizational focus and an understanding of what to expect while putting your company on the path to that success.
We’ve covered previously the first three steps in the CRM Adoption Curve. The first step in your CRM journey is to recognize the chaos and lack of visibility that happens in your business when you don’t invest in CRM processes and tools. The second step is all about centralizing your customer information into one system and defining repeatable processes for interacting with your customers. The third step is where you really start getting leverage from automated customer processes and better collaboration across your different customer-facing teams.
The fourth, and not-so-final, stage is the “Optimized Stage”. I say “not-so-final” because this stage is all about continuous process improvement. This is the ultimate goal of a customer-centric company. You now have a dedicated team focused on continuous CRM improvement which is driving marked growth in the company.
Your customer processes are now highly efficient and set you apart from your competition in a unique way. Your teams understand how to quickly adjust the way they communicate with customers and work with each other. The systems required by your CRM professionals are fully integrated for both data and process. Management not only has visibility into the current efforts, but can predict future success based on the accuracy and consistency of the data. Your CRM solution is agile and able to easily meet the evolving business needs.
Achieving the “Optimized Stage” usually requires at least one year of continuous process refinement from when a company first adopts SugarCRM at Stage 2, the Managed Stage. Again, your local SugarCRM implementation partners can help you chart a path to the “Optimized Stage”.
I hope this gives you a good view of where you are starting from and where you are going with your CRM solution. Remember, there is no good or bad place to be on this adoption curve. Some very large companies are in the manual stage and some very small companies are in the optimized stage. The more important questions are around how you organize your customer-facing activities to create more and happier customers. In other words, how do you wrap these stages, this evolutionary process of managing your customers, around the needs of your customers?
And this is where SugarCRM and its partners can help you. We will work with you on defining and planning a strategy to move you along this adoption curve so that your company can optimize its processes to drive the best differentiation possible in the market place. In the next installment of this blog series, I will share with you some lessons I’ve learned on planning a CRM strategy.