How nurturing your staff can breathe life back into CRM?


Dealing with A Dead CRM System? Get Your Employees to Adapt First!

Every new technology brings with it a portfolio of challenges. A CRM software is no different. While the concept of using CRM software products has been around for a while, very few companies are able to use it effectively, and to their advantage.

A good CRM software has several benefits. You may already know some of them:

  •    It helps you get a clear picture of your customers. Yes, that elusive group of people whose minds we’d all like to read!
  •    It logically collects information about consumers. As a result, you are able to offer customized solutions for each person.
  •    It helps you predict what a consumer will buy next. Based on repeat patterns, you can send in timely reminders for a whole host of products and services.
  •    It lets you stay connected with your consumer. A good CRM software helps you understand your consumer so well that you are able to time the context and frequency of your communication with them.

These are just some of the many, many benefits. However, if you’re reading this, you’re probably not seeing any of these results in your business yet.

The most common cause of any new innovation failing is internal acceptance. The company offering your CRM software would have come in like a whirlwind, done a comprehensive staff training and stepped out.

The disadvantage of this approach is that most employees only engage with those aspects of a product that are relevant to them. It is hard for an HR person to see their role in the successful implementation of a CRM solution. On the flipside, a salesperson may depend too heavily on CRM data to draw conclusions.

Rethinking Employee Involvement

There are several things you can do to get your employees to see the bigger picture in using a CRM software. For one, don’t stop at one single product training session.

  1. Encourage Collaborative Learning: Employees from different departments often have a sense of detachment from each other’s job roles. For them to come together and implement a single, comprehensive solution, you need to encourage learning. Employees of various departments need to be able to see how the CRM software implementation affects all of their roles, and not just one.
  2. Keep Management Out of It: We know how tempting it is to want to micromanage everything. That said, it is best to let employees learn by themselves. In order to provide an incentive to do so, you may consider making short learning resources, or case studies on one employee’s experience with the CRM software.
  3. Have Internal Forums: It is an excellent idea to customize a CRM software product such that all internal stakeholders can flag issues, add comments and provide suggestions through a healthy forum. Ask your software provider to do this for you. For example, a novice customer service person may be unsure of how to handle a certain situation. In this case, experienced employees from within your organization can help them out once the relevant issue is flagged. Over time, as employees get more participative, they will begin to appreciate the system themselves.
  4. Upskill Your Staff: Give your employees the chance to work with different teams. Many employees today are eager to learn about different job functions. The implementation of a new software is a great way to encourage people to learn the roles of others. They will see it as an opportunity to develop their skills.
  5. Keep It Natural: In an endeavour to implement new ideas easily, management often ends up pushing people too far. A great example is the buddy system- not all employees appreciate it. Instead, simply create the resources they need in order to engage and learn about the new system. Don’t force their hand. Send in the subtle message that all employees are expected to learn within a certain time frame.

Implementation issues plague many companies when it comes to comprehensive solutions such as CRM. However, with timely intervention, active participation and the assurance that everyone gets a chance to learn, you can revive that dead bit of software and actually make it work wonders for you.

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